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

God Sees Everything, but From Many Different Points of View

God Sees Everything, but From Many Different Points of View

You Are One of God’s Many Points of View

Is it possible to understand the true nature of God? Is it possible to understand the true nature of our own existence? The answer is yes, but this answer must be qualified in terms of whether that understanding is only at a conceptual level or whether that understanding arises from one’s own direct experience. The ultimate understanding can only arise when one directly experiences the true nature of one’s own existence, but even without that ultimate experience, it is still possible to understand the nature of that existence at a conceptual level, which is really all that’s possible in this kind of an essay. What’s novel about this essay is that this conceptual understanding will be explained in terms of scientific concepts of modern physics. Understanding the nature of one’s own existence at a conceptual level has been possible for a very long time, but only recently has it become possible to translate this understanding into scientific concepts of modern physics, which has the advantage of clearing up a lot of the confusion that swirls around this conceptual understanding. The scientific concepts clear up the confusion in a straightforward way.

The ancient understanding can be found in many sacred texts, such as the Vedas or the Tao. The ancient understanding that will be relied upon in this essay is that found in Advaita Vedanta, since this resonates most closely with the scientific understanding of modern physics. The first thing to be clear about is what we mean by God. Unlike the western concept of a personal God, in the east, the concept of God is impersonal. In Advaita Vedanta, the ultimate concept of God is called Brahman. To be clear, Brahman is not a person. The impersonal nature of Brahman is often conceptualized in terms of absolute nothingness or the void. The absolute irony of this concept is that absolute nothingness cannot really be conceptualized, and so we’re trying to talk about a concept of something that’s inherently non-conceptual. We’re trying to do something that is impossible. We’re trying to conceptualize something, the absolute nothingness of Brahman, that is inherently non-conceptual in nature. The basic problem is we can only conceptualize the nature of perceivable things that appear in the world. The absolute nothingness of Brahman is beyond the world that we perceive, and cannot be conceptualized. No wonder there is so much confusion when we try to talk about God, but this confusion goes much deeper than that. The confusion has to do with the true nature of what we really are, which at its source is Brahman.

This confusion about the non-conceptual nature of Brahman, which at essence is the true nature of what we really are, is the reason that in all nondual traditions, like Advaita Vedanta, Taoism and Zen Buddhism, no value is given to any possible conceptual explanation. Value is only given to the direct experience of Brahman, which is understood as the direct experience of the truth of what one really is. This direct experience of the true nature of what one is, is called awakening, spiritual enlightenment, or truth realization. Just like with awakening from a dream, when the dream disappears from existence and only the true nature of the dreamer remains, one realizes that one is not really a part of the dream, but rather the dreamer of the dream. In terms of the absolute nothingness of Brahman, when everything is the world one perceives disappears from existence and only the absolute nothingness of Brahman remains, one realizes that one still exists as that absolute nothingness even though one perceives nothing. Spiritual enlightenment or awakening is the realization of the truth of what one really is in the sense that one knows that one still exists as Brahman even though one perceives nothing. The problem with trying to talk about spiritual enlightenment or awakening is that absolute nothingness cannot be conceptualized.

In spite of this problem, we have to start somewhere, and the best place to start is with the concept of Brahman as absolute nothingness. Brahman is the ultimate impersonal nature of God, which can never really be conceptualized. When we say that God sees everything, we’re talking about the consciousness of God, as in perceiving things. This is where things get a bit tricky. At the ultimate level of absolute nothingness, which is the ultimate level of Brahman, nothing is perceived. The perception of things requires a presence of perceiving consciousness. In Advaita Vedanta, that presence of perceiving consciousness is called Atman. Atman is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world, which perceives everything in that world. The tricky aspect of the explanation is in terms of how we get from the ultimate impersonal consciousness of Brahman, which perceives nothing, to the presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman at the center of its own world, which perceives everything in that world.

The way this is understood in Advaita Vedanta is that Brahman is the Source of Atman. Brahman is called the Source, and Atman is called the Self. Atman is also called I Am or the witness. In spiritual terms, Brahman is the spiritual Source of Atman, while Atman is a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world that perceives everything in that world.

The key concept that allows for an understanding of this relation of Brahman to Atman is that the consciousness of Brahman is undivided and unlimited, while the consciousness of Atman is divided and limited. The perceiving consciousness of Atman is a divided and limited kind of consciousness that is the nature of all individual consciousness, as in your consciousness or my consciousness, while the undivided and unlimited consciousness of Brahman is the ultimate nature of consciousness, as in the Source of all consciousness. All individual consciousness must be divided from undivided consciousness. That individual consciousness always arises at a point of view. The individual perceiving consciousness of Atman is always present at the central point of view of its own perceivable world as it perceives everything in that world.

The individual consciousness of Atman, present at the central point of view of its own world as it perceives everything in that world, seems as though it is a personal consciousness that belongs to a person in that world, but that perception is an illusion. The form of a person that appears in the world the perceiving consciousness of Atman perceives is just another thing that appears in that world. Atman is present at the central point of view of that world and perceives everything in that world, including the form of the person to which that consciousness seems to belong. In reality, everything in that world, including the form of the person, belongs to Atman. Atman can only appear to be a person in that world when it identifies itself with the form of that person. Personal self-identification is an illusion created as Atman identifies itself with a person.

The illusion of personal self-identification is created due to the expression of emotions. The expression of emotional energy is what animates the form of a person. Atman not only perceives the form of the person but also the flow of emotional energy that animates that form. Organs of sensory perception in the form of a body are only transmitting this flow of emotional energy. The form of a person is like the central character in a virtual reality movie that Atman is watching. As Atman perceives the emotional energy animating that form, Atman feels emotionally self-limited to that animated form, which naturally leads Atman to identify itself with that personal form. In reality, Atman is at the central point of view of its own world and perceives everything in that world, including the form of the person that it mistakenly takes itself to be in that world.

When we say that God sees everything, but from many different points of view, this refers to the undivided consciousness of Brahman becoming divided into the many different points of view of Atman. Each point of view, which is a presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman at the center of its own world, perceives everything in that world. Each presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman perceives its own world. That world is inherently limited, and so the presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman at the center of that world is not only divided but also limited. These points of view arise within the undivided and unlimited nature of Brahman.

Atman-Brahman

The key concept is that Brahman is the Source of Atman, but there are many different points of view at which a presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman can arise, each at the center of its own world and each perceiving everything in that world. The consciousness of Brahman is unlimited and undivided, while each presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman that arises within Brahman at the central point of view of its own world is divided and limited. Each point of view of Atman arises within the undivided and unlimited nature of Brahman.

In terms of the true nature of existence, Brahman is understood as the underlying reality or the ground of existence. If we understand that the true nature of being is consciousness, then that underlying reality or ground of existence is undivided and unlimited being. The absolute nothingness of Brahman is the ground of being that is inherently undivided and unlimited. The individual being of Atman, which is inherently divided and limited, arises within the undivided and unlimited being of Brahman. Brahman is the Source of Atman. The individual being of Atman is often referred to as I Am. Atman is aware of its own inherent sense of being present, or I-Am-ness, as it perceives everything in its own perceivable world from the central point of view of that world. The individual being of Atman is a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own perceivable world, and is aware of its own inherent sense of being present. Brahman is the spiritual Source of that spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness.

In the sense of personal self-identification, Atman is mistakenly attributing or imparting its own sense of being present or I-Am-ness to the emotionally animated form of a person it perceives in its own world due to its perception of feelings of emotional self-limitation to that personal form. This feeling of personal self-limitation gives rise to a personal self-concept, as self-referential thoughts are created in the form I am a person in the world I perceive that is emotionally related to other things I perceive in that world. The personal self-concept can only arise through the emotional expression of self-referential thoughts. In reality, these self-referential thoughts are no more real than the self-referential narration of a movie by the central character of that movie. In reality, self-referential thoughts are only false beliefs that Atman believes about itself, otherwise known as a delusion. Atman only believes these false beliefs about itself that it is the central character in the movie of the world it perceives due to the emotional energy that animates these thoughts, which makes Atman feel emotionally self-limited to that personal form.

The individual presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman is called the Self because Atman always perceives things in a subject-object relation that defines self and other. Atman is the observer of its own observable world, and that subject-object relation of self and other arises as the observer observes some observable thing in that observable world. The thing to be clear about is that the Self is not a self-concept. The Self is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own perceivable world. A self-concept, which is emotionally created in the form of a self-referential thought, is another thing perceived in that world. The subjective nature of Atman is that spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world, while the objective nature of all things in that world are the perceivable things that can be perceived by Atman. In some sense, those perceivable things are an illusion created as Atman perceives them. The perceivable things can only appear to come into existence as Atman perceives them.

The absolute nothingness of Brahman can be understood as the potentiality to create all the perceivable things that Atman perceives in its own world. Those perceivable things only appear to come into existence as Atman perceives them. If those perceivable things are not perceived by Atman, those things remain in an unperceived state of potentiality. The absolute nothingness of Brahman is the pure potentiality to create the perceivable things, but Atman must perceive them before they can appear to come into existence. If Atman does not perceive that perceivable world, then that world disappears from existence from that particular point of view. In the sense of awakening from its dream, when that perceivable world disappears from existence, the divided perceiving consciousness of Atman, present at the central point of view of that world, must return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of Brahman. This reunion is often described as an oceanic experience, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean.

When we say that God sees everything, but from many different points of view, this refers to the perceiving consciousness of Atman arising at many different points of view within the absolute nothingness of Brahman. Brahman is the Source of each presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman that arises at the central point of view of its own world as it perceives everything in that world. Many points of view of Atman can arise within Brahman. These different points of view each perceive their own world, but can share a consensual reality in the sense that the perceivable things of one world are related to the perceivable things of another world to the degree that those perceivable worlds overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram. This overlapping of perceivable worlds, each perceived by a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of that world, is possible because each perceivable world is inherently limited.

Overlapping Limited Worlds Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality Shared by Many Observers, each Present at the Central Point of View of its own Perceivable World

At this point, we’ve gone about as far as we can in terms of explaining the nature of things in terms of the ancient concepts of Advaita Vedanta. If we want to go further in terms of explaining things, we’ll have to rely on scientific explanations, which means we’ll have to use scientific concepts. The remarkable thing is that in the last 25 years, modern physics has supplied us with those scientific concepts in terms of what is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity.

In the explanations that follow in this article, the holographic principle will only be discussed at a basic level, just enough to flesh out the argument. For those interested in the mathematical details, the holographic principle is discussed at greater length and in more detail in following articles. The references also include many scientific books and articles that substantiate these ideas, but to gain a scientific understanding of the nondual concepts of Advaita Vedanta, it is only necessary to understand the holographic principle at a basic level. It turns out that is actually pretty easy to do without the use of much math since the holographic principle is fundamentally a geometric concept, and all of us have the inherent intuitive ability to understand geometry.

The holographic principle is formulated in terms of an observer observing its own holographic world. The observer observing observable things in its own holographic world always defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The objective nature of all observable things the observer can observe are forms of information animated in the flow of energy. The holographic principle tells us that these forms of information can always be reduced to quantized bits of information, called qubits, encoded on a holographic screen. In some sense, the perception of an observable thing by the observer is like the projection of an image from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer outside the screen. The observer’s holographic screen is like a computer that encodes bits of information on pixels, and the perception of a form of information is like the projection of an image from the screen to the observer’s point of view outside the screen. The images of things are always reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Those projected images are then animated in the flow of energy, just like the energy that energizes the operation of a computer.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The holographic principle is telling us that everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world is reducible to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen. In reality, all the observable things the observer can observe are nothing more than forms of information projected like images from the observer’s own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections in the flow of energy, just like the projected and animated frames of a movie projected from and animated on a computer screen.

The observable things the observer can observe in its own holographic world not only include macroscopic things, like bodies, planets, stars and galaxies, but also microscopic things, like atoms and molecules, and elementary particles like electrons and photons of the electromagnetic force that comprise atoms, and quarks and gluons of the strong nuclear force that comprise the atomic nucleus. All of these observable things are forms of information that can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer can also observe the flow of energy through its own holographic world that animates the form of all these observable things. Both the form of things, which are projected like images from the observer’s own holographic screen to its own point of view, and the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world, which animates the form of all things, are observable. Only the observer can observe all these observable things, but the holographic principle goes even further in terms of explaining the nature of observable things that can appear in the observer’s holographic world.

The 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s holographic world is also observable and can be observed by the observer. The holographic principle says that the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s holographic world is reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. That’s what makes the observer’s world a holographic world. All the qubits of information that define whatever can appear to happen in some bounded three dimensional region of space are encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space, which acts as the observer’s holographic screen. All the observable objects that appear to occupy space in that three dimensional bounded region of space are reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s two dimensional holographic screen that arises as a bounding surface of space. The observable objects are forms of information projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view and animated in the flow of energy that energizes the observer’s holographic world over an animated sequence of holographic projections, just like the animated frames of a movie projected from a computer screen. The observer’s 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of its own holographic world arises as forms of information are projected from its holographic screen and appear to occupy three dimensional space and are animated in the flow of energy, like the projected and animated frames of a movie. The images of the movie are holographic and appear to occupy three dimensional space even though they’re reducible to qubits of information encoded on a two dimensional holographic screen. The perception of three dimensional space arises through holographic projection. The perception of the dimension of time arises in the sense of the perceivable flow of energy through that holographic world and the holographic animation of those images.

The observer is observing the dynamical nature of its own 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry that characterizes its holographic world, which is reducible to qubits of information encoded on its holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world. The dynamical nature of this 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity in the sense of the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The force of gravity is nothing more than this dynamical curvature of the observer’s space-time geometry, which is formulated in relativity theory in terms of Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The space-time metric is a field, just like the fields of the electromagnetic force or the nuclear forces. The space-time metric is the field of the gravitational force, which is understood as the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The holographic principle says that all of these force fields can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world.

In relativity theory, the observer is understood in the sense of a reference frame. The observer is nothing more than a point of view at the origin of its own coordinate system. That’s what a frame of reference means in relativity theory. From the point of view of other observers, the observer is following a world-line through their space-time geometry, but from the observer’s own point of view, the observer is at the center of its own space-time geometry. The holographic principle is telling us that the dynamical nature of the observer’s own curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry, which is the nature of gravity in the observer’s holographic world, can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This is a consequence of the principle of equivalence, which tells us the observed force of gravity is equivalent to the observer’s acceleration. Only an accelerating observer observes the force of gravity since that force is always equivalent to the observer’s acceleration. The only way we can even discuss the dynamical nature of the observer’s curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry that gives rise to the force of gravity is to discuss an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. This idea of an observer in an accelerated frame of reference is the key that unlocks all the secrets of the holographic principle. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is what gives rise to the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. At a very deep level, the observer’s accelerated motion is what is creating the appearance of its own holographic world.

Principle of Equivalence

What gives rise to the observer’s holographic screen? The observer’s holographic screen can always be understood as a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. In relativity theory, this two dimensional bounding surface of space is understood to arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Every accelerating observer has its observations of things in space limited by an event horizon. The observer’s event horizon is as far out in space as the observer can see things in space due to the limitation of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space. The speed of light is constant for all observers, independent of their relative states of motion, and that constancy of the speed of light gives rise to the limitation of an event horizon that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. Nothing is observable to an accelerating observer beyond the limits of its own event horizon.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

How does the observer’s event horizon turn into its own holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world, including the dynamical nature of the observer’s own curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry? The answer is found in all consistent theories of quantum gravity. The first consistent theory of quantum gravity discovered was string theory. String theory then morphed into M-theory, and from M-theory it became possible to deduce the AdS/CFT correspondence, which explicitly confirmed the holographic principle in a mathematically rigorous way. The AdS/CFT correspondence proves that it is possible to construct a holographic world in which all the fundamental quantized bits of information for that world are encoded on a holographic screen, which is a lower dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds a higher dimensional region of space. In the AdS/CFT correspondence, the qubits of information are encoded by a conformal field theory. In the case of the AdS/CFT correspondence, that conformal field theory is a super-symmetric SU(N) Yang-Mills field theory, similar to the field theories of the strong and weak nuclear forces. There is no force of gravity on the lower dimensional bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen, only a conformal field theory. The force of gravity only appears to be active within the higher dimensional bounded region of space. This appearance of the force of gravity within the bounded region of space in some sense is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. All the fundamental qubits of information that describe the effect of gravity in the bounded region of space are encoded on the bounding surface of that space. The effect of gravity in the bounded region of space can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

The easiest way to understand how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which turns the horizon into a holographic screen, is with non-commutative geometry, which also explains how space-time geometry is quantized. String theory and M-theory can be understood as special cases of non-commutative geometry, as can fractal geometries. With non-commutative geometry, each quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon specified by a non-commuting variable is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information or qubit. In quantum gravity, the pixel size is called the Planck area. This gives the observer’s event horizon an entropy as S=kn, where n is the number of qubits encoded on the event horizon, which is proportional to the surface area A of the horizon as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is the Planck area. Each Planck area on the horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. Non-commutative geometry fundamentally explains how the qubits are encoded on a holographic screen in terms of quantizing position coordinates on the screen, which smears out each quantized position coordinate into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. In non-commutative geometry, quantized position coordinates are specified by non-commuting variables. The entropy of the observer’s event horizon is given in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the horizon. The smallest possible event horizon that can encode a single qubit of information is a Planck-sized event horizon. This fundamentally explains why the Planck length is the smallest possible measurable distance scale. A Planck sized event horizon is the smallest possible horizon that can encode a single qubit of information.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck-sized Event Horizon

Holographic Principle

Quantum entanglement is the natural result of the superposition of quantum states. In quantum gravity, information states are entangled. This implies the entropy of the observer’s event horizon is an entanglement entropy. This is consistent with the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry since all the qubits of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are entangled. This is represented by the superposition of information states for that world. A holographic world defined by the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen is fundamentally a world where everything is connected to everything else at the level of quantum entanglement. All the information states for that world are entangled, and so that holographic world is inherently holistically connected.

The idea of quantum entanglement is inherent in the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry. All the quantized bits of information or qubit encoded on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are inherently entangled, which is understood in terms of matrices. Quantum entanglement allows qubits to be defined in a rotationally invariant way. This is much like the way quantum theory defines spin ½ particles in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its two eigenvalues also define spin up and spin down states. These two spin states give a representation of information in a binary code, like a switch that is either on or off. The spin up and spin down states are like vectors that point up or down, but when these spin states are in a superposition of states and are entangled, the vector can point in any direction, and so rotational symmetry is preserved. With the holographic principle, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric holographic screen can be defined by the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix, which are inherently entangled.

We still have to explain the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world. Where does that energy come from? The answer is that energy comes from the observer’s own acceleration. The observer’s acceleration gives rise to the observer’s event horizon that acts as its own holographic screen when its event horizon encodes qubits of information, but that acceleration also gives rise to the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world.

The secret behind the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world is the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its own accelerated frame of reference. The Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon arises as the energy of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its own event horizon. This is the thermal energy that flows through the observer’s own holographic world as observed in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. In effect, the observer’s acceleration is defining a frequency in the sense that E=hf, which is the fundamental defining relation between energy and frequency in quantum theory. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. This thermal radiation is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerating observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerating observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes quantized bits of information for point particles that can appear in the observer’s holographic world, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon gives the event horizon an apparent temperature proportional to the observer’s acceleration.

Hawking Radiation

Hawking radiation is weird. The key thing to realize is that although it appears that virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are separating at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer and that thermal particles of Hawking radiation are radiated towards the observer, the fundamental quantized bits of information that define all those particles of Hawking radiation are actually encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen.

The holographic principle is telling us that each Planck area defined on the observer’s event horizon is acting like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information. The particles of Hawking radiation that the accelerating observer perceives to be radiated away from the event horizon are reducible to quantized bits of information encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen. The essential lesson of the holographic principle is that particles that appear to exist in three dimensional space and appear to move through three dimensional space can always be reduced to quantized bits of information encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds that three dimensional region of space and acts as a holographic screen. That bounding surface of space can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer is observing events in its own holographic world as displayed on its own holographic screen. Those perceivable events can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which gives rise to the form of things, and the flow of energy that animates those forms. This flow of energy can be understood in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as the thermal energy that arises from the observer’s acceleration.

The laws of thermodynamics relate a change in total energy to temperature and a change in entropy as ΔE=TΔS. The laws of thermodynamics are not really laws of physics, but rather very general statistical relations that specify how thermal energy flows from hotter to colder objects in terms of the dynamical degrees of freedom of those objects. This specifies how objects carry thermal energy, which is understood as the random kinetic energy of those objects. In terms of the holographic principle, the fundamental nature of the dynamical degrees of freedom of all objects are qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen, which is the nature of the entropy that characterizes those objects. The fundamental reason for this relation between energy and entropy is each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT given in terms of the Unruh temperature at thermal equilibrium. The laws of thermodynamics assume thermal equilibrium. Each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen is a fundamental dynamical degree of freedom for the observer’s holographic world. The equal partition of energy tells us that each dynamical degree of freedom, which is a qubit of information, carries an equal amount of energy E=kT at thermal equilibrium, which defines temperature. As more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, more energy is inherent in that holographic world.

Where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle gives a perfectly good answer, as Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have both demonstrated. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The matter particles that constitute the nature of all matter in that world and the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces between all matter particles also obey computational rules inherent in the quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics. The holographic appearance of that world in terms of both the space-time geometry and the particle physics of that world is constructed out of qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. That holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer, but the computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry and the particle physics of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. The rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state that only give an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

To begin with, we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, from the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations are thermodynamic equations of state that arise from the laws of thermodynamics that relate energy to entropy and temperature, ΔE=TΔS. Ted Jacobson has shown how this derivation goes forward in terms of the area law for the entropy of the observer’s event horizon and the Unruh temperature of that event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its accelerated frame of reference. As heat flows across a bounding surface of space, the total energy of that bounded region of space must change, which implies a thermodynamic change in the entropy of that bounded region of space. The holographic principle then tells us the area of the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded region. Jacobson showed this change in the geometry of the bounded region is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. Once we have Einstein’s field equations, all quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics can then be deduced as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and super-symmetry. The final result of unification looks alot like 11-dimensional supergravity, which is understood as a low energy limit of M-theory. It therefore turns out that the whole quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity can be deduced from the holographic principle.

All we really need to explain the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which gives rise to an event horizon. Apply non-commutative geometry to that event horizon as a way to quantize position coordinates on the horizon, along with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, and we have an explanation for how to generate all the qubits of information that define everything in a holographic world. The form of everything in that world is reducible to qubits of information. Even the flow of energy that animates everything in that world can be understood in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon. Each quantized position coordinate defined by a non-commuting variable on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This encoding process not only includes information for all the elementary particles of that world that underlie the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, but also the space-time geometry of that world that underlies the effect of gravity. The only thing that seems to be fundamental to the explanation is the observer itself. The holographic principle is telling us that only the observer has its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

Any thermodynamic equation of state describing a physical system implies thermal equilibrium, which means the dynamical degrees of freedom of that system are thermalized or randomized in terms of their thermal energy. A thermodynamic equation of state is not valid when the system is not at thermal equilibrium. Since Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics, which is the nature of physical matter and the electromagnetic and nuclear physical forces, are only thermodynamic equations of state for the physical universe, these equations do not apply when the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium. As Roger Penrose has often pointed out, the physical universe is definitely not at thermal equilibrium, as is demonstrated by the normal flow of energy through the physical universe. It makes no sense to try to understand the nature of the physical universe in terms of equations that are not fundamental and only give an approximate thermal average description of the physical universe. If we are to have any hope of understanding the nature of the physical universe, we have to go beyond the simple understanding of the universe in terms of what we call the laws of physics inherent in Einstein’s field theory for gravity and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics. We have to start understanding the physical universe in terms of the holographic principle. We have to start understanding the perceivable physical world in terms of the observer of that world.

Normal Flow of Energy through the Observer’s Perceivable World

The physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium because space is expanding in the physical universe. The accelerated nature of the expansion of space, which is called dark energy, is the primordial energy that puts the bang in the big bang event. The idea of creation of the universe in a big bang is based on the idea of the expansion of space. As is well known, the expansion of space implies a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s cosmic horizon defines its own world whenever space expands since that is where all the fundamental qubits of information for that world are encoded. Inherent in the idea of the big bang is the idea the observer’s observable world increases in size as space expands. This implies the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius as the observer’s world increases in size. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, which explains the normal flow of heat in the observer’s world as heat flows from hotter to colder objects. This also explains the second law of thermodynamics which says entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, but its surface area increases, which implies the entropy of the observer’s world increases even as its world cools, since more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s cosmic horizon. The normal flow of heat in the thermal gradient created as the observer’s world increases in size with the expansion of space explains the direction of time’s arrow and the normal flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world. The direction of time’s arrow is literally directed in the direction of the expansion of space.

Creation of the Universe as the Expansion of Space

The holographic principle is telling us that the fundamental nature of the universe is qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen. That’s what makes the universe a holographic universe. The observer’s holographic screen is understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observation of things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their relative states of motion.

The holographic principle says that every accelerating observer has its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information for everything observable in the observer’s world are encoded. Things don’t really exist in three dimensional space. Everything observable in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that arises as a holographic form of information for that thing is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen, which is a two dimensional bounding surface of space, to the observer’s central point of view in space, which always arises in relation to that holographic screen. The observation of things appearing in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. This even applies to elementary particles, like photons and electrons. All the fundamental qubits of information for an elementary particle are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s observation of an elementary particle, like anything else it can observe in its holographic world, is only the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. Everything observable arises through holographic projection.

The holographic principle gives a perfectly good explanation for how the observer’s world is created in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Everything the observer can observe in its world arises through holographic projection, as a form of information is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in its own accelerated frame of reference. That event horizon acts as a holographic screen in the sense of encoding qubits of information, which are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of its holographic world. Everything perceivable in its holographic world is a form of information constructed out of qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Even the flow of energy that animates those forms of information is inherent in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference in the sense of thermodynamics and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon.

Everything perceivable in the observer’s holographic world arises through holographic projection. Even the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of that world arises through holographic projection. Just like all other perceivable things, space-time geometry can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and the perception of space-time geometry is no more real than forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The space-time geometry the observer observes in its world has no independent existence. If the observer doesn’t observe it, that space-time geometry doesn’t really exist. Everything the observer observes in its world, including the space-time geometry of that world, is dependent on the observer’s observation of it before it can appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe it, it does not exist, except in the sense of an unobserved state of potentiality. That’s exactly what quantum theory tells us. The observation of space-time geometry, just like anything else the observer can observe, is only an illusion of existence in the sense of holographic projection.

Most physicists cannot accept this state of affairs since space-time geometry, like everything else that can be perceived in the world, appears to obey computational rules. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey the computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. How can something that’s not really real and doesn’t really exist obey computational rules? The simple answer is, that’s the inherent nature of a holographic world. The holographic appearance of that world is constructed out of the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer. The computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. These rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state and are only an approximation with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics, which only gives an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world.

When the observer observes a particle located at some position in space and the motion of that particle through space over the course of time, the observer is really only observing a form of information projected like an image from its own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections, just like the animation of the projected images of a movie from a computer screen to an observer. The reason we can say this with confidence is because all of particle physics can be formulated in terms of quantum field theory, and we can deduce all of quantum field theory from the holographic principle.

By its very nature, an observation of the world implies an observer is making that observation, but who exactly is the observer? Modern physics has no answer for the true nature of the observer. Physicists want to sweep this problem under the rug and ignore it because they really have nothing to say about the true nature of the observer. The whole enterprise of physics is really only about describing what is observable and not about what is making the observation.

In some sense, perceivable reality is just like a computer generated virtual reality, which is constructed when digital images are projected from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images and as the images are animated over the course of time in the flow of energy. If the computer generated projected digital images are holographic in nature, the images appear to occupy three dimensional space even though they can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a two dimensional computer screen. The images of that virtual reality not only include visual images, but also auditory images and tactile images. Not only is the form of things perceivable, but the flow of energy that animated the form of things is also perceivable. The holographic principle is telling us that in no real sense is perceivable reality any different in any significant way than a computer generated holographic virtual reality.

What about the observer that perceives that perceivable reality? What is the true nature of the reality of the observer? Is the observer also an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives? Can the observer itself be reduced to the bits of information encoded on a holographic screen that gives rise to the appearance of the form of all things that appear to occupy space or to the flow of energy that animates those forms over the course of time? Wouldn’t that assumption that the observer itself can be reduced to an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives create a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference?

The problem is the form of a body and brain that appears within the holographic virtual reality must be constructed out of bits of information encoded on a holographic screen, like anything else that appears in that holographic virtual reality. Everything that appears in the holographic virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Can a body and brain that is a part of that holographic virtual reality also perceive that virtual reality? The only logically consistent answer is no. A body and brain that is part of the holographic virtual reality cannot be the observer that perceives that virtual reality. At most, a body and brain can only process or transmit information about that virtual reality. Just like a computer screen that projects images to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images, the observer is always outside the screen. Projected images can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen, but the observer of the images projected from the screen cannot be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen. The observer’s point of view is always outside the screen.

The holographic principle is fundamentally telling us that the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything the observer can perceive in perceivable reality. The reality of the observer is independent of the perceivable reality the observer perceives. The nature of reality is exactly the other way around from what is conventionally assumed when we assume that a body and brain that appears in perceivable reality is an observer of that perceivable reality. That kind of assumption is a mistake in the sense of a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. The perceivable reality the observer perceives is dependent on the reality of the observer. Perceivable things only appear to come into existence when the observer perceives them. The apparent existence of perceivable things is dependent on the existence of the observer. Only the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything that the observer can perceive.

The big question is about the true nature of the observer’s consciousness in relation to whatever the observer happens to observe in its world. This question explodes when that observable world is understood to be a holographic world. A holographic world is no more real than images depicted on a holographic screen. The images can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Who is really observing those images? Can an image observe itself? The holographic principle gives the only logically possible answer. The observer is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world that arises in relation to its own holographic screen.

What about the problem of multiple observers observing the same observable world? The problem with assuming that multiple observers exist in and observe the same observable world are all the paradoxes of quantum theory, like the Wigner friend paradox. The solution for this problem is the idea of a consensual reality shared among different observers, each of which arises at its own point of view in relation to its own holographic screen. A consensual reality can only arise in the sense of a Venn diagram of information sharing among different but overlapping holographic screens. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, and so that holographic screen is inherently observer-dependent. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information are encoded for the observer’s own holographic world. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view defined on its own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen, but those screens can overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. This problem of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens is the essence of the entanglement problem of quantum gravity, as Tom Banks has pointed out.

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

This way of understanding observation in terms of every observer observing its own holographic world from its own point of view eliminates all paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. Multiple observers simply cannot exist inside the same observable world without creating logically inconsistent paradoxes. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view. Different observers can only share a consensual reality due to information sharing among different but overlapping holographic worlds. This way of understanding the nature of observation raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. These are fundamental questions about the true nature of observing consciousness.

Quantum theory in the context of the holographic principle is telling us that the observable physical world can only appear to come into existence in relation to the observations of the observer that observes that holographic world. Every observer must observe its own holographic world for that world to appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe its own holographic world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. That unobserved state of potentiality is the nature of the quantum state. For the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world to come into an observed state of actuality, the observer must make an observation of that world. The time evolution of that world, as represented by the quantum wavefunction, only applies to the unobserved state of potentiality of that world. Measurement of that world, as represented by quantum state reduction or collapse of the wavefunction, only applies to the observer’s observation of its own holographic world, which reduces the state of potentiality of the observer’s world to an observed state of actuality. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that the observer’s world only appears to come into an actual state of existence when the observer observes that world. Without the observer’s observation of its own world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Simply put, an observable world cannot appear to actually exist unless an observer observes it, but this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. What is the true nature of the observer’s own existence?

This fundamental relation of an observer observing its own observable world essentially defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The holographic principle tells us that the objective nature of all things the observer can observe in its own observable world are forms of information that can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen, which can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is telling us that in some sense the objective nature of all things the observer observes is a holographic illusion, since all observable things can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observable things include the nature of all elementary particles that appear in space, including all the matter particles and all the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The observable things also include the dynamical nature of space-time geometry, which is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity. With the holographic principle, all of this observable stuff can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, but that’s not the end of it.

Everything observable in the observer’s holographic world, including the observer’s own body and brain, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. The true subjective nature of the observer cannot be its body or brain, since these are only forms of information that appear in the observer’s own holographic world. At most, the observer’s own body and brain can only transmit or process information about the nature of that holographic world. A form of information is something observable, and cannot observe itself without creating a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. As quantum theory tells us, an observable object, which is a form of information, can only arise in a subject-object relation as the observer observes that observable thing. If the observer’s own body and brain is not the true nature of the observer observing its own observable world, then what is the true subjective nature of the observer? This is fundamentally a question about the true subjective nature of observing consciousness, which by simple deductive logical reasoning, cannot itself be reduced to an observable thing. A body and brain that appears inside an observable holographic world cannot be the true subjective nature of the observer of that holographic world.

Until we confront the true subjective nature of the observer, we will never be able to make any real progress in terms of understanding the objective nature of the physical reality that we observe. The problem with modern physics and the lack of an adequate resolution of the measurement problem of quantum theory is that we are not confronting the true subjective nature of the observer. Is there something that we don’t want to know? What exactly is it that we don’t want to know? These are fundamental questions like: Who is the observer? Who is the knower? What is the true subjective nature of observing consciousness? Who am I?

The holographic principle is fundamentally an observer-centric description of observable reality. The observable reality of the world we perceive is not only perceived in an observer-centric way, but also in an observer-dependent way. The holographic principle is telling us that the observer is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world.

The holographic principle fundamentally says that everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s body and the brain that appears in that holographic world can also be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. Everything observable in a holographic world is reducible to information and energy, but the consciousness of the observer observing that world is not. Consciousness has its own independent existence. The apparent existence of a holographic world that is reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy animating that world is dependent on the independent existence of the observer’s consciousness.

Only the observer itself can have its own independent existence, but we’d like to go further and understand the true nature of that existence. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness present at the center of its own holographic world, but where does that presence of consciousness come from? This is where the void comes into the story. The void is the true nature of potentiality. The void can also be called the ultimate nature of existence or the ground of being, which is the potentiality for things to come into existence. As the ground of being, the void is the ultimate nature of reality. In-and-of-itself, the void only exists in the sense of absolute nothingness, but that nothingness is the potentiality for things to come into existence. The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world. The void is the ultimate nature of reality, and the holographic world it creates is a lesser form of reality, like a virtual reality. That virtual reality comes into existence because of the creation of the information and energy that underlies all observable things. These things not only include what physicists call elementary particles, but also the space-time geometry those observable things appear to exist within. Even the space-time geometry of a holographic world is observable, and in some sense is just another observable thing that can be reduced to information and energy. The space-time geometry of a holographic world is reducible to the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world just like everything else observable in that holographic world.

The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates information is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon that then turns into its holographic screen.

The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world, but where does the consciousness of the observer come from? The simplest answer is the consciousness of the observer also comes from the void. The void is the potentiality to give rise to the consciousness of the observer. The void is also consciousness, but it is a more fundamental kind of consciousness than the observer’s consciousness. The consciousness of the observer is an individual or divided kind of consciousness, while the void is undivided consciousness. The void is the potentiality for the observer’s consciousness to come into existence in the sense that the individual consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void before the observer’s holographic world can appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The observation of that world is always limited by an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The consciousness of the observer is not only divided, but it is also limited, while the consciousness of the void is unlimited and undivided. Only the observer’s consciousness can observe things in its own holographic world. Each such observation of something by the observer is the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The consciousness of the void observes nothing because it has no holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is always a limitation of consciousness that can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as an observation limiting event horizon. Only an observer can observe things in its own holographic world. This only becomes possible when the divided consciousness of the observer is limited by a holographic screen. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void observes nothing, and yet the void is the potentiality to create a holographic world and give rise to the consciousness of the observer that observes that holographic world from the central point of view of that world. This creation process can only appear to happen within the void if the consciousness of the observer is divided from the undivided consciousness of the void and that point of consciousness then enters into an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to the limitation of a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world.

The key concept of the one-world-per-observer paradigm inherent in the holographic principle is that the observer’s holographic world can only be created within the void through the construction of a holographic screen as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, but before that creation can occur, the consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void. The only reason the observer is unaware of the void is because the observer’s attention is totally focused on itself and its world. The process of the observer shifting the focus of its attention away from itself and its world, and back onto its source, is called awakening, as in awakening from a dream.

This relationship of the void to the observer is like the relationship of a dreamer to its dream. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void, which observes nothing, is the source of the limited and divided consciousness of the observer that observes its own holographic world. That holographic world is the dream, and the void is the dreamer. The consciousness of the observer is a divided fragment of the undivided consciousness of the void. The fragmented consciousness of the observer must be separated from the unfragmented consciousness of the void for that holographic world to appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The fragmented consciousness of the observer is always connected to its source in that this state of separation can come to an end at any moment and the divided consciousness of the observer can return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of the void.

This state of reunion can be understood as an ultimate state of free fall in which the observer’s holographic world disappears from existence. The observer has no holographic screen in an ultimate state of free fall since it has no event horizon that limits its observations. Ironically, when there is no limitation of consciousness, there is also nothing to observe, and there is no separation. The void is this unlimited and undivided primordial state of consciousness, which is a state of pure potentiality. When that potentiality is expressed, an observable holographic world appears to come into existence and the consciousness of the observer becomes divided from the undivided consciousness of the void so that the observer can observe its own world. When that potentiality is not expressed, only the unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void exists. In that ultimate state of existence, nothing is observed. The void is that absolute nothingness, which in the sense of potentiality, is the true nature of what I am, you are, and everything is.

Atman-Brahman

How is the observer’s ultimate state of free fall even possible? The answer is the observer must be present to observe its own observable holographic world. Being present for its world means the observer must focus its attention on that world. If the observer withdraws its attention away from that world and is not present to observe that world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Both the form of all things in that world and the flow of energy through that world remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. Without the expression of that energy, the observer no longer is in an accelerated frame of reference, but instead enters into an ultimate state of free fall. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer no longer observes a holographic world. The observer’s holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. In the language of nonduality, this ultimate state of free fall is described as falling into the void. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer’s individual existence, which is its own divided sense of being present or I-Am-ness, dissolves back into the undivided being of the void like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. This oceanic experience is the nature of the observer realizing the truth of what it really is, which is the truth of its own being.

This way of understanding the holographic principle has no logical inconsistencies or paradoxes. It is completely consistent with everything we know about modern physics, and is really the only way modern physics can be understood in a logically consistent way. The other great advantage of this way of understanding the holographic principle is that it’s totally consistent with what enlightened beings like Nisargadatta Maharaj tell us about the true nature of reality. Enlightened beings have directly experienced the true nature of reality. They have returned to the ultimate state of existence and come back to the world to tell us what is real and what is illusion.

When we say that God sees everything, but from many different points of view, we’re referring to the ultimate nature of God as the absolute nothingness of Brahman, and to each point of view as the perceiving consciousness of Atman that is present at the center of its own holographic world as it perceives everything in that world. Atman is the spiritual Self of that world, and Brahman is the spiritual Source of Atman. Brahman gives rise to many different points of view, each of which perceives its own holographic world, but ultimately, all points of view arise in Brahman.

Ultimately, the true nature of the observer observing its own holographic world is the absolute nothingness of Brahman, which we also call the void. It is the void that creates a holographic world for its Self to experience. Brahman is the Source of its Self. To have those worldly experiences, the undivided and unlimited consciousness of the void must divide its Self into the divided and limited consciousness of the observer of that world, which is present at the central point of view of its own holographic world. All the experiences that the Self can experience in that holographic world arise from the void in the sense that the void must express energy in order to create that holographic world. The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where all the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates all the information for that holographic world is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon, which then turns into its holographic screen. Modern physics demonstrates with the holographic principle that every experience the Self can experience in its own holographic world arises from the void and occurs within the void, which is the Source of the Self.

God sees everything, but from many different points of view, in the sense that the many different points of view of the Self arise within the Source. The holographic world that each point of view of the Self perceives is defined on its own holographic screen that encodes information for that holographic world. Everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world is a form of information projected like an image from its holographic screen to its central point of view and animated in the flow of energy through that holographic world. The holographic screen arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, and the energy that animates that holographic world also arises from the observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

The possibility of many observers, each present at its own point of view within the void, sharing a consensual reality, only arises when their respective holographic screens overlap in the sense of Venn diagram and share information. This kind of information sharing is inherent in the holographic principle due to the phenomena of quantum entanglement. All the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen are inherently entangled, but due to consistency relations among overlapping holographic screens, quantum entanglement allows for information sharing among overlapping holographic screens, which allows multiple observers to share a consensual reality. Every observer only observes things in its own holographic world, but in the sense that the void is the Source of all observers, the void observes everything in all holographic worlds. In the sense that the absolute nothingness of Brahman is the ultimate nature of God that creates all holographic worlds and is the Source of each presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman that perceives everything in its own holographic world from the central point of view of that world, God perceives everything in all holographic worlds.

Information Sharing Among Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Creates the Appearance of a Consensual Reality Shared by Multiple Observers, Each Present at the Central Point of View of its own Holographic World

As a final topic of discussion, it’s possible to scientifically discuss how delusion arises and the nature of the awakening process that allows one to break free of delusion. What exactly is meant by delusion? The answer is that the observer of its own holographic world, which is present as a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world, is identifying itself with the form of a person that appears in that holographic world. The nature of delusion is sort of like an observer out in a movie audience that identifies itself with an animated character that appears in the movie the observer is watching, as animated images of the movie are projected from the movie screen to the observer’s point of view out in the movie audience. This is delusional since the movie images are projected from a two dimensional movie screen while the observer out in the movie audience is in a higher dimension outside the screen as the observer observes those animated images. There can only be an illusion that the observer is an animated image that the observer perceives if the observer identifies itself with an image.

The observer, which is a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world, has its own inherent sense of being present or I-Am-ness as it perceives the projected and animated images of its own holographic world, but the observer mistakenly attributes its own sense of being present to the projected and animated image of the form of a person it perceives in that holographic world. In effect, the observer is saying: I am the  projected and animated image of the form of a person I perceive in my own holographic world, which is obviously delusional. Why would the observer believe such a false and delusional belief about itself? The answer has to do with the nature of emotional personal self-identification.

It is simply not possible to discuss the nature of delusion or false personal self-identification without discussing emotions. Personal self-identification is inherently an emotional phenomena. The other thing to be clear about is where emotions come from. The expression of emotions is the expression of energy that animates the form of a person. Just as the form of that person is like an image that is projected to the observer’s point of view from its own holographic screen that can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, the expression of emotional energy that animates the form of the person also arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. That’s where the emotional energy comes from.

The other thing to be clear about is the purpose of emotional expressions. The only purpose of emotions is to defend body survival. The expression of emotions gives rise to the emotional energy that animates the form of a body. The essential nature of emotions is the expression of fear and desire, and the only purpose of emotional expressions is the defense of body survival.

The only scientific way to understand how the expression of emotions defends the survival of a body is with the second law of thermodynamics. A body is an emotionally animated form of information that we call a life-form. The second law of thermodynamics says that 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 necessary behaviors the life-form must 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.

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 self-identification is only a false belief that perceiving consciousness believes about itself. Perceiving 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 perceiving consciousness can believe about itself is true since it is nothing perceivable.

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 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.

The expression of fear and desire are primitive survival emotions necessary for the survival of a body in the world, but the human life-form is also a social animal, and the expression of social emotions also has survival value. The basic problem is that the human life-form is born in an immature state of development in which it is not able to fend for its own survival. The immature human child must be cared for by a caretaker, like its mother. The immature child is dependent on the care of its mother for its survival. This state of dependency leads to the formation of emotional attachments. The child becomes emotionally attached to its mother. The expression of emotional attachments are social emotions necessary for the survival of the immature child. By their very nature, the expression of emotional attachments are immature. Just like the primitive survival emotions of fear and desire, the expression of emotional attachments is also selected for by natural selection in the sense of the survival of the fittest body. The immature body of a child is more likely to survive if it forms an emotional attachment with its mother. The expression of social emotions in the form of emotional attachments is always an immature expression that arises from the dependency of the immature child on its caretakers to insure its body survival.

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.

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 that 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 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 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 also 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 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 core 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 it perceives in its own perceivable world.

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 false beliefs the perceiving subject believes about itself when it emotionally identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of a body.

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 just another perceivable form of information that 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.

In order to take this explanation further, it is necessary to make a distinction between individual will and divine will. Individual will arises when a spiritual presence of consciousness mistakenly identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of a body it perceives in its own perceivable world. The expression of individual will always reflects personal bias in the focus of attention of that presence of perceiving consciousness. Personal bias in the observer’s focus of attention on its world leads to the expression of personally biased emotions in that world. The expression of divine will is always unbiased as it has no personal bias.

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 that 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 an 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 in the world 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 in that 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.

Why does personal bias arise in the first place? The ultimate answer is natural selection and the survival of the fittest body, but the way natural selection expresses body survival is in terms of the pleasure-pain principle. Eating feels good while being eaten feels bad. The attention of consciousness naturally becomes focused on seeking pleasure and avoiding pain due to its preference to feel good rather than feel bad. This preference has survival value since feeling good, as in satisfying the desire to eat, promotes body survival, while feeling bad, as in being eaten, reduces the chances of body survival. The attention of consciousness naturally becomes directed to feel good rather than feel bad, which leads to personal bias in the way its attention is focused and to the expression of more personally biased survival emotions, like the desire to eat and the fear of being eaten. This has the effect of increasing the chances of body survival. This creates a vicious cycle. The more the attention of consciousness is focused in a personally biased way, the more personally biased survival emotions are expressed. The net result is to express the desire to live in the form of a body while also expressing the fear of body death.

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 personally biased survival emotions. In a very real sense, the observer is distorting the flow of energy through its world as it expresses 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.

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 were explained earlier in this article. 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 forces are understood to arise as extra components of the space-time metric with extra compactified dimensions of space. The quantum fields of all 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 behavior of 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 refuses 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.

Spiritual enlightenment, also called awakening from delusion or truth realization, is the end result of the observer getting out of the game. The observer gets out of the game when the observer refuses to focus its attention on the game and refuses to be present for the game. When the observer is no longer present to perceive the game, the game disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. The game only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until the observer observes it. The observer must be present to perceive the game for the game to appear to come into existence. When the observer is not present to perceive the game, the game disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. Everything disappears from existence since everything is a part of the game. What is creating and perceiving the game is not a part of the game. When everything disappears from existence, only the absolute nothingness of the void remains. In this ultimate state of absolute nothingness in which nothing is observed, the individual being of the observer dissolves back into its Source of undivided being like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. This oceanic experience is called spiritual enlightenment.

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 spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of the world one perceives, 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. One can only know oneself in terms of one’s own sense of being present as one perceives that world. When one detaches oneself from that world, one knows oneself to be out in the audience. 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 be a non-identified detached witness of the dream, which is the spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own perceivable world.

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. The normal flow of things arises 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 attempts to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way 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 that 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.

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 as the desire to eat can be 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.

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, personally biased emotional responses become distorted and amplified, which perpetuates personal self-identification.

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 is.

When the Self 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 self-defensive personally biased emotions comes to an end, when it gives up its desire to control things in a fearful personally biased and 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.

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’s 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 way. You accept things as they are each moment with no desire that things be any different than they are in the moment. You allow the animating flow of energy through your body to come into alignment with the normal flow of things. You allow yourself to be carried along by the normal flow of things. You enter into a deep state of let-go. That’s the only way you can come into alignment and feel connected rather than disconnected.

Jed McKenna refers to this state of connectedness that arises from one’s surrender to divine will as the integrated state. In the integrated state, one not only feels connected to all things as the flow of energy through one’s body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things through one’s world, but one also expresses right actions and experiences expressions of creativity. The integrated state is also characterized by the born-again experience, in which one dies in identity to the form of one’s own body and is reborn in identity to the spirit. One knows oneself to be a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of one’s own perceivable world.

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 body-based 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.

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 and no longer emotionally identifies oneself with the character. This state of emotional detachment and non-identification is the essence of awakening within the dream. One is no longer a 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 and 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 Source of pure undivided 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. That absolute nothingness 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.

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 arises from one’s 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 one’s 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 all 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, personal 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 that one can ever find oneself as a pure presence of perceiving consciousness with its own inherent sense of beingness and presence.

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.

In a very real sense, the mind is like a computer, and the intellect of the mind is like the software programs that run the computer. This software is only a collection of computational rules. 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.

The mind’s memory is like 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.

The next level of 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?

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. The only way consciousness can identify itself with the personal self-image it perceives is if it feels emotionally self-limited to that emotionally animated personal form.

With 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-defense. All the man-made problems of the world are created through this process of emotional self-identification that leads to expressions of personal self-defense.

A spiritual path only 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 spiritual wisdom of all spiritual teachings.

Modern physics has hit the wall between what is knowable and what is unknowable. That wall is a holographic screen. Whenever one has a self to defend, one builds a self-protective wall around oneself. The nature of that self-protective wall is a holographic screen. 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. Only when this doorway is cleansed of all sense of self can one escape and know one’s true nature, which is infinite. This doorway that 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 referred to 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 sense of beingness and presence.

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 absolute 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 in that world.

This naturally happens when one sees that world to be 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 being present 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.

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 ultimate 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.

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 you can experience nonduality is to leave duality behind. You have to become willing to leave duality behind and perceive nothing. The irony is that 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.

The essential instruction for awakening is to withdraw one’s 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 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, you become one. That oneness is the ultimate truth.

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 self-defensive personally biased 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 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 or 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.

What is the value of all 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.

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 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 an emotional attachment is severed. This ego deconstruction or dying process is inherently a process of giving up and letting go.

The stages of the process of death and dying are described as denial, then anger, then bargaining, then depression and disillusionment, and finally surrender and acceptance of death. The denial of death is a ubiquitous phenomenon that arises from the fear of death and nonexistence. The way death is denied is through the desire to control things and have power over things. If one has the power to control events, then one can expunge the fear of death. The denial of death is always expressed through the desire to control events as a way to expunge the fear of death. When one loses that power to control events, one goes through the various stages of the process of death and dying that eventually leads to surrender and acceptance of death. One never really had that power to control events in the first place, as the desire to control things through the expression of personally biased individual will is only an illusion of control. The unbiased expression of divine will is always firmly in control of the outcome of all events, including the death of one’s own body. When one finally surrenders to divine will, one is finally accepting that death.

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.

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 also 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 the ego. The spirit becomes free from ego. Giving up and letting go is the process of cleansing the 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.

The awakening process is really only about death and dying. You have to accept the loss and 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’s how the flow of emotional energy through your body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things. That’s how you feel connected to things, rather than self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a body. You give up expressing self-defensive emotions by giving up personal bias in the focus of your attention and 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 aspect 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 whereby you die to your personal self-identification with the body and are reborn in identity to 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 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.

If you’re really serious about awakening, then you have to become willing to die. You have to accept death. You have to die before you can be reborn. You have to become willing to die, not at the superficial level of body death, but at the deeper level of ego-death. Your personal self-concept has to die away inside of you. It has to become dead to you. The way it dies away is when you detach yourself from things. As you sever your emotional attachments, your personal self-concept dies away inside you and becomes dead to you. At a practical level, the life of your character in the world you perceive becomes dead to you. You stop caring about the life of your character in the world and lose interest in living that life. You see that life to be an illusion of what you really are and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. You lose the desire to live that life. That’s when you really sever the emotional attachment and become able to withdraw your attention away from the illusion. You have to lose interest in the illusion before you can turn around, shift the focus of your attention onto your own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world, and look within into the emptiness of your own being. That’s where you have to look before you can discover the truth of what you really are. That’s what awakening means. When the illusion disappears, you discover the truth of your own being. Truth is what’s left over when the illusion disappears from existence.

Discovering the truth of your own being is the same as dying since the life of your character in the world you perceive has to become dead to you. That’s what it means to detach yourself from that life, lose interest in living that life, and stop caring about the life of your character. Dying is the same as becoming desireless. Your life enabling desire to live that life has to die away. You can only appear to live that life if you express the desire to live that life. You have to lose the desire to live that life. You only become willing to die when you see that life to be an illusion of what you really are and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. You withdraw your desire to live that life away from that life when you withdraw your attention away from that life. You have to withdraw the emotional energy away from that life. Your investment of emotional energy in living that life, which is your desire to live that life, is the only thing that animates that life and keeps it going. Without that investment of emotional energy, that life dies away. The way you withdraw your emotional energy away from that life is by withdrawing your attention away from that life. That’s when you first become able to look within and focus on your own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world. That’s when you first become able to look within into the emptiness of your own being. That’s where you have to look before you can discover the truth of what you really are.

At the most fundamental level, you have to discriminate the only true thing you can ever know about yourself, which is your own sense of being present, from everything you know about the life your character appears to live in the world you perceive, which only creates a false sense of self. Discrimination leads to detachment in the sense that when you look within and refocus your attention on your own sense of being present, you also detach yourself from the world you perceive by withdrawing the outward focus of your attention on that world, which withdraws your investment of emotional energy in that world and severs your emotional attachment to things in that world. That’s when you become able to look within and refocus your attention on your own sense of being present and look within into the emptiness of your being, which is where you have to look to discover the true nature of what you really are.

The reason you surrender to divine will and sever your emotional attachment to everything in your world is so you can become desireless. You become desireless when your desire to live the life of your character in the world you perceive dies away. You have to lose that desire to live that life. You have to become willing to die. You have to hate the falseness of that life so much that you’d rather die than continue to live the life of a lie. You have to accept death. That’s how you become desireless. You have to see that world as an illusion and the life of your character as an illusion of what you really are, and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. That’s when you become able to withdraw your attention away from the illusion and withdraw your investment of emotional energy in the illusion. That’s when you become able to shift your focus of attention away from the illusion, look within, and refocus your attention on your own sense of being present. You have to discriminate everything you perceive about the life your character lives in the world you perceive, which is an illusion of what you really are, from the only true thing you can ever know about yourself, which is your sense of being present. You have to reject the false, embrace the truth, and detach yourself from the false. You have to refuse to play the game to get out of the game. In that desireless state in which you become willing to die, you look within and refocus your attention only on your own sense of being present to the exclusion of everything else that you can perceive about the life of your character in the world.

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 light of consciousness is divided from the darkness of the deep when your holographic world is illuminated and you perceive that world. 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.

There is No Spoon

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 is 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.

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 forms 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 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 absolute nothingness can only occur in an ultimate state of freefall, which the observer experiences as falling into the void.

Nisargadatta describes the present moment is the only place that 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. Nisargadatta describes that the totality of all mental projections is the great illusion. Beyond the mind is the witness. Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence. It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery. It is like a bottomless well. Whatever falls into it disappears.

Maya will try to trick you into paying attention to the illusion by offering you another thrill in the illusion or by scaring you out of your wits by threatening the survival of your personal form within the illusion, but don’t be fooled. Maya is only created when you express fear and desire, which you must express in order to create the illusion and perceive the illusion, but you can only express that fear and desire if you focus your attention on the illusion. You have to be interested in the illusion in order to pay attention to the illusion. Without your interest in the illusion you stop paying attention to the illusion and stop emotionally animating the illusion.

Jed McKenna points out that the awakening process requires focus and intent. One must have a clearly expressed intent and focus one’s time, energy and attention on the awakening process like a laser beam. One has to be serious and disciplined. One has to discipline one’s focus of attention on the awakening process as one looks within and prevent one’s attention from wandering around in an outwardly way and becoming distracted by all the distractions the world has to offer.

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 absolute 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 only identify your Self with That formless nothingness of pure 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 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.

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 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. The only true identity is the absolute nothingness of the Source that becomes divided into the Self.

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 emotionally creates 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 personal 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 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 really 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 absolute nothingness is what ultimately exists at the ground level of existence.

Nisargadatta has given an exquisitely detailed description of this state of affairs. Through his direct experiences, he has described a holographic world in exquisite detail. He also discussed the nature of nondual reality. What’s odd is that his descriptions are so universally ignored by the same people that revere him as a saint. What is it that people don’t want to know?

Nondual reality emotionally creates dualistic reality like the virtual reality of the Matrix so that it can communicate with itself. This kind of verbal communication can only appear to come into existence when emotions are expressed, which is literally how the world is created as the spirit of God moves over the face of the deep. Without that motion, there is only the darkness of the deep, the void, or the formless nothingness of pure consciousness that is truly alone since it is All-One. It has No-self because it has nothing to perceive in a subject-object relation of self and other.

At the ground level of the ultimate nature of existence nothing is known because that nothingness is what ultimately exists. The only way the kind of verbal communication that we experience in the world is even possible is if nondual reality creates a virtual reality for itself to communicate within, and that creation is always emotional. Creation is literally the spirit of God (Atman, the Self, I Am, the witness, or whatever else we want to call it) moving over the face of the deep, which is a holographic screen that allows a holographic world to appear to come into existence, but that holographic world is no more real than the virtual reality of the Matrix.

The irony is that science and the mathematics of modern physics that underlies all of science is just as much a part of the virtual reality as is anything else. Nisargadatta expressed his final wish during the last days of his life that the nature of nondual reality, or more specifically, the journey of awakening that takes one to the direct experience of nondual reality, be discussed in scientific terms. Nisargadatta was fully enlightened and truth realized, and yet he didn’t spend all of his time getting lost in the void in some catatonic or Samadhi trance of experiencing nothingness. He discussed the nature of nonduality in conceptual terms, and expressed his final wish that these concepts become scientific concepts. Of course, his comments were as much a part of dualistic reality as anything anyone else can say. It’s all dualism. Take away dualism and there is only the absolute nothingness of nondual reality, but like a roadmap, the only way anyone can point to the non-conceptual nature of nondual reality is by discussing it in conceptual terms.

Maybe that’s the reason nondual reality creates dualistic reality. McKenna says 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 park.

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

Never the spirit was born,
The spirit shall cease to be never,
Never was time it was not.
End and beginning are dreams.

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

Now I Am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

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

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

Returning is the motion of the Tao

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

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

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

Empty yourself of everything

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

That which permeates all, which nothing transcends, and which like the universal space around us fills everything completely from within and without, that Supreme non-dual Brahman
That thou art

Brahman is the only truth, the world is illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between Atman and Brahman.
-Shankara

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

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

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

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

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

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

That Being is void.
-Osho

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

You are and I am, but only as points in consciousness.

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

All you can say about yourself is I Am.

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

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

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

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

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

You can stop it any moment by switching off attention.

You make it possible by giving it attention.

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

You are that point of consciousness.

By your movement the world is ever created. Stop moving and there will be no world.

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.

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

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

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

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

Awareness comes as if from a higher dimension.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

When the mind is quiet we come to know ourselves as the pure witness.
We withdraw from the experience and stand apart in pure awareness.
The personality continues, but its self-identification with the witness snaps.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Supreme reality is the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness. There is no journey to Supreme reality. One is undeceived only. One is as one always is. One knows nothing, wants nothing, is nothing.

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

The I Am in movement creates the world.
The I Am at peace becomes the Absolute.

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

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

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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The Experiencer and its Experiences

The Experiencer and its Experiences

In a recent series of YouTube appearances, Bernardo Kastrup has argued on purely metaphysical grounds that the true nature of reality is the Experiencer, and that everything the Experiencer can experience is an excitation of the Experiencer. Experiences always occur in a subject-object relation, where the true nature of the subject is the Experiencer, and the nature of all objects are experiences the Experiencer experiences that arise as excitations within the Experiencer. In other words, there really is no such thing as objective reality, only experiences the Experiencer can experience that arise as excitations of the Experiencer. These experienced excitations arise within the true nature of the Experiencer, which has its own inherent subjective reality.

Remarkably, this is also exactly what modern physics is telling us with the holographic principle of quantum gravity.  For those interested in the mathematical details, the holographic principle is explained in detail in the following article, A Brief Look Behind the Curtain. Only the briefest of outlines will be included here, just enough to flesh out the argument. Speaking flippantly, understanding the true nature of the Experiencer is figuring out who the Wizard behind the curtain really is. As the Experiencer of your own experiences, that Wizard is you, but to really understand the answer, you also have to answer the question You who? It is the Experiencer itself that has to directly experience its own true nature to answer the question Who Am I?

The way the holographic principle answers this question is in terms of an observer observing its own holographic world. The observer is the Experiencer, and whatever the observer observes in its own holographic world is its experience. The observer observing observable things in its own holographic world defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The objective nature of all observable things the observer can observe are forms of information animated in the flow of energy. The holographic principle tells us that these forms of information can always be reduced to quantized bits of information, called qubits, encoded on a holographic screen. In some sense, the perception of an observable thing by the observer is like the projection of an image from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer outside the screen. The observer’s holographic screen is like a computer that encodes bits of information on pixels, and the perception of a form of information is like the projection of an image from the screen to the observer’s point of view outside the screen. The images of things are always reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Those projected images are then animated in the flow of energy, just like the energy that energizes the operation of a computer.

The holographic principle is telling us that everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world is reducible to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen. In reality, all the observable things the observer can observe are nothing more than forms of information projected like images from the observer’s own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections in the flow of energy, just like the projected and animated frames of a movie projected from and animated on a computer screen.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The observable things the observer can observe in its own holographic world not only include macroscopic things, like bodies, planets, stars and galaxies, but also microscopic things, like atoms and molecules, and elementary particles like electrons and photons of the electromagnetic force that comprise atoms, and quarks and gluons of the strong nuclear force that comprise the atomic nucleus. All of these observable things are forms of information that can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer can also observe the flow of energy through its own holographic world that animates the form of all these observable things. Both the form of things, which are projected like images from the observer’s own holographic screen to its own point of view, and the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world, which animates the form of all things, are observable. Only the observer can observe all these observable things, but the holographic principle goes even further in terms of explaining the nature of observable things that can appear in the observer’s holographic world.

The 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s holographic world is also observable and can be observed by the observer. The holographic principle says that the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s holographic world is reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. That’s what makes the observer’s world a holographic world. All the qubits of information that define whatever can appear to happen in some bounded three dimensional region of space are encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space, which acts as the observer’s holographic screen. All the observable objects that appear to occupy space in that three dimensional bounded region of space are reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s two dimensional holographic screen that arises as a bounding surface of space. The observable objects are forms of information projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view and animated in the flow of energy that energizes the observer’s holographic world over an animated sequence of holographic projections, just like the animated frames of a movie projected from a computer screen. The observer’s 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of its own holographic world arises as forms of information are projected from its holographic screen and appear to occupy three dimensional space and are animated in the flow of energy, like the projected and animated frames of a movie. The images of the movie are holographic and appear to occupy three dimensional space.

The observer is observing the dynamical nature of its own 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry that characterizes its holographic world, which is reducible to qubits of information encoded on its holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world. The dynamical nature of this 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity in the sense of the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The force of gravity is nothing more than this dynamical curvature of the observer’s space-time geometry, which is formulated in relativity theory in terms of Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The space-time metric is a field, just like the fields of the electromagnetic force or the nuclear forces. The space-time metric is the field of the gravitational force, which is understood as the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The holographic principle says that all of these force fields can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world.

In relativity theory, the observer is understood in the sense of a reference frame. The observer is nothing more than a point of view at the origin of its own coordinate system. That’s what a frame of reference means in relativity theory. From the point of view of other observers, the observer is following a world-line through their space-time geometry, but from the observer’s own point of view, the observer is at the center of its own space-time geometry. The holographic principle is telling us that the dynamical nature of the observer’s own curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry, which is the nature of gravity in the observer’s holographic world, can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This is a consequence of the principle of equivalence, which tells us the observed force of gravity is equivalent to the observer’s acceleration. Only an accelerating observer observes the force of gravity since that force is always equivalent to the observer’s acceleration. The only way we can even discuss the dynamical nature of the observer’s curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry that gives rise to the force of gravity is to discuss an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. This idea of an observer in an accelerated frame of reference is the key that unlocks all the secrets of the holographic principle. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is what gives rise to the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. At a very deep level, the observer’s accelerated motion is what is creating the appearance of its own holographic world.

Principle of Equivalence

What gives rise to the observer’s holographic screen? The observer’s holographic screen can always be understood as a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. In relativity theory, this two dimensional bounding surface of space is understood to arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Every accelerating observer has its observations of things in space limited by an event horizon. The observer’s event horizon is as far out in space as the observer can see things in space due to the limitation of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space. The speed of light is constant for all observers, independent of their relative states of motion, and that constancy of the speed of light gives rise to the limitation of an event horizon that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. Nothing is observable to an accelerating observer beyond the limits of its own event horizon.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

How does the observer’s event horizon turn into its own holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world, including the dynamical nature of the observer’s own curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry? The answer is found in all consistent theories of quantum gravity. The first consistent theory of quantum gravity discovered was string theory. String theory then morphed into M-theory, and from M-theory it became possible to deduce the AdS/CFT correspondence, which explicitly confirmed the holographic principle in a mathematically rigorous way. The AdS/CFT correspondence proves that it is possible to construct a holographic world in which all the fundamental quantized bits of information for that world are encoded on a holographic screen, which is a lower dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds a higher dimensional region of space. In the AdS/CFT correspondence, the qubits of information are encoded by a conformal field theory. In the case of the AdS/CFT correspondence, that conformal field theory is a super-symmetric SU(N) Yang-Mills field theory, similar to the field theories of the strong and weak nuclear forces. There is no force of gravity on the lower dimensional bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen, only a conformal field theory. The force of gravity only appears to be active within the higher dimensional bounded region of space. This appearance of the force of gravity within the bounded region of space in some sense is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. All the fundamental qubits of information that describe the effect of gravity in the bounded region of space are encoded on the bounding surface of that space. The effect of gravity in the bounded region of space can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

The easiest way to understand how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which turns the horizon into a holographic screen, is with non-commutative geometry, which also explains how space-time geometry is quantized. String theory and M-theory can be understood as special cases of non-commutative geometry, as can fractal geometries. With non-commutative geometry, each quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon specified by a non-commuting variable is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information or qubit. In quantum gravity, the pixel size is called the Planck area. This gives the observer’s event horizon an entropy as S=kn, where n is the number of qubits encoded on the event horizon, which is proportional to the surface area A of the horizon as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is the Planck area. Each Planck area on the horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. Non-commutative geometry fundamentally explains how the qubits are encoded on a holographic screen in terms of quantizing position coordinates on the screen, which smears out each quantized position coordinate into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. In non-commutative geometry, quantized position coordinates are specified by non-commuting variables. The entropy of the observer’s event horizon is given in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the horizon. The smallest possible event horizon that can encode a single qubit of information is a Planck-sized event horizon. This fundamentally explains why the Planck length is the smallest possible measurable distance scale. A Planck sized event horizon is the smallest possible horizon that can encode a single qubit of information.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck-sized Event Horizon

Holographic Principle

Quantum entanglement is the natural result of the superposition of quantum states. In quantum gravity, information states are entangled. This implies the entropy of the observer’s event horizon is an entanglement entropy. This is consistent with the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry since all the qubits of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are entangled. This is represented by the superposition of information states for that world. A holographic world defined by the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen is fundamentally a world where everything is connected to everything else at the level of quantum entanglement. All the information states for that world are entangled, and so that holographic world is inherently holistically connected.

The idea of quantum entanglement is inherent in the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry. All the quantized bits of information or qubit encoded on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are inherently entangled, which is understood in terms of matrices. Quantum entanglement allows qubits to be defined in a rotationally invariant way. This is much like the way quantum theory defines spin ½ particles in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its two eigenvalues also define spin up and spin down states. These two spin states give a representation of information in a binary code, like a switch that is either on or off. The spin up and spin down states are like vectors that point up or down, but when these spin states are in a superposition of states and are entangled, the vector can point in any direction, and so rotational symmetry is preserved. With the holographic principle, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric holographic screen can be defined by the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix, which are entangled.

We still have to explain the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world. Where does that energy come from? The answer is that energy comes from the observer’s own acceleration. The observer’s acceleration gives rise to the observer’s event horizon that acts as its own holographic screen when its event horizon encodes qubits of information, but that acceleration also gives rise to the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world.

The secret behind the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world is the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its own accelerated frame of reference. The Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon arises as the energy of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its own event horizon. This is the thermal energy that flows through the observer’s own holographic world as observed in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. In effect, the observer’s acceleration is defining a frequency in the sense that E=hf, which is the fundamental defining relation between energy and frequency in quantum theory. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. This thermal radiation is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerating observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerating observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes quantized bits of information for point particles that can appear in the observer’s holographic world, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon gives the event horizon an apparent temperature proportional to the observer’s acceleration.

Hawking Radiation

Hawking radiation is weird. The key thing to realize is that although it appears that virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are separating at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer and that thermal particles of Hawking radiation are radiated towards the observer, the fundamental quantized bits of information that define all those particles of Hawking radiation are actually encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen.

The holographic principle is telling us that each Planck area defined on the observer’s event horizon is acting like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information. The particles of Hawking radiation that the accelerating observer perceives to be radiated away from the event horizon are reducible to quantized bits of information encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen. The essential lesson of the holographic principle is that particles that appear to exist in three dimensional space and appear to move through three dimensional space can always be reduced to quantized bits of information encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds that three dimensional region of space and acts as a holographic screen. That bounding surface of space can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer is observing events in its own holographic world as displayed on its own holographic screen. Those perceivable events can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which gives rise to the form of things, and the flow of energy that animates those forms. This flow of energy can be understood in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as the thermal energy that arises from the observer’s acceleration.

The laws of thermodynamics relate a change in total energy to temperature and a change in entropy as ΔE=TΔS. The laws of thermodynamics are not really laws of physics, but rather very general statistical relations that specify how thermal energy flows from hotter to colder objects in terms of the dynamical degrees of freedom of those objects. This specifies how objects carry thermal energy, which is understood as the random kinetic energy of those objects. In terms of the holographic principle, the fundamental nature of the dynamical degrees of freedom of all objects are qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen, which is the nature of the entropy that characterizes those objects. The fundamental reason for this relation between energy and entropy is each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT given in terms of the Unruh temperature at thermal equilibrium. The laws of thermodynamics assume thermal equilibrium. Each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen is a fundamental dynamical degree of freedom for the observer’s holographic world. The equal partition of energy tells us that each dynamical degree of freedom, which is a qubit of information, carries an equal amount of energy E=kT at thermal equilibrium, which defines temperature. As more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, more energy is inherent in that holographic world.

Where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle gives a perfectly good answer, as Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have both demonstrated. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The matter particles that constitute the nature of all matter in that world and the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces between all matter particles also obey computational rules inherent in the quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics. The holographic appearance of that world in terms of both the space-time geometry and the particle physics of that world is constructed out of qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. That holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer, but the computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry and the particle physics of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. The rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state that only give an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

To begin with, we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, from the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations are thermodynamic equations of state that arise from the laws of thermodynamics that relate energy to entropy and temperature, ΔE=TΔS. Ted Jacobson has shown how this derivation goes forward in terms of the area law for the entropy of the observer’s event horizon and the Unruh temperature of that event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its accelerated frame of reference. As heat flows across a bounding surface of space, the total energy of that bounded region of space must change, which implies a thermodynamic change in the entropy of that bounded region of space. The holographic principle then tells us the area of the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded region. Jacobson showed this change in the geometry of the bounded region is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. Once we have Einstein’s field equations, all quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics can then be deduced as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and super-symmetry. The final result of unification looks alot like 11-dimensional supergravity, which is understood as a low energy limit of M-theory. It therefore turns out that the whole quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity can be deduced from the holographic principle.

All we really need to explain the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which gives rise to an event horizon. Apply non-commutative geometry to that event horizon as a way to quantize position coordinates on the horizon, along with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, and we have an explanation for how to generate all the qubits of information that define everything in a holographic world. The form of everything in that world is reducible to qubits of information. Even the flow of energy that animates everything in that world can be understood in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon. Each quantized position coordinate defined by a non-commuting variable on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This encoding process not only includes information for all the elementary particles of that world that underlie the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, but also the space-time geometry of that world that underlies the effect of gravity. The only thing that seems to be fundamental to the explanation is the observer itself. The holographic principle is telling us that only the observer has its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

Any thermodynamic equation of state describing a physical system implies thermal equilibrium, which means the dynamical degrees of freedom of that system are thermalized or randomized in terms of their thermal energy. A thermodynamic equation of state is not valid when the system is not at thermal equilibrium. Since Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics, which is the nature of physical matter and the electromagnetic and nuclear physical forces, are only thermodynamic equations of state for the physical universe, these equations do not apply when the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium. As Roger Penrose has often pointed out, the physical universe is definitely not at thermal equilibrium, as is demonstrated by the normal flow of energy through the physical universe. It makes no sense to try to understand the nature of the physical universe in terms of equations that are not fundamental and only give an approximate thermal average description of the physical universe. If we are to have any hope of understanding the nature of the physical universe, we have to go beyond the simple understanding of the universe in terms of what we call the laws of physics inherent in Einstein’s field theory for gravity and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics. We have to start understanding the physical universe in terms of the holographic principle. We have to start understanding the perceivable physical world in terms of the observer of that world.

Normal Flow of Energy through the Observer’s Perceivable World

The physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium because space is expanding in the physical universe. The accelerated nature of the expansion of space, which is called dark energy, is the primordial energy that puts the bang in the big bang event. The idea of creation of the universe in a big bang is based on the idea of the expansion of space. As is well known, the expansion of space implies a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s cosmic horizon defines its own world whenever space expands since that is where all the fundamental qubits of information for that world are encoded. Inherent in the idea of the big bang is the idea the observer’s observable world increases in size as space expands. This implies the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius as the observer’s world increases in size. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, which explains the normal flow of heat in the observer’s world as heat flows from hotter to colder objects. This also explains the second law of thermodynamics which says entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, but its surface area increases, which implies the entropy of the observer’s world increases even as its world cools, since more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s cosmic horizon.

Creation of the Universe as the Expansion of Space

The holographic principle is telling us that the fundamental nature of the universe is qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen. That’s what makes the universe a holographic universe. The observer’s holographic screen is understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observation of things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their relative states of motion.

The holographic principle says that every accelerating observer has its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information for everything observable in the observer’s world are encoded. Things don’t really exist in three dimensional space. Everything observable in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that arises as a holographic form of information for that thing is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen, which is a two dimensional bounding surface of space, to the observer’s central point of view in space, which always arises in relation to that holographic screen. The observation of things appearing in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. This even applies to elementary particles, like photons and electrons. All the fundamental qubits of information for an elementary particle are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s observation of an elementary particle, like anything else it can observe in its holographic world, is only the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. Everything observable arises through holographic projection.

The holographic principle gives a perfectly good explanation for how the observer’s world is created in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Everything the observer can observe in its world arises through holographic projection, as a form of information is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in its own accelerated frame of reference. That event horizon acts as a holographic screen in the sense of encoding qubits of information, which are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of its holographic world. Everything perceivable in its holographic world is a form of information constructed out of qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Even the flow of energy that animates those forms of information is inherent in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference in the sense of thermodynamics and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon.

Everything perceivable in the observer’s holographic world arises through holographic projection. Even the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of that world arises through holographic projection. Just like all other perceivable things, space-time geometry can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and the perception of space-time geometry is no more real than forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The space-time geometry the observer observes in its world has no independent existence. If the observer doesn’t observe it, that space-time geometry doesn’t really exist. Everything the observer observes in its world, including the space-time geometry of that world, is dependent on the observer’s observation of it before it can appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe it, it does not exist, except in the sense of an unobserved state of potentiality. That’s exactly what quantum theory tells us. The observation of space-time geometry, just like anything else the observer can observe, is only an illusion of existence in the sense of holographic projection.

Most physicists cannot accept this state of affairs since space-time geometry, like everything else that can be perceived in the world, appears to obey computational rules. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey the computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. How can something that’s not really real and doesn’t really exist obey computational rules? The simple answer is, that’s the inherent nature of a holographic world. The holographic appearance of that world is constructed out of the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer. The computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. These rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state and are only an approximation with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics, which only gives an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world.

When the observer observes a particle located at some position in space and the motion of that particle through space over the course of time, the observer is really only observing a form of information projected like an image from its own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections, just like the animation of the projected images of a movie from a computer screen to an observer. The reason we can say this with confidence is because all of particle physics can be formulated in terms of quantum field theory, and we can deduce all of quantum field theory from the holographic principle.

By its very nature, an observation of the world implies an observer is making that observation, but who exactly is the observer? Modern physics has no answer for the true nature of the observer. Physicists want to sweep this problem under the rug and ignore it because they really have nothing to say about the true nature of the observer. The whole enterprise of physics is really only about describing what is observable and not about what is making the observation.

In some sense, perceivable reality is just like a computer generated virtual reality, which is constructed when digital images are projected from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images and as the images are animated over the course of time in the flow of energy. If the computer generated projected digital images are holographic in nature, the images appear to occupy three dimensional space even though they can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a two dimensional computer screen. The images of that virtual reality not only include visual images, but also auditory images and tactile images. Not only is the form of things perceivable, but the flow of energy that animated the form of things is also perceivable. The holographic principle is telling us that in no real sense is perceivable reality any different in any significant way than a computer generated holographic virtual reality.

What about the observer that perceives that perceivable reality? What is the true nature of the reality of the observer? Is the observer also an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives? Can the observer itself be reduced to the bits of information encoded on a holographic screen that gives rise to the appearance of the form of all things that appear to occupy space or to the flow of energy that animates those forms over the course of time? Wouldn’t that assumption that the observer itself can be reduced to an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives create a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference?

The problem is the form of a body and brain that appears within the holographic virtual reality must be constructed out of bits of information encoded on a holographic screen, like anything else that appears in that holographic virtual reality. Everything that appears in the holographic virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Can a body and brain that is a part of that holographic virtual reality also perceive that virtual reality? The only logically consistent answer is no. A body and brain that is part of the holographic virtual reality cannot be the observer that perceives that virtual reality. At most, a body and brain can only process or transmit information about that virtual reality. Just like a computer screen that projects images to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images, the observer is always outside the screen. Projected images can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen, but the observer of the images projected from the screen cannot be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen. The observer’s point of view is always outside the screen.

The holographic principle is fundamentally telling us that the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything the observer can perceive in perceivable reality. The reality of the observer is independent of the perceivable reality the observer perceives. The nature of reality is exactly the other way around from what is conventionally assumed when we assume that a body and brain that appears in perceivable reality is an observer of that perceivable reality. That kind of assumption is a mistake in the sense of a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. The perceivable reality the observer perceives is dependent on the reality of the observer. Perceivable things only appear to come into existence when the observer perceives them. The apparent existence of perceivable things is dependent on the existence of the observer. Only the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything that the observer can perceive.

The big question is about the true nature of the observer’s consciousness in relation to whatever the observer happens to observe in its world. This question explodes when that observable world is understood to be a holographic world. A holographic world is no more real than images depicted on a holographic screen. The images can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Who is really observing those images? Can an image observe itself? The holographic principle gives the only logically possible answer. The observer is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world that arises in relation to its own holographic screen.

What about the problem of multiple observers observing the same observable world? The problem with assuming that multiple observers exist in and observe the same observable world are all the paradoxes of quantum theory, like the Wigner friend paradox. The solution for this problem is the idea of a consensual reality shared among different observers, each of which arises at its own point of view in relation to its own holographic screen. A consensual reality can only arise in the sense of a Venn diagram of information sharing among different but overlapping holographic screens. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, and so that holographic screen is inherently observer-dependent. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information are encoded for the observer’s own holographic world. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view defined on its own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen, but those screens can overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. This problem of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens is the essence of the entanglement problem of quantum gravity, as Tom Banks has pointed out.

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

This way of understanding observation in terms of every observer observing its own holographic world from its own point of view eliminates all paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. Multiple observers simply cannot exist inside the same observable world without creating logically inconsistent paradoxes. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view. Different observers can only share a consensual reality due to information sharing among different but overlapping holographic worlds. This way of understanding the nature of observation raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. These are fundamental questions about the true nature of observing consciousness.

Quantum theory in the context of the holographic principle is telling us that the observable physical world can only appear to come into existence in relation to the observations of the observer that observes that holographic world. Every observer must observe its own holographic world for that world to appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe its own holographic world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. That unobserved state of potentiality is the nature of the quantum state. For the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world to come into an observed state of actuality, the observer must make an observation of that world. The time evolution of that world, as represented by the quantum wavefunction, only applies to the unobserved state of potentiality of that world. Measurement of that world, as represented by quantum state reduction or collapse of the wavefunction, only applies to the observer’s observation of its own holographic world, which reduces the state of potentiality of the observer’s world to an observed state of actuality. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that the observer’s world only appears to come into an actual state of existence when the observer observes that world. Without the observer’s observation of its own world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Simply put, an observable world cannot appear to actually exist unless an observer observes it, but this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. What is the true nature of the observer’s own existence?

This fundamental relation of an observer observing its own observable world essentially defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The holographic principle tells us that the objective nature of all things the observer can observe in its own observable world are forms of information that can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen, which can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is telling us that in some sense the objective nature of all things the observer observes is a holographic illusion, since all observable things can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observable things include the nature of all elementary particles that appear in space, including all the matter particles and all the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The observable things also include the dynamical nature of space-time geometry, which is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity. With the holographic principle, all of this observable stuff can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, but that’s not the end of it.

Everything observable in the observer’s holographic world, including the observer’s own body and brain, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. The true subjective nature of the observer cannot be its body or brain, since these are only forms of information that appear in the observer’s own holographic world. At most, the observer’s own body and brain can only transmit or process information about the nature of that holographic world. A form of information is something observable, and cannot observe itself without creating a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. As quantum theory tells us, an observable object, which is a form of information, can only arise in a subject-object relation as the observer observes that observable thing. If the observer’s own body and brain is not the true nature of the observer observing its own observable world, then what is the true subjective nature of the observer? This is fundamentally a question about the true subjective nature of observing consciousness, which by simple deductive logical reasoning, cannot itself be reduced to an observable thing. A body and brain that appears inside an observable holographic world cannot be the true subjective nature of the observer of that holographic world.

Until we confront the true subjective nature of the observer, we will never be able to make any real progress in terms of understanding the objective nature of the physical reality that we observe. The problem with modern physics and the lack of an adequate resolution of the measurement problem of quantum theory is that we are not confronting the true subjective nature of the observer. Is there something that we don’t want to know? What exactly is it that we don’t want to know? These are fundamental questions like: Who is the observer? Who is the knower? What is the true subjective nature of observing consciousness? Who am I?

The holographic principle is fundamentally an observer-centric description of observable reality. The observable reality of the world we perceive is not only perceived in an observer-centric way, but also in an observer-dependent way. The holographic principle is telling us that the observer is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world.

The holographic principle fundamentally says that everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s body and the brain that appears in that holographic world can also be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. Everything observable in a holographic world is reducible to information and energy, but the consciousness of the observer observing that world is not. Consciousness has its own independent existence. The apparent existence of a holographic world that is reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy animating that world is dependent on the independent existence of the observer’s consciousness.

Only the observer itself can have its own independent existence, but we’d like to go further and understand the true nature of that existence. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness present at the center of its own holographic world, but where does that presence of consciousness come from? This is where the void comes into the story. The void is the true nature of potentiality. The void can also be called the ultimate nature of existence or the ground of being, which is the potentiality for things to come into existence. As the ground of being, the void is the ultimate nature of reality. In-and-of-itself, the void only exists in the sense of absolute nothingness, but that nothingness is the potentiality for things to come into existence. The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world. The void is the ultimate nature of reality, and the holographic world it creates is a lesser form of reality, like a virtual reality. That virtual reality comes into existence because of the creation of the information and energy that underlies all observable things. These things not only include what physicists call elementary particles, but also the space-time geometry those observable things appear to exist within. Even the space-time geometry of a holographic world is observable, and in some sense is just another observable thing that can be reduced to information and energy. The space-time geometry of a holographic world is reducible to the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world just like everything else observable in that holographic world.

The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates information is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon that then turns into its holographic screen.

The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world, but where does the consciousness of the observer come from? The simplest answer is the consciousness of the observer also comes from the void. The void is the potentiality to give rise to the consciousness of the observer. The void is also consciousness, but it is a more fundamental kind of consciousness than the observer’s consciousness. The consciousness of the observer is an individual or divided kind of consciousness, while the void is undivided consciousness. The void is the potentiality for the observer’s consciousness to come into existence in the sense that the individual consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void before the observer’s holographic world can appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The observation of that world is always limited by an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The consciousness of the observer is not only divided, but it is also limited, while the consciousness of the void is unlimited and undivided. Only the observer’s consciousness can observe things in its own holographic world. Each such observation of something by the observer is the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The consciousness of the void observes nothing because it has no holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is always a limitation of consciousness that can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as an observation limiting event horizon. Only an observer can observe things in its own holographic world. This only becomes possible when the divided consciousness of the observer is limited by a holographic screen. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void observes nothing, and yet the void is the potentiality to create a holographic world and give rise to the consciousness of the observer that observes that holographic world from the central point of view of that world. This creation process can only appear to happen within the void if the consciousness of the observer is divided from the undivided consciousness of the void and that point of consciousness then enters into an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to the limitation of a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world.

The key concept of the one-world-per-observer paradigm inherent in the holographic principle is that the observer’s holographic world can only be created within the void through the construction of a holographic screen as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, but before that creation can occur, the consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void. The only reason the observer is unaware of the void is because the observer’s attention is totally focused on itself and its world. The process of the observer shifting the focus of its attention away from itself and its world, and back onto its source, is called awakening, as in awakening from a dream.

This relationship of the void to the observer is like the relationship of a dreamer to its dream. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void, which observes nothing, is the source of the limited and divided consciousness of the observer that observes its own holographic world. That holographic world is the dream, and the void is the dreamer. The consciousness of the observer is a divided fragment of the undivided consciousness of the void. The fragmented consciousness of the observer must be separated from the unfragmented consciousness of the void for that holographic world to appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The fragmented consciousness of the observer is always connected to its source in that this state of separation can come to an end at any moment and the divided consciousness of the observer can return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of the void.

This state of reunion can be understood as an ultimate state of free fall in which the observer’s holographic world disappears from existence. The observer has no holographic screen in an ultimate state of free fall since it has no event horizon that limits its observations. Ironically, when there is no limitation of consciousness, there is also nothing to observe, and there is no separation. The void is this unlimited and undivided primordial state of consciousness, which is a state of pure potentiality. When that potentiality is expressed, an observable holographic world appears to come into existence and the consciousness of the observer becomes divided from the undivided consciousness of the void so that the observer can observe its own world. When that potentiality is not expressed, only the unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void exists. In that ultimate state of existence, nothing is observed. The void is that absolute nothingness, which in the sense of potentiality, is the true nature of what I am, you are, and everything is.

Atman-Brahman

How is the observer’s ultimate state of free fall even possible? The answer is the observer must be present to observe its own observable holographic world. Being present for its world means the observer must focus its attention on that world. If the observer withdraws its attention away from that world and is not present to observe that world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Both the form of all things in that world and the flow of energy through that world remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. Without the expression of that energy, the observer no longer is in an accelerated frame of reference, but instead enters into an ultimate state of free fall. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer no longer observes a holographic world. The observer’s holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. In the language of nonduality, this ultimate state of free fall is described as falling into the void. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer’s individual existence, which is its own divided sense of being present or I-Am-ness, dissolves back into the undivided being of the void like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. This oceanic experience is the nature of the observer realizing the truth of what it really is, which is the truth of its own being.

This way of understanding the holographic principle has no logical inconsistencies or paradoxes. It is completely consistent with everything we know about modern physics, and is really the only way modern physics can be understood in a logically consistent way. The other great advantage of this way of understanding the holographic principle is that it’s totally consistent with what enlightened beings like Nisargadatta Maharaj tell us about the true nature of reality. Enlightened beings have directly experienced the true nature of reality. They have returned to the ultimate state of existence and come back to the world to tell us what is real and what is illusion.

Ultimately, the true nature of the Experiencer is the void. It is the void that creates a holographic world for itself to experience. To have those worldly experiences, the undivided and unlimited consciousness of the void must divide itself into the divided and limited consciousness of the observer of that world, which is present at the central point of view of its own holographic world. All the experiences that can be experienced in that holographic world arise as an excitation of the Experiencer in the sense that the void must express energy in order to create that holographic world. The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where all the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates all the information for that holographic world is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon, which then turns into its holographic screen. Just as Bernardo Kastrup argues on purely metaphysical grounds, modern physics demonstrates with the holographic principle that every experience the Experiencer can experience in its own holographic world arises as an excitation of the Experiencer that occurs within the true nature of the Experiencer.

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)

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

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

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

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

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A Brief Look Behind the Curtain

A Brief Look Behind the Curtain

What Constitutes Reality and How Reality is Organized

Reality consists of only three things, but one of those things is not really a thing. The No-thing aspect of reality is called consciousness. Consciousness is what perceives all things, but in its ultimate stateless state, consciousness perceives nothing. The perception of nothing is not really that big of a mystery. It happens each night when you fall into a deep sleep. In-and-of-itself, consciousness in its ultimate stateless state perceives nothing. Consciousness perceives nothing when it exists in-and-of-itself. In that ultimate stateless state of existence, nothing exists except for consciousness. The fact that consciousness can exist independently of anything else that it can perceive tells us that consciousness in-and-of-itself is the ultimate nature of existence.

The things that consciousness perceives can only appear to exist when consciousness perceives them. The apparent existence of all the things that consciousness can perceive are dependent on consciousness for their perception. Those things can only appear to come into existence when consciousness perceives them. If consciousness does not perceive those things, then those things do not really exist. They have no independent existence outside of their perception.

The things that can be perceived are composed of two distinctly different kinds of things. The first kind of thing is called energy. The flow of energy is what animates the form of all things. All things are animated over the course of time, and the course of time and the flow of energy arise together. The course of time and the flow of energy are two sides of the same coin.

The second kind of thing is called information. At a fundamental level, information can be deconstructed into bits of information, just like the bits of information encoded on the pixels of a computer screen. The form of all things arise from the way those bits of information are organized into forms, just like the form of the images projected from a computer screen to the point of view of the observer that perceives those images. The form of all things are animated in the flow of energy over the course of time, just like the form of the images projected from a computer screen to the point of view of the observer perceiving those images are animated in the flow of energy through the computer that energizes the operation of the computer.

The form of things appear to occupy space. The three dimensional space that we perceive in effect is created by the way the form of the things we perceive appear to occupy space. The course of time that we perceive in effect is created by the way those forms are animated in the flow of energy. We perceive a three dimensional space and a one dimensional course of time, which can be reduced to the way the form of things appear to occupy space and the flow of energy that animates those forms over the course of time. At a more fundamental level, the form of all things that appear to occupy a three dimensional region of space can be reduced to the way bits of information are encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds that three dimensional region of space, just like the form of the images projected from a computer screen can be reduced to the way bits of information are encoded on the computer screen.

Whoa. Hold on there partner. Who said anything about reality being defined on a computer screen? Actually, that’s exactly what modern physics says about the nature of reality. In the last 25 years, modern physics has discovered what is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity. Modern physics says that reality is defined on a two dimensional holographic screen that by analogy is just like a computer screen. The holographic screen is a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. The holographic screen is where all the fundamental bits of information are encoded that define all the forms of things that can be perceived in some bounded region of three dimensional space, just like with a physical hologram. The form of all the things that appear to occupy that region of space can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the holographic screen, just like the projection of the form of the images from a computer screen to the point of view of the observer perceiving those images.

The Observer’s Holographic Screen

At this point we need to make an important point of qualification. The reality that the observer perceives can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Let’s call that aspect of reality perceivable reality. Everything in perceivable reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. More specifically, the form of all the things that can be perceived in perceivable reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Since the perception of three dimensional space is an aspect of the form of things appearing to occupy space, this also included three dimensional space. Three dimensional space is an aspect of perceivable reality. The course of time is also an aspect of perceivable reality. The course of time arises with the flow of energy that animates the form of all things. That flow of animating energy is also an aspect of perceivable reality.

In some sense, perceivable reality is just like a computer generated virtual reality, which is constructed when digital images are projected from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images and as the images are animated over the course of time in the flow of energy. If the computer generated projected digital images are holographic in nature, the images appear to occupy three dimensional space even though they can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a two dimensional computer screen. The images of that virtual reality not only include visual images, but also auditory images and tactile images. Not only is the form of things perceivable, but the flow of energy that animated the form of things is also perceivable. The holographic principle is telling us that in no real sense is perceivable reality any different in any significant way than a computer generated holographic virtual reality.

What about the observer that perceives that perceivable reality? What is the true nature of the reality of the observer? Is the observer also an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives? Can the observer itself be reduced to the bits of information encoded on a holographic screen that gives rise to the appearance of the form of all things that appear to occupy space or to the flow of energy that animates those forms over the course of time? Wouldn’t that assumption that the observer itself can be reduced to an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives create a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference?

The problem is the form of a body and brain that appears within the holographic virtual reality must be constructed out of bits of information encoded on a holographic screen, like anything else that appears in that holographic virtual reality. Everything that appears in the holographic virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Can a body and brain that is a part of that holographic virtual reality also perceive that virtual reality? The only logically consistent answer is no. A body and brain that is part of the holographic virtual reality cannot be the observer that perceives that virtual reality. At most, a body and brain can only process or transmit information about that virtual reality. Just like a computer screen that projects images to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images, the observer is always outside the screen. Projected images can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen, but the observer of the images projected from the screen cannot be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen. The observer’s point of view is always outside the screen.

The holographic principle is fundamentally telling us that the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything the observer can perceive in perceivable reality. The reality of the observer is independent of the perceivable reality the observer perceives. The nature of reality is exactly the other way around from what is conventionally assumed when we assume that a body and brain that appears in perceivable reality is an observer of that perceivable reality. That kind of assumption is a mistake in the sense of a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. The perceivable reality the observer perceives is dependent on the reality of the observer. Perceivable things only appear to come into existence when the observer perceives them. The apparent existence of perceivable things is dependent on the existence of the observer. Only the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything that the observer can perceive.

The reality of the observer is consciousness itself. In-and-of-itself, the reality of consciousness is independent of anything that consciousness can perceive because the existence of consciousness is independent of anything that consciousness can perceive. The reality of consciousness is No-thing. The apparent existence of the form of all things that consciousness can perceive in perceivable reality is dependent on the independent existence of consciousness. Those things can only appear to come into existence as consciousness perceives them. If consciousness does not perceive its own version of perceivable reality, then consciousness perceives nothing.

At this point, if we want to dive deeper into the weeds of modern physics as a way to understand how perceivable reality is created and organized, we need to discuss what’s been discovered in theoretical physics in the last 25 years. The problem began when physicists tried to develop a theory of quantum gravity that could unify the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity with the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics. The standard model of particle physics is formulated in terms of the quantum field theories of the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The nuclear forces are further broken down into weak and strong nuclear forces that respectively are responsible for the nuclear decay that breaks up the atomic nucleus into smaller particles and for the strong nuclear attractive force that holds the atomic nucleus together as a bound state of particles. The electromagnetic force in turn holds atoms together as electrons are bound to the atomic nucleus, and also holds molecules together as atoms are bound together.

In quantum field theory, an elementary particle is a quantum excitation of a quantum field. For example, the photon is a quantum excitation of the electromagnetic field and an electron is a quantum excitation of the Dirac field. In a similar way, a quark is a quantum excitation of the quark field, a gluon is a quantum excitation of the strong nuclear field, and a W or Z particle is a quantum excitation of the weak nuclear field. Quarks and gluons bind together inside an atomic nucleus under the influence of the strong nuclear force, and an atomic nucleus can decay under the influence of the weak nuclear force. Electrons bind to the atomic nucleus into atoms and atoms bind together into molecules and bodies under the influence of the electromagnetic force.

This is the standard model of particle physics as understood with quantum field theory. If this was all we had to deal with, there would be no problem. Unfortunately, we also have to deal with gravity. In Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the force of gravity is understood to arise as the curvature of space-time geometry. The way Einstein formulated the relativistic curvature of space-time geometry was in terms of the field equations for the space-time metric. The metric is what measures the curvature of space-time geometry. The space-time metric is a field just like the electromagnetic field or the strong or weak nuclear fields. The problem is all the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics can only be formulated in a logically consistent way if space-time geometry is flat, which is called Minkowski space, but if space-time geometry is flat, there is no force of gravity. By its very nature, gravity arises from the curvature of space-time geometry, and there is no known logically consistent and unified way to formulate both the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics with the relativistic formulation of gravity in terms of the curvature of space-time geometry.

A problem arises when we try to understand the force of gravity as due to the exchange of a quantum particle called the graviton between other massive particles the same way we’re able to understand the electromagnetic force as due to the exchange of the quantum particle called the photon between electrically charged particles. The exchange of a quantum particle between other particles like electrons implies there is a space-time geometry within which that particle can propagate. In order to formulate the quantum field theory of electromagnetism in this way, we have to assume there is a background space-time geometry of flat Minkowski space within which the photon can propagate. A problem arises when we try to understand the graviton in the same way. The graviton is supposed to give a representation of the curvature of space-time geometry, but to understand the graviton as the quantum particle of the gravitational field, we have to assume that the graviton propagates through flat Minkowski space, since that is the only way we can formulate quantum field theory. There is something logically inconsistent with assuming that the graviton propagates through flat Minkowski space while it also gives a representation of the curvature of space-time geometry, which is the nature of the gravitational force.

The other problem with trying to understand gravity as a quantum field theory is the problem of black holes. A black hole is a region of space where the force of gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape. That region of space is defined by a bounding surface of space called an event horizon. At the event horizon, the velocity of escape from the black hole, called escape velocity, is the speed of light. Since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in relativity theory, nothing can escape from a black hole, not even light.

Black Hole

The event horizon of a black hole is a special spherical surface where the escape velocity from that surface is the speed of light. A simple way to calculate the radius of the event horizon using classical concepts is to equate the kinetic energy of a particle of mass m moving away from a mass M with a velocity v, KE=½mv2, with the gravitational potential energy of that particle at a distance R from the mass M, PE=GmM/R. With escape velocity, the mass m has just enough kinetic energy to overcome the gravitational attraction of the mass M. This determines escape velocity as v2=2GM/R. If we equate v=c, we find the radius of the event horizon is R=2GM/c2, which is to say the escape velocity at the event horizon of a black hole is the speed of light.

Schwarzschild Radius of the Event Horizon of a Black Hole

This is where things get a bit tricky. The event horizon of a black hole is always defined in an observer’s frame of reference. An observer’s reference frame is a coordinate system with an observer at the origin or central point of view of that coordinate system. An observer always measures the nature of its own space-time geometry in that coordinate system. The observer measures distances in space and intervals in time between events that take place in its own frame of reference or coordinate system that defines its own space-time geometry. The space-time metric is a way of mathematically representing those measurements of distances in space and intervals in time. At the event horizon of a black hole, those measurements break down. Nothing can be measured by the observer beyond the event horizon of the black hole. The observer’s own space-time geometry breaks down at the event horizon of the black hole. The observer can measure nothing beyond the event horizon, which is to say the event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. That limitation arises from the finite nature of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space. That limitation also arises because the speed of light is a constant or the same for all observers independent of their individual state of motion.

We normally think that the event horizon of a black hole is created by the force of gravity that arises from the mass of the black hole, but that is not quite correct. The event horizon of a black hole is an observer-dependent observation. The effects of the event horizon of a black hole only appear to an accelerating observer when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. It is only an accelerating observer in an accelerated frame of reference that observes the effects of the event horizon of the black hole. An observer in a freely falling frame of reference observes no effects of the event horizon. As far as the freely falling observer is concerned, there is no event horizon. Only the accelerating observer observes the effects of the event horizon.

In relativity theory, this distinction between the different effects that different observers observe in different accelerated frames of reference is called the principle of equivalence. This principle says there is no way to distinguish the effects of a force from the effects of an acceleration. The exertion of a force is always equivalent to an acceleration. Any force, like the force of gravity, is equivalent to an observer’s acceleration, like an observer in a rocket-ship that accelerates through space. This equivalence specifically applies to the effects observed by an accelerating observer. An accelerating observer observes the same effects as those caused by the exertion of a force. In no significant way can the force of gravity be distinguished from an observer’s acceleration. An accelerating observer observes the same effects of gravity as caused by the exertion of a force.

Principle of Equivalence

In terms of the event horizon of a black hole, the effects of the event horizon are only observed by an accelerating observer that remains in a stationary position outside the event horizon of the black hole. An observer that hovers in a stationary position just outside the event horizon of a black hole must accelerate away from the black hole with an equal but opposite acceleration as that caused by the force of gravity that pulls the observer into the black hole. It is as though the observer is in a rocket-ship that accelerates away from the black hole in order to maintain its stationary position. This acceleration defines the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Only the accelerating observer observes the effects of the event horizon of the black hole. A freely falling observer that falls into the black hole observes no effects of an event horizon.

The effects of the event horizon of a black hole are solely observer-dependent effects that arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Only the accelerating observer observes them. This is odd, since at the event horizon of the black hole, the observer’s space-time geometry appears to break down. For example, the effect of time dilation appears to become infinite at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. From the accelerating observer’s own point of view, it appears that for the things that fall into the black hole, it takes an infinite amount of time for those things to approach the event horizon, and they never really cross the horizon. From the accelerating observer’s own point of view, nothing ever actually crosses the event horizon as things appear to fall into the black hole. As observed by the accelerating observer, everything that falls into the black hole seems to get stuck at the event horizon since it takes an infinite amount of time for things to approach the event horizon. For the freely falling observer, there is no effect of time dilation or an event horizon. The things that fall into the black hole with the freely falling observer just fall into the black hole unimpeded by an event horizon.

This breakdown of an accelerating observer’s space-time geometry at the event horizon of a black hole has profound consequences when we try to quantize the gravitational field the same way we quantize any other quantum field theory. Like the effect of time dilation at the event horizon that tells us that time intervals between events become infinite at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer, the problem has to do with the measurement of distances. The bottom line is that there is a smallest possible distance scale that can be measured. This smallest possible distance scale is called the Planck length. The basic problem is that in quantum theory, the way we measure any distance scale is by scattering a quantum particle, like a photon of light, off of whatever object we are trying to measure. If we want to accurately measure the distance scale of that object, we have to use an appropriate amount of energy inherent in the photon of light. The energy of the photon is given in terms of its frequency as E=hf. This relation between energy and frequency is what defines the photon as a quantum particle or excitation of the electromagnetic field. The photon’s frequency is related to its wavelength in terms of the speed of light as f=c/λ, and so the photon’s energy is given in terms of its wavelength as E=hc/λ.

The way we measure the distance scale of an object is by matching the photon’s wavelength to the object’s distance scale. This means we have to use higher energy photons to measure smaller objects. For example, we can visualize a biological cell with an ordinary light microscope, but if we want to visualize a virus, we need to use an electron microscope. The wavelength of light generated by an electron microscope is in the range of x-rays, which is much smaller than the wavelength of visible light. Correspondingly, an x-ray photon carries much more energy than a visible light photon. The smaller the object we want to measure, the higher the energy and the smaller the wavelength of the photon we need to use to make that measurement.

The problem is that when we combine quantum theory with gravity, we discover that there is a smallest possible distance scale that we can measure. Since energy is equivalent to mass as E=Mc2, if we concentrate enough energy into a small enough distance scale or region of space, we create a black hole. Einstein’s theory of relativity tells us that this distance scale is defined by the radius of an event horizon given in terms of the mass of the black hole as R=2GM/c2. If this distance scale is set equal to the wavelength of a photon of energy E=hc/λ, where R≈ℓ≈λ and E is given in terms of the mass of a black hole, then the distance scale ℓ at which a black hole must form is approximately given as ℓ≈hG/ℓc3. The Planck length is defined by ℓ2=ħG/c3.

Planck Length

The Planck length is the smallest possible distance scale that can be measured. If we try to measure smaller distance scales, we concentrate so much energy into such a small region of space that we create a black hole. If we concentrate even more energy into an even smaller region of space, we only make the black hole bigger. The event horizon of a black hole is a limitation on our ability to measure things in space since nothing is observable beyond the limits of an event horizon as observed by an accelerating stationary observer outside the event horizon. In effect, just like infinite time dilation at the event horizon, the event horizon is a breakdown in the accelerating observer’s ability to measure its own space-time geometry. This breakdown in the accelerating observer’s ability to measure its own space-time geometry beyond the limits of the event horizon is reflected in a smallest possible measurable distance scale. The Planck length as the smallest possible distance scale that can be measured by an accelerating observer signifies this breakdown in the observer’s measurement of its own space-time geometry.

The logical inconsistency of all attempts to understand the gravitational field as a quantum field theory or to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces understood in terms of quantum field theory reflects this breakdown in an accelerating observer’s ability to measure its space-time geometry beyond the limits of an event horizon or to measure distance scales smaller than the Planck length. Due to this intrinsic limitation imposed on an accelerating observer by the effects of gravity in terms of measuring its own space-time geometry, it is not possible to understand the gravitational field as a quantum field theory. This means all attempts to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces understood in terms of quantum field theory are doomed to failure. The problem boils down to the very nature of space-time geometry. Quantum field theories are not consistent with gravity because they’re not consistent with the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. Quantum field theories can only be defined in gravity-free flat Minkowski space. On the other hand, the curvature of space-time geometry is not consistent with quantum field theory. Putting gravity and quantum theory together implies the breakdown of space-time geometry as reflected by the Planck length, which is the smallest possible measurable distance scale.

This state of affairs was an impasse that theoretical physics faced until John Wheeler and Jacob Bekenstein tried a new approach to solve the problem of unification. The new approach was to think of gravity in terms of thermodynamics. The bottom line was to think of the law of gravity not as a fundamental thing, but more like a thermodynamic equation of state, like the ideal gas law or the equation for sound waves. In other words, there was something more fundamental than the law of gravity, something more fundamental that underlies the law of gravity. Wheeler and Bekenstein had the idea that this more fundamental thing was a quantized bit of information.

The big question they had was about where or how the quantized bits of information that underlie the effects of gravity are encoded. The big clue they had was to consider the role played by the event horizon of a black hole. They imagined a photon of light falling into a black hole. They wanted to consider the simplest possible photon, a photon characterized by a single quantized bit of information. That quantized bit of information can be understood as the polarization state of the photon, which can be circularly polarized in either a clockwise or a counter-clockwise direction relative to the direction of motion of the photon. The circular polarization of the photon in either a right-handed or left-handed state represents the spin state of the photon, similar to a spin ½ particle that can only spin in either a spin up or spin down state. This spin state represents a single quantized bit of information encoded in a binary code.

In order to make the photon as simple as possible and to carry no other information other than its spin state, the wavelength of the photon was assumed to be the same size as the radius of an event horizon of a black hole. As this photon fell into the black hole, only a single quantized bit of information was added to the black hole. The question they wanted to answer was about the black hole’s entropy, which is the total number of quantized bits of information that characterize the black hole. They also wanted to know where those bits of information were encoded.

The radius of the event horizon is given in terms of the mass of the black hole as R=2GM/c2. The energy of the photon that falls into the black hole is given in terms of its wavelength as E=hc/λ. This photon has an equivalent mass of E=mc2. As this photon falls into the black hole, the mass of the black hole increases by ΔM=m. The entropy of the black hole is specified in terms of the number n of quantized bits of information that characterize the black hole. A photon that has a wavelength approximately equal to the radius of the event horizon R≈λ only carries a single quantized bit of information given in terms of its spin polarization state. As this photon falls into the black hole, the entropy of the black hole only increases by Δn=1. Let’s guess that the entropy n is proportional to the surface area of the event horizon, A=4πR2, as n=A/α. Then Δn=8πRΔR/α. With ΔR=2GΔM/c2=2G(h/cλ)/c2≈2hG/Rc3, this gives RΔR≈2hG/c3. We then find that the constant α is given by α≈16πhG/c3. Recall that the Planck area is defined as ℓ2=ħG/c3. This tells us that the total number of quantized bits of information that characterize the entropy of a black hole is defined in terms of the surface area of the event horizon of the black hole, and that at least in terms of an order of magnitude estimate, each Planck area defined on that surface acts like a pixel that encodes a single quantized bit of information. This result for the entropy of a black hole given in terms of surface area of its event horizon is called the holographic principle.

Holographic Principle

Bekenstein’s approximate order of magnitude calculation for the entropy of a black hole was where things stood until Stephen Hawking performed a more accurate calculation. The Hawking calculation utilized the laws of thermodynamics, which are not really laws of physics, but are a statistical relation between entropy, S, which is understood as quantized bits of information, thermal energy, E, which is understood in terms of the random motion or kinetic energy of the things that can reduced to quantized bits of information, and temperature, T, which is understood as an average value of that thermal energy. The big assumption of thermodynamics is that things are at thermal equilibrium, which means that thermal energy is randomized or thermalized as things move around in a random way. The laws of thermodynamics relate a change in total energy to temperature and a change in entropy as ΔE=TΔS. In terms of the holographic principle, the fundamental reason for this relation between energy and entropy is each quantized bit of information encoded on an observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen inherently carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT given in terms of what’s called the Unruh temperature. At thermal equilibrium, each quantized bit of information carries an equal amount of thermal energy. Each quantized bit of information is a fundamental dynamical degree of freedom for the observer’s holographic world. The equal partition of energy tells us that each dynamical degree of freedom, which is a quantized bit of information, carries an equal amount of energy E=kT at thermal equilibrium, which defines temperature. As more quantized bits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, more energy is inherent in that holographic world.

Hawking was able to make progress in the calculation because he was able to calculate the Unruh temperature of the event horizon of a black hole as observed by an accelerating observer outside the event horizon. The secret behind this calculation is that the thermal energy that flows through the observer’s holographic world arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. In effect, the observer’s acceleration is defining a frequency in the sense that E=hf. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. This thermal radiation is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerating observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerating observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes quantized bits of information for point particles that can appear in the observer’s world, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at an event horizon gives the event horizon an apparent temperature proportional to the observer’s acceleration.

Hawking Radiation

Hawking radiation is weird. The key thing to realize is that although it appears that virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are separating at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer and that thermal particles of Hawking radiation are radiated towards the observer, the fundamental quantized bits of information that define those particles of Hawking radiation are actually encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen.

Once Hawking calculated the value for the Unruh temperature of the event horizon, kT=ħa/2πc, he was then able to use the laws of thermodynamics, ΔE=TΔS, to calculate the entropy of the black hole. The total energy of the black hole is given in terms of its mass as E=Mc2. We’ll again guess that the entropy of the black hole is given in terms of its surface area, A=4πR2, as S=kn, where the total number of quantized bits of information encoded on the event horizon of the black hole is proportional to its surface area, n=A/α. We also need to know the radius of the event horizon in terms of its mass, R=2GM/c2, as specified by Einstein’s theory of relativity. Finally, we need to know the acceleration with which a stationary observer that just hovers outside the event horizon must accelerate in order to avoid falling into the black hole. This acceleration is given by the law of gravity as a=GM/R2. If we put all these terms together and do the calculation, we find that the constant α=4ℓ2, where the Planck area is ℓ2=ħG/c3.

Black Hole Entropy

The holographic principle is telling us that each Planck area defined on the observer’s event horizon is acting like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information. The particles of Hawking radiation that the accelerating observer perceives to be radiated away from the event horizon are reducible to quantized bits of information encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen. The essential lesson of the holographic principle is that particles that appear to exist in three dimensional space and appear to move through three dimensional space can always be reduced to quantized bits of information encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds that three dimensional region of space and acts as a holographic screen. That bounding surface of space can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer is observing events in its own holographic world as displayed on its own holographic screen. Those perceivable events can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which gives rise to the form of things, and the flow of energy that animates those forms. This flow of energy can be understood in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as the thermal energy that arises from the observer’s acceleration.

If all we had was Hawking’s calculation for the entropy of a black hole, the holographic principle would be a novel idea without much evidence to back it up. The situation rapidly changed when string theory was proposed to be a logically consistent theory of quantum gravity. String theory then morphed into M-theory, and from M-theory it became possible to deduce the AdS/CFT correspondence, which explicitly confirmed the holographic principle in a mathematically rigorous way. The AdS/CFT correspondence proves that it is possible to construct a holographic world in which all the fundamental quantized bits of information for that world are encoded on a holographic screen, which is a lower dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds a higher dimensional region of space. In the AdS/CFT correspondence, the quantized bits of information, which from here on will simply be called qubits, are encoded by a conformal field theory. In the case of the AdS/CFT correspondence, that conformal field theory is a super-symmetric SU(N) Yang-Mills field theory, similar to the field theories of the strong and weak nuclear forces.

There is no force of gravity on the lower dimensional bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen, only a conformal field theory. The force of gravity only appears to be active within the higher dimensional bounded region of space. This appearance of the force of gravity within the bounded region of space, just like the appearance of Hawking radiation in three dimensional space, in some sense is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. All the fundamental qubits of information that describe the effect of gravity in the bounded region of space are encoded on the bounding surface of space, just as all the qubits of information that describe the appearance of Hawking radiation in three dimensional space are encoded on the observer’s event horizon. The effect of gravity in the bounded region of space, just like the appearance of Hawking radiation in three dimensional space, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which can always be understood as a event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

It cannot be stressed strongly enough that a two dimensional bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. An accelerating observer’s event horizon limits its observations of things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light. Every accelerating observer’s observations of things in space are limited in space by an event horizon. The event horizon is as far out in space as the observer can see things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light. Nothing is observable to the accelerating observer beyond its event horizon. The observer’s event horizon naturally turns into a holographic screen when the screen encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own observable holographic world.

The easiest way to understand how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which turns the horizon into a holographic screen, is with non-commutative geometry, which explains how space-time geometry is quantized. String theory and M-theory can be understood as special cases of non-commutative geometry, as can fractal geometries. With non-commutative geometry, each quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon specified by a non-commuting variable is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information or qubit. In quantum gravity, the pixel size is called the Planck area. This gives the observer’s event horizon an entropy as S=kn, where n is the number of qubits encoded on the event horizon, which is proportional to the surface area A of the horizon as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is the Planck area. Each Planck area on the horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. Non-commutative geometry fundamentally explains how the qubits are encoded on a holographic screen in terms of quantizing position coordinates on the screen, which smears out each quantized position coordinate into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. In non-commutative geometry, quantized position coordinates are specified by non-commuting variables. The entropy of the observer’s event horizon is given in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the horizon. The smallest possible event horizon that can encode a single qubit of information is a Planck-sized event horizon. This fundamentally explains why the Planck length is the smallest possible measurable distance scale.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck-sized Event Horizon

Quantum entanglement is the natural result of the superposition of quantum states. In quantum field theory, virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are entangled. This implies the entropy of the observer’s event horizon is an entanglement entropy. This is consistent with the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry since all qubits of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are entangled. This is represented by the superposition of information states. A holographic world defined by the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen is fundamentally a world where everything is connected to everything else at the level of quantum entanglement. All the information for that holographic world is entangled. A holographic world is inherently holistically connected.

The idea of quantum entanglement is inherent in the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry. All the quantized bits of information or qubit encoded on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are inherently entangled, which is understood in terms of matrices. Quantum entanglement allows qubits to be defined in a rotationally invariant way. This is much like the way quantum theory defines spin ½ particles in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its two eigenvalues also define spin up and spin down states. These two spin states give a representation of information in a binary code, like a switch that is either on or off. The spin up and spin down states are like vectors that point up or down, but when these spin states are entangled, the vector can point in any direction, and so rotational symmetry is preserved. With the holographic principle, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric holographic screen can be defined by the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix.

What about the laws of physics? Where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle gives a straightforward and perfectly good answer, which both Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have explicitly delineated. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The matter particles that constitute the nature of all matter in that world and the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces between matter particles obey computational rules inherent in the quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics. The holographic appearance of that world in terms of both the space-time geometry of that world and the particle physics of that world is constructed out of qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. That holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer, but the computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry and the particle physics of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. The rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state that only give an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

To begin with, we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, from the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations are thermodynamic equations of state that arise from the laws of thermodynamics that relate energy to entropy and temperature, ΔE=TΔS. Ted Jacobson has shown how this derivation goes forward in terms of the area law for the entropy of the observer’s event horizon and the Unruh temperature of that event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its accelerated frame of reference. As heat flows across a bounding surface of space, the total energy of that bounded region of space must change, which implies a thermodynamic change in the entropy of that bounded region of space. The holographic principle then tells us the area of the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded region. Jacobson showed this change in the geometry of the bounded region is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. Once we have Einstein’s field equations, all quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics can then be deduced as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and super-symmetry. The final result of unification looks alot like 11-dimensional supergravity, which is understood as a low energy limit of M-theory. It therefore turns out that the whole quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity can be deduced from the holographic principle.

All we really need to explain the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which gives rise to an event horizon. Apply non-commutative geometry to that event horizon as a way to quantize position coordinates on the horizon, along with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, and we have an explanation for how to generate all the qubits of information that define everything in a holographic world. The form of everything in that world is reducible to qubits of information. Even the flow of energy that animates everything in that world can be understood in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon. Each quantized position coordinate defined by a non-commuting variable on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This encoding process not only includes information for all the elementary particles of that world that underlie the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, but also the space-time geometry of that world that underlies the effect of gravity. The only thing that seems to be fundamental to the explanation is the observer itself. The holographic principle is telling us that only the observer has its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

Any thermodynamic equation of state describing a physical system implies thermal equilibrium, which means the dynamical degrees of freedom of that system are thermalized or randomized in terms of their thermal energy. A thermodynamic equation of state is not valid when the system is not at thermal equilibrium. Since Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics, which is the nature of physical matter and the electromagnetic and nuclear physical forces, are only thermodynamic equations of state for the physical universe, these equations do not apply when the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium. As Roger Penrose has often pointed out, the physical universe is definitely not at thermal equilibrium, as is demonstrated by the normal flow of energy through the physical universe. If we are to have any hope of understanding the nature of the physical universe, we have to go beyond the simple understanding of the universe in terms of what we call the laws of physics inherent in Einstein’s field theory for gravity and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics. We have to start understanding the physical universe in terms of the holographic principle. We have to start understanding the perceivable physical world in terms of the observer of that world.

Normal Flow of Energy through the Observer’s Perceivable World

The physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium because space is expanding in the physical universe. The accelerated nature of the expansion of space, which is called dark energy, is the primordial energy that puts the bang in the big bang event. The idea of creation of the universe in a big bang is based on the idea of the expansion of space. As is well known, the expansion of space implies a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s cosmic horizon defines its own world whenever space expands since that is where all the fundamental qubits of information for that world are encoded. Inherent in the idea of the big bang is the idea the observer’s observable world increases in size as space expands. This implies the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius as the observer’s world increases in size. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, which explains the normal flow of heat in the observer’s world as heat flows from hotter to colder objects. This also explains the second law of thermodynamics which says entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, but its surface area increases, which implies the entropy of the observer’s world increases even as its world cools, since more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s cosmic horizon.

Creation of the Universe as the Expansion of Space

Conformal Symmetry and Holography

The holographic principle is telling us about a peculiar symmetry that’s inherent to the nature of gravity. This symmetry is called conformal symmetry, which is the symmetry of objects that appear self-similar when observed at different length scales. This kind of symmetry is seen in fractal geometries that appear self-similar at different scales. Conformal symmetry expresses invariance of the laws of physics as the space-time metric is transformed with a new length scale. The law of gravity as reflected by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric has no inherent length scale. This gives rise to the acceleration due to gravity generated by a massive body falling off as 1/R2 at a radial distance R from the massive body. The holographic principle was first discovered for black holes, which are defined by an event horizon of radius R. At the event horizon, the acceleration due to gravity is a=GM/R2, where M is the mass of the black hole and R is the radius of its event horizon. A stationary observer hovering outside the event horizon of a black hole must accelerate away from the black hole with an equal but opposite acceleration to maintain its stationary position. The Unruh temperature of the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer, kT=ħa/2πc, is proportional to the observer’s acceleration a=GM/R2. The entropy, S=kn=kA/4ℓ2, of the event horizon is proportional to its surface area A=4πR2.

It’s not a coincidence that the entropy of the event horizon behaves like R2 while the Unruh temperature behaves like 1/R2. The entropy of the event horizon is an area law that behaves like R2, while the Unruh temperature of the event horizon is an acceleration that behaves like 1/R2, and so these two factors cancel each other out in the thermodynamic relation between energy and entropy, ΔE=TΔS. We’re assuming three dimensional space where the surface area of a spherical event horizon is proportional to R2. There’s a simple physical explanation for why the acceleration due to gravity behaves like 1/R2. If we imagine the force of gravity is due to the exchange of a force particle called the graviton and that a mass acts like a point source of gravitons constantly emitted in all directions, then the total flux of gravitons that pass through a spherical surface of radius R must be constant, and so the force of gravity falls off as 1/R2. The force of gravity between two masses is proportional to the number of gravitons exchanged and falls off as 1/R2 since the total flux of gravitons passing through a spherical surface is constant.

The speed of light is also the speed that a graviton travels through space since the graviton is a massless particle, like the photon. The idea of the holographic principle is to encode qubits of information for gravitons on the surface of an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen. In order to keep the flux of gravitons through the surface constant, independent of the radius of the surface, the number of pixels on the surface, each of which encodes a qubit of information, must be proportional to the surface area. The holographic principle reflects the total flux of gravitons through a spherical surface is constant when the gravitons are emitted from a point source at the center of that surface, which implies the 1/R2 force law, and that each graviton can be reduced to a qubit of information encoded on the special surface of an event horizon, which implies the area law for entropy. Entropy is the total number, n=A/4ℓ2, of qubits encoded on the event horizon needed to characterize all the gravitons. The acceleration due to gravity enters into the Unruh temperature as a way to insure that the laws of thermodynamics are satisfied.

The constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their state of motion, is an essential aspect of a holographic universe. This is the basic reason an event horizon arises for an accelerating observer. When quantized bits of information, called qubits, are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which is the case for all versions of quantum gravity, like M-theory or non-commutative geometry, the horizon acts as a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world. The speed of light can be understood as the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in a computer. This fact is woven into Einstein’s theory of relativity in terms of understanding how the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the world is similar to a Euclidean geometry, where there is a generalized version of the Pythagorean theorem. Unlike a Euclidean geometry, this 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry can become curved, which explains the nature of gravity, but there is still a version of the Pythagorean theorem that allows for measurement of distance in the geometry. Gravity has no natural length scale with which to measure distance, which gives gravity or space-time geometry the property called conformal symmetry. When gravity is quantized, conformal symmetry always implies holography due to the encoding of qubits on a holographic screen. Basically, the 1/R2 force law for gravity implies holography whenever gravity waves are quantized into gravitons and each graviton is reduced to a qubit of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon that acts as its holographic screen.

The Schwarzschild metric, which is the solution to Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric for a spherically symmetric massive body, demonstrates this generalized version of the Pythagorean theorem for a curved space-time geometry. If the mass has collapsed into a black hole, then the Schwarzschild radius rs=2GM/c2 defines the event horizon of the black hole. This generalized version of the Pythagorean theorem is called proper-time. The basic idea of relativity theory is that proper-time is the only invariant measure of distance between two events in a curved space-time geometry that all observers will agree upon, independent of their relative states of motion.

Schwarzschild Metric

The Connection Between Gravity and Quantum Theory

The basic postulate of relativity theory is the principle of equivalence, in which the observer is understood as a point of view, which is the point of origin of a coordinate system that defines the observer’s frame of reference. That point of view always arises in relation to an event horizon whenever the observer is in accelerated motion or in an accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s accelerated point of view and its holographic screen, understood as an event horizon that encodes qubits of information, always arise together. Since the observer’s holographic screen encodes all the qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its holographic world, which includes the observer’s body and brain, the observer’s point of view can only be understood as a focal point of pure consciousness. There is no other logical explanation.

Einstein’s theory of relativity, where the force of gravity is understood to arise as the curvature of space-time geometry, is really only built on the constancy of the speed of light, which implies a space-time geometry with a Pythagorean theorem to measure distances, and the lack of a natural length scale, which implies the conformal symmetry of gravity. When gravity is quantized, these two facts imply holography. The only natural way to generate holography is with an accelerating observer, which is understood as a point of view or focal point of pure consciousness, and the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen that encodes all the qubits of information for all the observable things the observer can observe in its holographic world.

The measurement of distance along some path through a space-time geometry with utilization of a generalized Pythagorean theorem, even when that space-time geometry is curved, is called proper-time, which is fundamental to the formulation of relativity theory. It turns out there is a deep connection between relativity theory and the quantum theory of point particles in terms of measuring distance along some path through space-time geometry. The most general way to formulate quantum theory is in terms of a sum over all possible paths. The quantum state of potentiality allows for all possible outcomes, not just the classical outcome. The way quantum theory expresses this potentiality is in terms of a quantum state that can always be formulated as a sum over all possible paths in some information configuration space. Each path is weighted with a quantum probability factor that depends on a quantity called the action.

The deep connection of quantum theory to relativity theory is that particle action can always be formulated in terms of proper-time, which measures distance along some path in a curved space-time geometry. The quantum field theory formulation of particle physics utilizes this connection to relativity theory, but can only be formulated in flat space-time geometry, which is called Minkowski space. By its very nature, all of particle physics as formulated by quantum field theory must assume that space-time geometry is flat, but then there is no force of gravity since gravity is nothing more than the curvature of space-time geometry. The basic problem with trying to quantize gravity the same way particle physics is quantized with quantum field theory is that the quantum particle of that field theory must follow a path through a space-time geometry. For quantum gravity, that particle would be called the graviton. Quantizing gravity in this way would mean the graviton would follow a path through space-time geometry, but in the sense of quantum field theory, that is only possible if space-time geometry is flat. The problem is the graviton as the quantum particle of the field theory is supposed to give a representation of the curvature of space-time geometry, which is the nature of gravity, but the graviton itself has to follow a path through space-time geometry. There is a deep contradiction in this way of formulating how gravity is quantized. The only solution that has been found for how to resolve this logical contradiction is the holographic principle. Only the holographic principle allows for a logically consistent formulation of quantum gravity, but the price we have to pay for this logical consistency is a new way of understanding the nature of consciousness.

The basic postulate of quantum theory is inherent in the way the quantum wavefunction is assumed to evolve in time. This time dependence of the quantum wavefunction is called unitary time evolution. The total energy of the quantum system is represented by a quantum operator called the Hamiltonian, and the unitary time evolution of the quantum system is expressed in terms of this Hamiltonian operator operating on the quantum wavefunction.

Unitary Time Evolution of the Quantum State

The unitary time evolution operator U(t)=exp(−iHt/ħ) conserves quantum probability, which is explicitly demonstrated by the unitary nature of the exponential function U(t)U(−t)=1.

The Hamiltonian operator formulation of quantum theory is equivalent to the action principle formulation of quantum theory. The Hamiltonian represents the total energy of a quantum system in terms of both kinetic and potential energy, E=KE+PE, while the action represents the time averaged difference of kinetic and potential energy, S=∫dt(KE−PE). It’s fairly easy to demonstrate that the unitary time evolution of the quantum state, represented by the unitary time evolution operator U(t)=exp(−iHt/ħ) acting on the quantum state, is equivalent to a sum over all possible paths in a configuration space, where each path is weighted with a quantum probability factor P=exp(iS/ħ). The configuration space represents all possible configurations of the quantum system. For example, for a point particle that moves through space, the sum is over all possible trajectories of the point particle through space. At its root, the quantum probability factor P is the essence of the quantum wavefunction. The sum over all possible paths formulation of quantum theory is equivalent to the quantum wave equation formation of quantum theory.

Quantum State as the Sum over all Possible Paths

The most general way to formulate quantum theory is in terms of a sum over all possible paths in some configuration space. The quantum state of potentiality allows for all possible outcomes, not just the classical outcome. The way quantum theory expresses this potentiality is in terms of a quantum state that can always be formulated as a sum over all possible paths that connect a point of initial conditions to a point of final conditions in some information configuration space.

The laws of physics only enter into the quantum state as an action principle, which determines quantum probability. Quantum probability is determined by the quantum wavefunction, which in turn is determined by an action principle. All the laws of physics can be expressed as an action principle. Action is like a measure of distance along some path between two points in some information configuration space. Particle action, S=∫dt(KE−PE), can always be formulated in terms of a proper-time interval, 𝝉=∫d𝝉 between an initial and a final measured event. Quantum probability depends on action as P=exp(iS/ħ). The most likely outcome in terms of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the shortest possible distance between those two points in the information configuration space. That’s why events seem to obey classical laws of physics, but there is an important caveat. The path of least action only arises from the quantum state as the most likely path in the sense of quantum probability if things are chosen from the quantum state of potentiality in an unbiased or random way. If there is bias in the way choices are made, the laws of physics lose their classical predictability. In terms of Einstein’s metaphor of throwing dice, if the dice are loaded, the game is rigged and all bets are off.

This choice that chooses something from the quantum state of potentiality is called the collapse of the wavefunction or a quantum state reduction. Quantum theory tells us every measurement of something is a choice in the sense of collapsing the quantum wavefunction or reducing the quantum state. The quantum state of potentiality includes all possible outcomes. To actually measure some specific outcome, a choice must be made. Quantum theory says the choices are made randomly, but why can’t choices be made in a biased way? Who would make that choice? The obvious answer is that the observer of the actual outcome of the measurement is making that choice. In the sense of perceiving consciousness, the observer is choosing what to observe in its own observable world. That world only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until it is observed by the observer and appears to come into an actual state of existence. This raises an even bigger question. What is the true nature of the observer?

In the sense of relativity theory, the observer is nothing more than a point of view at the origin of its own coordinate system. That’s what a frame of reference means in relativity theory. From the point of view of other observers, the observer is following a world-line through their space-time geometry, but from the observer’s own point of view, the observer is at the center of its own space-time geometry. Quantum theory is telling us with the concept that the measurement of something can only arise as the quantum state of potentiality is reduced to an actual observable state that every point on the observer’s world-line is a decision point about what to observe in its world and which path to follow through that world. Only the observer can make that choice. The big question is about the true nature of the observer’s consciousness in relation to whatever the observer happens to observe in its world. This question explodes when that observable world is understood to be a holographic world. A holographic world is no more real than images depicted on a holographic screen. The images can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Who is really observing those images? Can an image observe itself? The holographic principle gives the only logically possible answer. The observer is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to its own holographic screen.

The Measurement Problem of Quantum Theory

It appears that the unitary nature of the time evolution of a quantum system demonstrates time translational invariance of the laws of physics, but that is not quite correct. The unitary aspect of quantum theory in the sense of the wave equation for the quantum wavefunction demonstrates time translational invariance, but the measurement aspect of quantum theory does not. Measurement in the sense of a quantum state reduction or collapse of the wavefunction breaks time translation invariance. To actually measure the quantum state of any quantum system, we have to interpose the processes of unitary evolution U with quantum state reduction R in the time evolution of the quantum state of that physical system. The physical universe is understood as a physical system, and so this analysis applies to the physical world. The process U respects time translation invariance, but the process R does not. The process of measurement or observation in the sense of the collapse of the wavefunction is not a time translation invariant process. In effect, a measurement resets the initial conditions for the unitary time evolution of the quantum system. Every measurement resets the initial conditions. That’s exactly what a quantum state reduction does. Unitary time evolution of the quantum state only applies between some measured initial conditions of the quantum system and some measured final conditions of the quantum system. Once the initial conditions of the system are reset by a measurement of the system, time translational invariance in the sense of the unitary time evolution of the system is broken.

U versus R

The reason this is so important is because this is what we are constantly doing as we observe the world. Every observation of the world is a measurement of the world, and by its very nature, every observation must break time translation invariance. We are constantly resetting the initial conditions of the world as we make observations of the world. Unitary time evolution of the world, as represented by the unitary time evolution process U, only applies between our observations of the world, as represented by the quantum state reduction process R.

Unitary Evolution U as Preconscious Processing and Measurement R as Conscious Experience

By its very nature, an observation or measurement of the world implies an observer is making that observation, but who exactly is the observer? Quantum theory has no answer for the true nature of the observer. Physicists want to sweep this problem under the rug and ignore it because they really have nothing to say about the nature of the observer. The whole enterprise of physics is really only about describing what is observable and not about what is making the observation.

The measurement problem of quantum theory remains unsolved because of the unwillingness of physicists to address this issue about the true nature of the observer. In her recent book, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, Amanda Gefter interviewed many of the best theoretical physicists in the world that work in the area of quantum gravity and tried to make sense of the recent developments that led to the discovery of the holographic principle as a way to make sense of the true nature of the observer. At the end of her book she finally brings the holographic principle together with Carlo Rovelli’s relational interpretation of quantum theory and comes to the conclusion that every observer must observe its own holographic world defined by its own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information are encoded for the observer’s own holographic world. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, and so that holographic screen is inherently observer-dependent. The idea of a consensual reality shared among different observers can only arise in the sense of a Venn diagram of information sharing among different but overlapping holographic screens. This problem of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens is the essence of the entanglement problem of quantum gravity, as Tom Banks has repeatedly pointed out.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality Shared by Multiple Observers due to Information Sharing Among their Holographic Screens

This way of understanding observation in terms of every observer observing its own holographic world leads to a more natural solution of the measurement problem, since it eliminates paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. Multiple observers simply cannot exist inside the same observable world without creating logically inconsistent paradoxes. Every observer observes its own observable holographic world. Different observers can only share a consensual reality due to information sharing among different but overlapping holographic worlds. As Gefter struggled to understand in her book, this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. These are fundamental questions about the true nature of observing consciousness.

Quantum theory in the context of the holographic principle is telling us that the observable physical world can only appear to come into existence in relation to the observations of the observer that observes that holographic world. Every observer must observe its own holographic world for that world to appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe its own holographic world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. That unobserved state of potentiality is the nature of the quantum state. For the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world to come into an observed state of actuality, the observer must make an observation of that world. The unitary time evolution of the world, represented by the process U, only applies to the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world. Measurement or observation of the world, represented by the quantum state reduction process R, only applies to the observer’s observation of its own holographic world, which reduces the state of potentiality of the observer’s world to an observed state of actuality of that world. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that the observer’s world only appears to come into an actual state of existence when the observer observes that world. Without the observer’s observation of its own world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Simply put, an observable world cannot appear to actually exist unless an observer observes it, but this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. What is the true nature of the observer’s own existence?

This fundamental relation of an observer observing its own observable world essentially defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The holographic principle tells us that the objective nature of all things the observer can observe in its own observable world are forms of information that can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen, which can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is telling us that in some sense the objective nature of all things the observer observes is a holographic illusion, since all observable things can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observable things include the nature of all elementary particles that appear in space, including all the matter particles and all the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The observable things also include the dynamical nature of space-time geometry, which is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity. With the holographic principle, all of this observable stuff can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, but that’s not the end of it.

Everything observable in the observer’s holographic world, including the observer’s own body and brain, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. The true subjective nature of the observer cannot be its body or brain, since these are only forms of information that appear in the observer’s own holographic world. At most, the observer’s own body and brain can only transmit or process information about the nature of that holographic world. A form of information is something observable, and cannot observe itself without creating a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. As quantum theory tells us, an observable object, which is a form of information, can only arise in a subject-object relation as the observer observes that observable thing. If the observer’s own body and brain is not the true nature of the observer observing its own observable world, then what is the true subjective nature of the observer? This is fundamentally a question about the true subjective nature of observing consciousness, which by simple deductive logical reasoning, cannot itself be reduced to an observable thing. A body and brain that appears inside an observable holographic world cannot be the true subjective nature of the observer of that holographic world.

Until we confront the true subjective nature of the observer, we will never be able to make any real progress in terms of understanding the objective nature of the physical reality that we observe. The problem with modern physics and the lack of an adequate resolution of the measurement problem of quantum theory is that we are not confronting the true subjective nature of the observer. Is there something that we don’t want to know? What exactly is it that we don’t want to know? These are fundamental questions like: Who is the observer? Who is the knower? What is the true subjective nature of observing consciousness? Who am I?

The holographic principle is fundamentally an observer-centric description of observable reality. The observable reality of the world we perceive is not only perceived in an observer-centric way, but also in an observer-dependent way. The holographic principle is telling us that the observer is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world.

What’s Wrong with the Physicalism Paradigm?

Most physicists buy into the physicalism paradigm that assumes that physical reality is the only reality. Once you buy into this paradigm and assume that multiple observers of physical reality exist in physical reality, then you’re forced to also assume that multiple observers exist within the same observable physical world. The problem with assuming that multiple observers exist in the same observable world are the paradoxes of quantum theory made apparent by the Schrodinger cat paradox or the Wigner friend paradox. Physicists would like to assume that they are each an independent observer that can independently make measurements in the same observable world, but that is the false assumption that leads to all the paradoxes of quantum theory. Each physicist falsely assumes they can each independently observe the same observable world. The problem is quantum theory tells us that whatever the thing is that is being measured in any experiment only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until the measurement or observation of that thing occurs. Quantum theory tells us the quantum state of the measuring apparatus is entangled with the thing being measured, and so the total system of the thing being measured and measuring apparatus also only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until the measurement occurs. All the atoms and molecules inside the body and the brain of the physicist that performs the experiment are also entangled with the thing being measured and the measuring apparatus, and so the total system of the thing being measured, the measuring apparatus, and the body and the brain of the experimentalist performing the experiment are all entangled, which means the quantum state of all this stuff only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until the measurement occurs. Who is actually making the observation? Who is the observer?

The old conventional paradigm of modern physics can never answer this question. There is no place for an observer in this paradigm, which is why most scientists who work in neuroscience and artificial intelligence want to convince us that consciousness is an illusion. These scientists are all physicalists who believe in the physicalism paradigm that only the observable physical world has its own inherent physical reality. They do not acknowledge any other reality. The problem of the physicalism paradigm is that there is no place for the consciousness of the observer in physical reality, and so they deny the existence of consciousness. As far as they’re concerned, the observer doesn’t really exist because consciousness doesn’t really exist. This is the inevitable conclusion they have to come to when they falsely assume that only an observable physical world really exists, and that multiple observers appearing to exist within that world is only an illusion. In order to continue to believe in their physicalism paradigm, they have to come to the conclusion that the apparent existence of conscious observers is an illusion. In one sense, they are right. Conscious observers do not really exist inside an observable physical world.

This conclusion that consciousness is an illusion is very odd since each of us as the observer of our own world knows that we exist as the observer of that world. Each of us is aware of our own existence in terms of our own observing consciousness. In the sense of solipsism, the only thing that we can know with absolute certainty is that we exist, and we know that because each of us has the sense of our own existence as we observe our own observable world. Each of us has the sense of being present for our own observable world, and that sense of being present, often called I Am, verifies our own existence as the observer of that world. At the most fundamental level possible, it is the existence of our own consciousness that we are each aware of with our own sense of being present to observe our own observable world, and yet all the scientists that buy into the logically inconsistent physicalism paradigm want to convince us that the apparent existence of our consciousness is an illusion. They are so emotionally invested in the physicalism paradigm that has no place for the existence of consciousness that they would rather deny the existence of consciousness than abandon this old discredited paradigm.

The irony is that modern physics is pointing to a new paradigm that resolves all the paradoxes and logical inconsistencies of the old physicalism paradigm. In the last 25 years, modern physics has discovered the holographic principle of quantum gravity, which resolves all the paradoxes. Quantum gravity with its holographic principle implies a new paradigm, which can be called the one-world-per-observer paradigm, that totally resolves all paradoxes and inconsistencies. This tells us that the consciousness of the observer does indeed exist, but that consciousness isn’t really in the observable physical world that the observer observes. The consciousness of the observer is only a presence of consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world. This paradigm turns the nature of illusion totally around. The consciousness of the observer isn’t the illusion that the physicalists would like us to falsely believe. The observable physical world is the holographic illusion.

The holographic principle fundamentally says that everything the observer can observe in its own observable holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. To return for a moment to the measurement paradox inherent in quantum theory with the old conventional physicalism paradigm, the body and the brain of the experimentalist that performs the experiment can also be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. This is the new paradigm we have to accept with the holographic principle. Everything observable in a holographic world is reducible to information and energy, but the consciousness of the observer observing that world is not. Consciousness has its own independent existence. The holographic principle tells us that the true nature of existence is precisely the other way around from what the old physicalism paradigm told us. The apparent existence of a holographic world that is reducible to information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy animating that world is dependent on the existence of the observer’s consciousness that has its own independent existence.

The fundamental nature of the universe is quantized bits of information, called qubits, which are encoded on a holographic screen. That’s what makes the universe a holographic universe. The holographic screen in turn is an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observation of things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their individual state of motion. The observer’s event horizon is as far out in space as the observer can observe things in space. Every observer in an accelerated frame of reference has an event horizon that limits the observer’s observation of things in space.

The holographic principle says that every accelerating observer has its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information for everything observable in the observer’s world are encoded. Things don’t really exist in three dimensional space. Everything observable in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that arises as a holographic form of information for that thing is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen, which is a two dimensional bounding surface of space, to the observer’s central point of view in space, which always arises in relation to that holographic screen. The observation of things appearing in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. This even applies to elementary particles, like photons and electrons. All the fundamental qubits of information for an elementary particle are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s observation of an elementary particle, like anything else it can observe in its holographic world, is only the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. Everything observable arises through holographic projection.

The holographic principle gives a perfectly good explanation for how the observer’s world is created in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Everything the observer can observe in its world arises through holographic projection, as a form of information is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in its own accelerated frame of reference. That event horizon acts as a holographic screen in the sense of encoding qubits of information, which are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of its holographic world. Everything perceivable in its holographic world is a form of information constructed out of qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Even the flow of energy that animates those forms of information is inherent in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference in the sense of thermodynamics and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon.

Everything perceivable arises through holographic projection. Even the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the world arises through holographic projection. Just like all other perceivable things, space-time geometry can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and the perception of space-time geometry is no more real than forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The space-time geometry the observer observes in its world has no independent existence. If the observer doesn’t observe it, that space-time geometry doesn’t really exist. Everything the observer observes in its world, including the space-time geometry of that world, is dependent on the observer’s observation of it before it can appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe it, it does not exist, except in the sense of an unobserved state of potentiality. That’s what quantum theory tells us. The observation of space-time geometry, just like anything else the observer can observe, is only an illusion of existence in the sense of holographic projection.

Most physicists cannot accept this state of affairs since space-time geometry, like everything else that can be perceived in the world, appears to obey computational rules. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey the computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. How can something that’s not really real and doesn’t really exist obey computational rules? The simple answer is, that’s the inherent nature of a holographic world. The holographic appearance of that world is constructed out of the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer. The computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. These rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state and are only an approximation with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics, which only gives an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world.

When the observer observes a particle located at some position in space and the motion of that particle through space over the course of time, the observer is really only observing a form of information projected like an image from its own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections, just like the animation of the projected images of a movie from a computer screen to an observer. The reason we can say this with confidence is because all of particle physics can be formulated in terms of quantum field theory, and we can deduce all of quantum field theory from the holographic principle.

Prior to Consciousness

Only the observer itself can have its own independent existence, but we’d like to go further and understand the true nature of that existence. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness that’s present at the center of its own holographic world, but where does that presence of consciousness come from? This is where the void comes into the story. The void is the true nature of potentiality. The void can also be called the ultimate nature of existence or the ground of being, which is the potentiality for things to come into existence. As the ground of being, the void is the ultimate nature of reality. In-and-of-itself, the void only exists in the sense of absolute nothingness, but that nothingness is the potentiality for things to come into existence. The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world. The void is the ultimate nature of reality, and the holographic world it creates is a lesser form of reality, like a virtual reality. That virtual reality comes into existence because of the creation of the information and energy that underlies all observable things. These things not only include what physicists call elementary particles, but also the space-time geometry those observable things appear to exist within. Even the space-time geometry of a holographic world is observable, and in some sense is just another observable thing that can be reduced to information and energy. The space-time geometry of a holographic world is reducible to the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world just like everything else observable in that holographic world.

The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates information is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon that then turns into its holographic screen.

The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world, but where does the consciousness of the observer come from? The simplest answer is the consciousness of the observer also comes from the void. The void is the potentiality to give rise to the consciousness of the observer. The void is also consciousness, but it is a more fundamental kind of consciousness than the observer’s consciousness. The consciousness of the observer is an individual or divided kind of consciousness, while the void is undivided consciousness. The void is the potentiality for the observer’s consciousness to come into existence in the sense that the individual consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void before the observer’s holographic world can appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The observation of that world is always limited by an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The consciousness of the observer is not only divided, but it is also limited, while the consciousness of the void is unlimited and undivided. Only the observer’s consciousness can observe things in its own holographic world. Each such observation of something by the observer is the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The consciousness of the void observes nothing because it has no holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is always a limitation of consciousness that can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as an observation limiting event horizon. Only an observer can observe things in its own holographic world. This only becomes possible when the divided consciousness of the observer is limited by a holographic screen. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void observes nothing, and yet the void is the potentiality to create a holographic world and give rise to the consciousness of the observer that observes that holographic world from the central point of view of that world. This creation process can only appear to happen within the void if the consciousness of the observer is divided from the undivided consciousness of the void and that point of consciousness then enters into an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to the limitation of a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world.

The key concept of the one-world-per-observer paradigm inherent in the holographic principle is that the observer’s holographic world can only be created within the void through the construction of a holographic screen as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, but before that creation can occur, the consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void. The only reason the observer is unaware of the void is because the observer’s attention is totally focused on itself and its world. The process of the observer shifting the focus of its attention away from itself and its world, and back onto its source, is called awakening, as in awakening from a dream.

This relationship of the void to the observer is like the relationship of a dreamer to its dream. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void, which observes nothing, is the source of the limited and divided consciousness of the observer that observes its own holographic world. That holographic world is the dream, and the void is the dreamer. The consciousness of the observer is a divided fragment of the undivided consciousness of the void. The fragmented consciousness of the observer must be separated from the unfragmented consciousness of the void for that holographic world to appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The fragmented consciousness of the observer is always connected to its source in that this state of separation can come to an end at any moment and the divided consciousness of the observer can return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of the void.

Atman-Brahman

This state of reunion can be understood as an ultimate state of free fall in which the observer’s holographic world disappears from existence. The observer has no holographic screen in an ultimate state of free fall since it has no event horizon that limits its observations. Ironically, when there is no limitation of consciousness, there is also nothing to observe, and there is no separation. The void is this unlimited and undivided primordial state of consciousness, which is a state of pure potentiality. When that potentiality is expressed, an observable holographic world appears to come into existence and the consciousness of the observer becomes divided from the undivided consciousness of the void so that the observer can observe its own world. When that potentiality is not expressed, only the unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void exists. In that ultimate state of existence, nothing is observed. The void is that absolute nothingness, which in the sense of potentiality, is the true nature of what I am, you are, and everything is.

How is the observer’s ultimate state of free fall even possible? The answer is the observer must be present to observe its own observable holographic world. Being present for its world means the observer must focus its attention on that world. If the observer withdraws its attention away from that world and is not present to observe that world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Both the form of all things in that world and the flow of energy through that world remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. Without the expression of that energy, the observer no longer is in an accelerated frame of reference, but instead enters into an ultimate state of free fall. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer no longer observes a holographic world. The observer’s holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. In the language of nonduality, this ultimate state of free fall is described as falling into the void. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer’s individual existence, which is its own divided sense of being present or I-Am-ness, dissolves back into the undivided being of the void like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. This oceanic experience is the nature of the observer realizing the truth of what it really is, which is the truth of its own being.

What about mathematical truth? Mathematical truth is inherent in the potentiality of the void to create geometry. As mathematicians have long known, all mathematical truths are geometrical in nature. Great mathematicians have been Platonists in the sense they know they only discover the mathematical truths inherent in the potentiality to create geometry. Geometrical mathematical truth is what underlies the geometric creation of the holographic illusion of a holographic world.

What modern physics has discovered is that the only way this creation process can go forward so that we end up with a physical universe that is governed by the laws of physics, including Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the law of gravity, and the usual quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics, which include the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, is along the lines of the holographic principle. What is not usually recognized about the holographic principle is that inherent in this principle is both the concept of information and the concept of the flow of energy. All perceivable things are forms of information that arise from the quantized bits of information or qubits encoded on a holographic screen, which is fundamentally understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The flow of energy inherent in the energy of motion of these forms of information is also inherent in the energy of that accelerated frame of reference.

Thermodynamics connects the information encoded on a holographic screen to the flow of energy that gives forms of information their energy of motion. This is best understood in Ted Jacobson’s derivation of Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric from the holographic principle and thermodynamics. The holographic principle is formulated in terms of the area law that says the number of qubits encoded on a holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, is proportional to the surface area of that event horizon. The thermodynamic energy of that event horizon is understood in terms of the Unruh temperature, which is the temperature of thermal radiation the observer observes as emitted from the event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The Unruh temperature is proportional to the observer’s acceleration. Using these two simple relationships and the purely statistical laws of thermodynamics, Jacobson was then able to derive Einstein’s field equations. If the ideas of supersymmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space are applied to Einstein’s field equations, we then end up with something that looks alot like 11-dimensional supergravity, which is a low energy limit of M-theory, and we know that M-theory is a holographic theory. M-theory, like string theory, can be understood in terms of non-commutative geometry, which gives a natural explanation for how space-time geometry is quantized. Even fractal geometries can be understood in terms of non-commutative geometry. Fractal geometries express conformal symmetry, which is basically the idea of self-similarity at all distance scales. A fractal looks the same at all distance scales. String theory is a conformal field theory, and expresses conformal symmetry. Conformal symmetry is inherently a symmetry of objects appearing self-similar at different length scales, which is an inherent aspect of a holographic world. This tells us that fundamentally, the creation of the perceivable physical universe from the void is a holographic creation, and that the observer that perceives that physical universe must also be a part of that holographic creation.

This way of understanding the holographic principle has no logical inconsistencies or paradoxes. It is completely consistent with everything we know about modern physics, and is really the only way modern physics can be understood in a logically consistent way. The other great advantage of this way of understanding the holographic principle is that it’s totally consistent with what enlightened beings like Nisargadatta Maharaj tell us about the true nature of reality. Enlightened beings have directly experienced the true nature of reality. They have returned to the ultimate state of existence and come back to the world to tell us what is real and what is illusion.

Take the Red Pill

Anyone who has read this article to its logical conclusion is at least open to the possibility that physicalism is a false paradigm. The question everyone has to ask themselves is why is there so much emotional resistance to this possibility? The resistance against rejecting physicalism as a false paradigm about the nature of the world is not based on logical reasoning, but solely on emotional reactions against this possibility. Where does this emotional resistance come from?

The answer is the ego. The ego or personal self-concept is entirely an emotional creation, as is well accepted in both psychology and neuroscience. The ego is mentally constructed as a personal body-based self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing. The personal self-concept is a mentally constructed self-image, while the concept of the other thing is a mentally constructed image of the other thing. These mentally constructed images must be emotionally related for the ego to appear to come into existence. The ego can only appear to come into existence, since these mentally constructed images can only be constructed out of what can be perceived in the world. The question the ego can never answer is about the true nature of the perceiver. What is the true nature of perceiving consciousness that perceives these images?

At a more fundamental level than the mental-emotional construction of the ego, the experience of self and other can only arise in a subject-object relation as an observer observes some observable thing in its own observable world. The holographic principle is telling us that the true subjective nature of the observer is a focal point of perceiving consciousness at the center of the observer’s own holographic world, and that the objective nature of all things in that world are only forms of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which only arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Those observable things include the observer’s body and all the mental images constructed in the observer’s mind. A body-based, emotionally energized, mentally constructed personal self-concept cannot be the true nature of the observer since that self-concept is only another form of information the observer perceives.

There can only be an illusion that the observer is a personal self-concept when the observer feels emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body. That emotional  feeling of self-limitation is the only thing that can create the illusion that the observer is a person in the world that it perceives. In reality, the observer has its own independent existence as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world. That is the only logically consistent way to interpret the holographic principle.

The holographic principle is a hammer. All that’s being done in this article is to hammer away at the logical inconsistencies inherent in the conventional physicalist way science is understood. This strategy hammers away at the logical inconsistencies inherent within science when science is understood in the context of a personal self-concept that is assumed to understand science. This of course is logically impossible, since a personal self-concept must itself arise from the logical structure of science to be a scientific thing. The critical thing to realize is that scientific things are all observable things. The holographic principle is telling us that the Self in the sense of the observer of the observable things is not itself an observable thing. The Self can only be a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world, which is not an observable thing. Only the Self can have its own independent existence, called I Am, independent of all the observable things the Self observes in its own observable world. The Self is aware of its own independent existence with its own sense of being present to observe that observable world.

The observable things are all a part of the holographic world the Self is observing, including the person in that world the Self mistakenly takes itself to be by emotionally identifying itself with the emotionally animated form of a person. To assume that a person is an observing Self is a logical contradiction. That is the logical contradiction in science that’s being hammered away at. What is surprising is that more people in science can’t see that logical contradiction and don’t use the holographic principle to hammer away at it. This really shouldn’t be surprising since the ego will believe any logical contradiction it has to believe to defend its own survival and apparent existence. Who wants to realize their apparent existence as a person in the world they perceive, which is their personal self-concept, is only a holographic illusion? The answer is nobody.

People in science who search for a Theory of Everything are searching for an answer that has already been discovered. The answer is inherent in the logical implications of the holographic principle. The holographic principle as demonstrated by the AdS/CFT correspondence deduced from M-theory or in matrix models that utilize the geometric mechanism of non-commutative geometry gives a perfectly good scientific answer to the questions scientists are asking. The problem is that scientists ignore the answer because they don’t like the answer even though the answer is the only logical possibility. All the other answers they seem to prefer and look for are logically impossible. If they really were good detectives like Sherlock Holmes, they would reject the logically impossible answers and accept the only logically possible answer. When you’ve ruled out everything that’s impossible, whatever remains, no matter how implausible it seems, must be the truth. The true answer only seems implausible to them because they don’t like the answer, not because the answer is untrue. The answers they prefer and find more plausible are the logically impossible answers. If they really carried the logical implications of the holographic principle to its logical conclusion, they would discover what in Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta is called nonduality.

The concept of nonduality is all about the Source of the observable physical world and the Source of the observing consciousness that perceives that observable physical world. This is the part of the answer they’re ignoring. They’re ignoring the Source. If they were really serious about discovering a true conceptual answer, they would consider the Source. Ironically, no conceptual answer can ever really describe the nature of the Source since the Source is non-conceptual in nature. That’s why in Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta no value is given to any possible conceptual answer, but only to the direct experience of the Source. One has to go beyond conceptual answers to have that direct experience. Of course, if they really did that, there would be no purpose in their search for a scientific answer. They’re trying to answer a question that really can’t be answered, at least not at a conceptual or scientific level.

People in science who continue to believe in the physicalism paradigm have taken the blue pill. They’re unwilling to confront the unpleasant truth about the nature of their own life. They remain in a blissful state of ignorance and believe whatever they want to believe. They take the blue pill because they can’t give up or let go of their emotionally created beliefs. They’re emotionally attached to their beliefs. The core belief they can’t give up is their belief that they are a physical person in the physical world they perceive. The only thing that props up this false belief is the emotional energy inherent in the mental construction of this belief, which makes it feel real.

There is No Spoon

To take the red pill is to go beyond beliefs. To go beyond beliefs is to go beyond the expression of emotions that create all beliefs. That emotional energy is what animates the life of a physical person in the physical world one perceives and makes that life feel real. The core belief that one has to give up in order to go beyond belief is the false belief that one is a physical person in the physical world one perceives. To awaken to the truth of what one really is, one has to become willing to believe nothing. One can only realize the truth without belief because No belief is true. Believing nothing is a necessary step in the process of doing nothing and becoming nothing, which eventually leads to knowing nothing. One eventually knows the non-conceptual absolute nothingness that is the truth of one’s own existence, which is the truth of what one really is.

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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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An Open Letter to Brian Greene

Dear Brian

In your recent discussions of quantum theory on your World Science Festival broadcasts, you remarked that quantum theory demonstrates the time translation invariance of the laws of physics, but that is not correct. The unitary aspect of quantum theory in the sense of the wave equation for the quantum wavefunction demonstrates time translation invariance, but the measurement aspect of quantum theory does not. Measurement in the sense of a quantum state reduction or collapse of the wavefunction breaks time translation invariance. This is nicely demonstrated in figure 22.1 on page 529 of Roger Penrose’s book The Road to Reality, where he interposes the processes of unitary evolution U with quantum state reduction R in the time evolution of the quantum state of a physical system. The physical universe of course is understood as a physical system, and so this analysis applies to the physical world. The process U respects time translation invariance, but the process R does not. The process of measurement or observation in the sense of the collapse of the quantum wavefunction is not a time translation invariant process. In effect, a measurement resets the initial conditions for the unitary time evolution of the quantum state. Every measurement resets the initial conditions. That’s exactly what a quantum state reduction does. Once the initial conditions of the system are reset by a measurement of the system, time translation invariance in the sense of the unitary time evolution of the system is broken.

The reason this is so important is because this is what we are constantly doing as we observe the world. Every observation we make of the world is a measurement of the world, and by its very nature, every observation must break time translation invariance. We are constantly resetting the initial conditions of the world as we make observations of the world. Unitary time evolution of the world, as represented by the process U, only applies between our observations or measurements of the world, as represented by the process R.

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U versus R

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Unitary Evolution U as Pre-conscious Processing and Measurement R as Conscious Experience

The measurement problem is the most important and pressing problem we have in terms of understanding what modern physics is telling us about the nature of the physical universe. Until we get the measurement problem resolved in a satisfactory way, we will never be able to make any real progress in terms of an ultimate understanding of physical reality. We need to understand this connection between our observations of the world and the physical reality of the world, which inherently is an observable reality. At the most fundamental level possible, this is the connection between our own observing consciousness and the physical reality of the world that we observe. This question is all about the true nature of the observer.

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Universal Observer

There are two hints in the mathematical structure of modern theoretical physics that allow us to move forward. The first is the second law of thermodynamics, which basically says the arrow of time is directed in terms of increasing entropy, which is the same as heat flowing from hotter to colder objects. The second hint is the holographic principle of quantum gravity, which ties into the second law as it explains where all the fundamental qubits of information that constitute the dynamical degrees of freedom for the world are encoded. These qubits of information are the fundamental nature of entropy. The holographic principle fundamentally tells us that the qubits of information are encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds a three dimensional region of space, like the observable physical universe.

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Holographic Principle

That two dimensional bounding surface of space can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. An accelerating observer’s event horizon limits its observations of things in space. Every accelerating observer’s observations are limited by an event horizon. The observer’s event horizon naturally turns into its holographic screen when the screen encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own observable holographic world.

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Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

Unitary time evolution of the quantum wavefunction is explicitly demonstrated in terms of the time dependence of the wavefunction solution of the quantum wave equation:

Time Dependent Wavefunction Solution of the Quantum Wave Equation

The unitary time evolution operator U(t)=exp(−iHt/ħ) conserves quantum probability, which is explicitly demonstrated by the unitary nature of the exponential function U(t)U(−t)=1.

The most general way to formulate quantum theory is in terms of a sum over all possible paths in some configuration space. The quantum state of potentiality allows for all possible outcomes, not just the classical outcome. The way quantum theory expresses this potentiality is in terms of a quantum state that can always be formulated as a sum over all possible paths that connect a point of initial conditions to a point of final conditions in some information configuration space.

Quantum State as the Sum Over All Possible Paths

The laws of physics only enter into the quantum state as an action principle, which determines quantum probability. Quantum probability is determined by the quantum wavefunction, which in turn is determined by an action principle. All the laws of physics can be expressed as an action principle. Action is like a measure of distance along some path between two points in some information configuration space. The most likely outcome in terms of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the shortest possible distance between those two points in the information configuration space. That’s why events seem to obey classical laws of physics, but there is an important caveat. The path of least action only arises from the quantum state as the most likely path in the sense of quantum probability when things are chosen from the quantum state of potentiality in an unbiased or random way. If there is bias in the way choices are made, then the laws of physics lose their classical predictability. In the sense of Einstein’s metaphor of throwing dice, if the dice are loaded, then the game is rigged and all bets are off.

This choice that chooses something from the quantum state of potentiality is called the collapse of the wavefunction or a quantum state reduction. Quantum theory tells us every measurement of something is a choice in the sense of collapsing the quantum wavefunction or reducing the quantum state. The quantum state of potentiality includes all possible outcomes. To actually measure some specific outcome, a choice must be made. Quantum theory says the choices are made randomly, but why can’t choices be made in a biased way? Who would make that choice? The obvious answer is that the observer of the actual outcome of the measurement is making that choice. In the sense of perceiving consciousness, the observer is choosing what to observe in its own observable world. That world only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until it is observed by the observer and appears to come into an actual state of existence. This raises an even bigger question. What is the true nature of the observer?

In the sense of relativity theory, the observer is nothing more than a point of view at the origin of its own coordinate system. That’s what a frame of reference means in relativity theory. From the point of view of other observers, the observer is following a world-line through their space-time geometry, but from the observer’s own point of view, the observer is at the center of its own space-time geometry. Quantum theory is telling us with the concept that the measurement of something can only arise as the quantum state of potentiality is reduced to an actual observable state that every point on the observer’s world-line is a decision point about what to observe in its world and which path to follow through that world. Only the observer can make that choice. The big question is about the true nature of the observer’s consciousness in relation to whatever the observer happens to observe in its world. This question explodes when that observable world is understood to be a holographic world. A holographic world is no more real than images depicted on a holographic screen. The images can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Who is really observing those images? Can an image observe itself? The holographic principle gives the only logically possible answer. The observer is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to its own holographic screen.

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The Observer’s Holographic Screen

The easiest way to understand how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which turns the horizon into a holographic screen, is with non-commutative geometry, which explains how space-time geometry is quantized. Each quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information or qubit. In quantum gravity, the pixel size is called the Planck area. This gives the observer’s event horizon an entropy as S=kn, where n is the number of qubits encoded on the event horizon, which is proportional to the surface area A of the horizon as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is the Planck area. Each Planck area on the horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. Non-commutative geometry fundamentally explains how the qubits are encoded on a holographic screen in terms of quantizing position coordinates on the screen, which smears out each quantized position coordinate into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This value for entropy of the observer’s event horizon given in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the horizon is called the holographic principle.

The energy that flows through the observer’s holographic world also arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the observer in its accelerated frame of reference. This thermal radiation is also called Hawking radiation. Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerated observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerated observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for all the point particles that can appear in the observer’s world, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at an event horizon gives the event horizon an apparent temperature proportional to the observer’s acceleration. In quantum field theory, virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are entangled. This implies the entropy of the observer’s event horizon is an entanglement entropy. This is consistent with the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry since all qubits of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon are entangled.

Hawking Radiation

The idea of quantum entanglement is inherent in the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry. All the quantized bits of information or qubit encoded on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are inherently entangled, which is understood in terms of matrices. Quantum entanglement allows qubits to be defined in a rotationally invariant way. This is much like the way quantum theory defines spin ½ particles in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its two eigenvalues also define spin up and spin down states. These two spin states give a representation of information in a binary code, like a switch that is either on or off. The spin up and spin down states are like vectors that point up or down, but when these spin states are entangled, the vector can point in any direction, and so rotational symmetry is preserved. With the holographic principle, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric holographic screen can be defined by the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix.

The laws of thermodynamics relate a change in total energy to temperature and a change in entropy as ΔE=TΔS. In terms of the holographic principle, the fundamental reason for this relation between energy and entropy is each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen inherently carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT given in terms of the Unruh temperature. At thermal equilibrium, each qubit carries an equal amount of thermal energy. Each qubit of information is a fundamental dynamical degree of freedom for the observer’s holographic world. The equal partition of energy tells us that each dynamical degree of freedom, which is a qubit of information, carries an equal amount of energy E=kT at thermal equilibrium, which defines temperature. As more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, more energy is inherent in that holographic world.

What about the laws of physics? Where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle gives a straightforward and perfectly good answer, which both Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have explicitly delineated. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The matter particles that constitute the nature of all matter in that world and the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces between matter particles obey computational rules inherent in the quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics. The holographic appearance of that world in terms of both the space-time geometry of that world and the particle physics of that world is constructed out of qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. That holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer, but the computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry and the particle physics of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. The rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state that only give an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

To begin with, we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, from the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations are thermodynamic equations of state that arise from the laws of thermodynamics that relate energy to entropy and temperature, ΔE=TΔS. Ted Jacobson has shown how this derivation goes forward in terms of the area law for the entropy of the observer’s event horizon and the Unruh temperature of that event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its accelerated frame of reference. As heat flows across a bounding surface of space, the total energy of that bounded region of space must change, which implies a thermodynamic change in the entropy of that bounded region of space. The holographic principle then tells us the area of the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded region. Jacobson showed this change in the geometry of the bounded region is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. Once we have Einstein’s field equations, all quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics can then be deduced as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and super-symmetry. The whole quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity can therefore be deduced from the holographic principle.

All we really need to explain the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which gives rise to an event horizon. Apply non-commutative geometry to that event horizon as a way to quantize position coordinates on the horizon, and we have an explanation for how to generate all the qubits of information that describe everything in a holographic world. Each quantized position coordinate defined by a non-commuting variable on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This encoding process not only includes information for all the so-called elementary particles of that world that underlie the electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces, but also the space-time geometry of that world that underlies the effect of gravity. The only thing that seems to be fundamental to the explanation is the observer itself. The holographic principle is telling us that only the observer has its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

It should be noted that any thermodynamic equation of state that describes a physical system implies thermal equilibrium, which means the dynamical degrees of freedom of that system are thermalized or randomized in terms of their thermal energy. A thermodynamic equation of state is not valid when the system is not at thermal equilibrium. Since Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics, which is the nature of physical matter and the electromagnetic and nuclear physical forces, are only thermodynamic equations of state for the physical universe, these equations do not apply when the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium. As Roger Penrose has often pointed out, the physical universe is definitely not at thermal equilibrium, as is demonstrated by the normal flow of energy through the physical universe. If we are to have any hope of understanding the nature of the physical universe, we have to go beyond the simple understanding of the universe in terms of what we call the laws of physics inherent in Einstein’s field theory for gravity and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics. We have to start understanding the physical universe in terms of the holographic principle, We have to start understanding the perceivable physical world in terms of the observer of that world.

Normal Flow of Energy Through the Observer’s Perceivable Physical World

The physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium because space is expanding in the physical universe. The accelerated nature of the expansion of space, which is called dark energy, is the primordial energy that puts the bang in the big bang event. The idea of the creation of the universe in a big bang is based on the idea of the expansion of space. As is well known, the expansion of space implies a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s cosmic horizon defines its own world whenever space expands since that is where all the fundamental qubits of information for that world are encoded. Inherent in the idea of the big bang is the idea the observer’s observable world increases in size as space expands. This implies the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius as the observer’s world increases in size. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, which explains the normal flow of heat in the observer’s world as heat flows from hotter to colder objects. This also explains the second law of thermodynamics which says entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, but its surface area increases, which implies the entropy of the observer’s world increases even as its world cools, since more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s cosmic horizon.

The Expansion of Space

This is wonderfully explained in detail in Amanda Gefter’s recent book Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, where she interviewed many of the best theoretical physicists in the world that work in the area of quantum gravity and tried to make sense of the recent developments that led to the discovery of the holographic principle. At the end of her book, she finally brings the holographic principle together with Carlo Rovelli’s relational interpretation of quantum theory and comes to the conclusion that every observer must observe its own holographic world defined by its own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information are encoded for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, and so that holographic screen is inherently observer-dependent. The idea of a consensual reality shared among different observers can only arise in the sense of a Venn diagram of information sharing among different but overlapping holographic screens. This problem of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens is the essence of the entanglement problem of quantum gravity, as Tom Banks has repeatedly pointed out.

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Information Sharing Between Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality Shared by Multiple Observers

This way of understanding observation in terms of every observer observing its own holographic world leads to a more natural solution of the measurement problem, since it eliminates paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. Multiple observers simply cannot exist inside the same observable world without creating logically inconsistent paradoxes. Every observer can only observe its own observable holographic world. Different observers can only share a consensual reality due to information sharing among different but overlapping holographic worlds. As Gefter struggled to understand in her book, this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. These are fundamental questions about the true nature of observing consciousness.

Quantum theory in the context of the holographic principle is telling us that the observable physical world can only appear to come into existence in relation to the observations of the observer that observes that holographic world. Every observer must observe its own holographic world for that world to appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe its own holographic world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. That unobserved state of potentiality is the nature of the quantum state. For the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world to come into an observed state of actuality, the observer must make an observation of that world. The unitary time evolution of the world, represented by the process U, only applies to the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world. Measurement or observation of the world, represented by the quantum state reduction process R, only applies to the observer’s observation of its own holographic world, which reduces the state of potentiality of the observer’s world to an observed state of actuality of that world. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that the observer’s world only appears to come into an actual state of existence when the observer observes that world. Without the observer’s observation of its own world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Simply put, an observable world cannot appear to actually exist unless an observer observes it, but this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. What is the true nature of the observer’s own existence?

This fundamental relation of an observer observing its own observable world essentially defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The holographic principle tells us that the objective nature of all things the observer can observe in its own observable world are forms of information that can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen, which can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is telling us that in some sense the objective nature of all things the observer observes is a holographic illusion, since all observable things can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observable things include the nature of all elementary particles that appear in space, including all the matter particles and all the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The observable things also include the dynamical nature of space-time geometry, which is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity. With the holographic principle, all of this observable stuff can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, but that’s not the end of it.

Everything observable in the observer’s holographic world, including the observer’s own body and brain, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. The true subjective nature of the observer cannot be its body or brain, since these are only forms of information that appear in the observer’s own holographic world. At most, the observer’s own body and brain can only transmit or process information about the nature of that holographic world. A form of information is something observable, and cannot observe itself without creating a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. As quantum theory tells us, an observable object, which is a form of information, can only arise in a subject-object relation as the observer observes that observable thing. If the observer’s own body and brain is not the true nature of the observer observing its own observable world, then what is the true subjective nature of the observer? This is fundamentally a question about the true subjective nature of observing consciousness, which by simple deductive logical reasoning, cannot itself be reduced to an observable thing. A body and brain that appears inside an observable holographic world cannot be the true subjective nature of the observer of that holographic world.

Until we confront the true subjective nature of the observer, we will never be able to make any real progress in terms of understanding the objective nature of the physical reality that we observe. The problem with modern physics and the lack of an adequate resolution of the measurement problem of quantum theory is that we are not confronting the true subjective nature of the observer. Is there something that we don’t want to know? What exactly is it that we don’t want to know? These are fundamental questions like: Who is the observer? Who is the knower? What is the true subjective nature of observing consciousness? Who am I?

The holographic principle is fundamentally an observer-centric description of observable reality. The observable reality of the world we perceive is not only perceived in an observer-centric way, but also in an observer-dependent way. The holographic principle is telling us that the observer is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world.

Brian, please discuss the measurement problem and its implications in one of your World Science Festival broadcasts. Please address the issues raised in this brief note. Please interview Amanda Gefter about the radically important implications of her book with regard to the measurement problem. This is the most important and pressing problem in theoretical physics.

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

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

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

Brian Greene’s recent World Science Festival broadcasts:

Watch a recent interview where Amanda Gefter discusses the question of what is ultimately real. The answer of course is nothing:

Chris Fuchs pays tribute to John Wheeler and Amanda Gefter:

Thought for the day:

To awaken to the truth of what it really is, the knower must know itself as it exists in reality-adapted from Nisargadatta Maharaj

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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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God Exists, but the Presence of God Does Not Exist

When people speak about sensing the presence of God, they are using all the right words in the right way, but their orientation is all wrong. Their orientation is childish. They are taking the position of a child in relation to its father. When they speak of the presence of God, they are taking the wrong orientation and making a mistake. The presence they speak about is their own presence.

The beingness of that presence is called I Am because it is the true nature of what one is. One is that presence of consciousness that is perceiving one’s own world. One is perceiving one’s own world from the center of that world. That world is like a movie that one is watching as images of the movie are projected from a movie screen to one’s central point of view. One is not really in the movie. One is out in the movie audience at the central point of view of one’s own world, as images of that world are projected to one’s point of view from the movie screen. The presence that one is aware of is one’s own presence out in the movie audience. That’s what one really is. One is nothing more than a spiritual presence of consciousness. One’s character in the movie, which is called a person, is not what one really is. One is not a person. One is a spiritual presence of consciousness aware of the life of the person and the world the person lives within, but that’s all a part of the movie one is watching. When one takes oneself to be a person in that world and becomes aware of one’s own presence as the presence of God, one is being childish.

One can only identify oneself with that person when one has a personal self-concept, but that self-concept is childish. One’s self-concept developed when one’s body was about two years old in the emotional context of how one’s family was structured. One’s self-concept developed in the context of one’s immature emotional attachment to one’s parents or other caregivers. By its very nature, the personal self-concept is an immature or childish thing. This development is natural for a two year old child, but is abnormal when one is no longer a child. One needs to grow up and grow out of one’s immature personal self-concept. One needs to grow up and accept the presence that one is aware of is one’s own presence. That is the only true spiritual path. If one can’t accept this truth about oneself, one will always remain at the level of a child. As Saint Paul realized shortly before the death of his personal form, one needs to put away childish things.

To be clear about things, no one is denying the existence of God. God’s will directs events in the movie one is watching. The way the movie plays out and everything that appears to happen in the movie is an expression of God’s will. It is good to surrender to God’s will and put one’s trust in God’s will. If one expresses one’s own individual will and tries to control things or direct events in the movie one is watching in a personally biased way, one will only interfere with the expression of God’s will and make things worse for oneself. God’s will is always for the best.

One’s surrender to God’s will is the only way one can become aware of oneself as a spiritual presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world. As long as one tries to control things or direct events in the movie one is watching in a personally biased or self-defensive way, one will identify oneself with the form of the person one takes oneself to be, and one will remain oblivious to one’s own presence as a spiritual being. The first step in becoming aware of one’s own presence is one’s surrender to God’s will. There is no other way of becoming aware of oneself. When one surrenders to God’s will, one undergoes a death-rebirth transformation, as one’s identity dies to one’s personal self-concept and is reborn of the spirit.

God is the Source of one’s individual spiritual being as a spiritual presence of consciousness. As the book of Genesis tells us, God divided that individual spiritual being from God’s undivided being when one’s world was created. A world can only be created when the individual spiritual being of a spiritual presence of consciousness is divided from God’s undivided being, since that is the only way that world can appear to come into existence as one perceives it from the central point of view of that world. One can only reunite oneself with God when that world disappears from existence. When one’s world disappears from existence from one’s own point of view, one’s individual spiritual being returns to and reunites itself with God’s undivided being like a separated drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean.

To reunite oneself with God, one has to go beyond one’s own individual spiritual being and presence. The One Being of God is an undivided being. To reunite oneself with God, one has to go beyond one’s own individual spiritual being as a spiritual presence of consciousness. The One Being of God is beyond I Am.

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Why the Old Physicalism Paradigm is False and Science only has Validity in a New One-World-per-Observer Paradigm

Universal Observer

The basic problem with modern physics, specifically with the way quantum theory is interpreted by almost all physicists, is the problem of assuming that multiple observers exist in the same observable world. This assumption is a paradigm about the nature of the world, which is flawed in the sense of logical inconsistencies inherent within the paradigm. The only way to resolve the logical inconsistencies of this conventional paradigm, as Amanda Gefter realized in her book Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, is to adopt a new paradigm. The one-world-per-observer paradigm inherent in the holographic principle is this new paradigm. The basic idea of this new paradigm is that every observer has its own world defined on its own holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, and so that screen is inherently observer-dependent. The observer’s screen is where all the fundamental qubits of information are encoded for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world. In the sense of thermodynamics, the qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world. There is only a false impression that multiple observers exist in the same observable world due to information sharing among overlapping holographic screens. This state of information sharing can only arise from consistency relations between the way entangled qubits of information are encoded on differing but overlapping holographic screens. These consistency relations are the essence of the entanglement problem that characterizes the mathematical structure of a holographic world.

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

The problem with the old paradigm of assuming multiple observers exist in the same observable world are the paradoxes of quantum theory made apparent by the Schrodinger cat paradox or the Wigner friend paradox. Physicists would like to assume that they are each an independent observer that can independently make measurements in the same observable world, but that is the false assumption that leads to all the paradoxes of quantum theory. Each physicist falsely assumes they can each independently observe the same observable world. The problem is quantum theory tells us that whatever the thing is that is being measured in any experiment only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until the measurement or observation of that thing occurs. Quantum theory tells us the quantum state of the measuring apparatus is entangled with the thing being measured, and so the total system of the thing being measured and measuring apparatus also only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until the measurement occurs. All the atoms and molecules inside the body and the brain of the physicist that performs the experiment are also entangled with the thing being measured and the measuring apparatus, and so the total system of the thing being measured, the measuring apparatus, and the body and the brain of the experimentalist performing the experiment are all entangled, which means the quantum state of all this stuff only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until the measurement occurs. Who is actually making the observation? Who is the observer?

The old conventional paradigm of modern physics can never answer this question. There is no place for an observer in this paradigm, which is why most scientists who work in neuroscience and artificial intelligence want to convince us that consciousness is an illusion. These scientists are all physicalists who believe in the physicalism paradigm that only the observable physical world has its own inherent physical reality. They do not acknowledge any other reality. The problem of the physicalism paradigm is that there is no place for the consciousness of the observer in physical reality, and so they deny the existence of consciousness. As far as they’re concerned, the observer doesn’t really exist because consciousness doesn’t really exist. This is the inevitable conclusion they have to come to when they falsely assume that only an observable physical world really exists, and that multiple observers appearing to exist within that world is only a big illusion. In order to continue to believe in their physicalism paradigm, they have to come to the conclusion that the apparent existence of conscious observers is an illusion. In one sense, they are right. Conscious observers do not really exist inside an observable physical world.

This conclusion that consciousness is an illusion is very odd since each of us as the observer of our own world knows that we exist as the observer of that world. Each of us is aware of our own existence in terms of our own observing consciousness. In the sense of solipsism, the only thing that we can know with absolute certainty is that we exist, and we know that because each of us has the sense of our own existence as we observe our own observable world. Each of us has the sense of being present for our own observable world, and that sense of being present, often called I Am, verifies our own existence as the observer of that world. At the most fundamental level possible, it is the existence of our own consciousness that we are each aware of with our own sense of being present to observe our own observable world, and yet all the scientists that buy into the logically inconsistent physicalism paradigm want to convince us that the apparent existence of our consciousness is an illusion. They are so emotionally invested in the physicalism paradigm that has no place for the existence of consciousness that they would rather deny the existence of consciousness than abandon this old discredited paradigm.

The irony is that modern physics is pointing to a new paradigm that resolves all the paradoxes and logical inconsistencies of the old physicalism paradigm. In the last 25 years, modern physics has discovered the holographic principle of quantum gravity, which resolves all the paradoxes. The holographic principle implies a new paradigm, which can be called the one-world-per-observer paradigm, that totally resolves all paradoxes and inconsistencies. This tells us that the consciousness of the observer does indeed exist, but that consciousness isn’t really in the observable physical world that the observer observes. The consciousness of the observer is only a presence of consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world. This paradigm turns the nature of illusion totally around. The consciousness of the observer isn’t the illusion that the physicalists would like us to falsely believe. The observable physical world is the holographic illusion.

The holographic principle fundamentally says that everything the observer can observe in its own observable holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. To return for a moment to the measurement paradox inherent in quantum theory with the old conventional physicalism paradigm, the body and the brain of the experimentalist that performs the experiment can also be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. This is the new paradigm we have to accept with the holographic principle. Everything observable in a holographic world is reducible to information and energy, but the consciousness of the observer observing that world is not. Consciousness has its own independent existence. The holographic principle tells us that the true nature of existence is precisely the other way around from what the old physicalism paradigm told us. The apparent existence of a holographic world that is reducible to information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy animating that world is dependent on the existence of the observer’s consciousness that has its own independent existence.

The natural way to understand how information is encoded on the observer’s event horizon is with non-commutative geometry, which explains how space-time geometry is quantized. Every quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. These qubits of information are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom for everything the observer can observe in its holographic world, which is the nature of entropy. The nature of energy is the thermal energy inherent in each qubit of information, which fundamentally arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon. That energy is inherent in the observer’s acceleration. Everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world is a holographic illusion in the sense that all those observable things can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon. Observable things are forms of information projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view and animated in the flow of energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The whole explanation is observer-dependent, which tells us that only the observer itself is fundamental to the explanation. This tells us that only the observer itself can have its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their state of motion, is an essential aspect of a holographic universe. This is the basic reason an event horizon arises for an accelerating observer. When quantized bits of information, called qubits, are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which is the case for all versions of quantum gravity, like M-theory or non-commutative geometry, the horizon acts as a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world. The speed of light can be understood as the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in a computer. This fact is woven into Einstein’s theory of relativity in terms of understanding how the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the world is similar to a Euclidean geometry, where there is a generalized version of the Pythagorean theorem. Unlike a Euclidean geometry, this 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry can become curved, which explains the nature of gravity, but there is still a version of the Pythagorean theorem that allows for measurement of distance in the geometry. Gravity has no natural length scale with which to measure distance, which gives gravity or space-time geometry a property called conformal symmetry. When gravity is quantized, conformal symmetry implies the inevitability of holography due to the encoding of qubits on a holographic screen. Basically, the 1/R2 force law for gravity implies holography whenever gravity waves are quantized into gravitons and each graviton is reduced to a qubit of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon that acts as its holographic screen.

The basic postulate of relativity theory is the principle of equivalence, which says the observer is understood as a point of view, which is the point of origin of a coordinate system that defines the observer’s frame of reference. That point of view always arises in relation to an event horizon whenever the observer is in accelerated motion or in an accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s accelerated point of view and its holographic screen, understood as an event horizon that encodes qubits of information, always arise together. Since the observer’s holographic screen encodes all the qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its holographic world, which includes the observer’s body and brain, the observer’s point of view can only be understood as a focal point of pure consciousness. There is no other logical explanation. This also fits in perfectly with what enlightened beings like Nisargadatta Maharaj have to say about the nature of the world from their own direct experience.

Einstein’s theory of relativity, where the force of gravity is understood to arise as the curvature of space-time geometry, is really only built on the constancy of the speed of light, which implies a space-time geometry with a Pythagorean theorem to measure distances, and the lack of a natural length scale, which implies the conformal symmetry of gravity. When gravity is quantized, these two facts imply holography. The only natural way to generate holography is with an accelerating observer, which is understood as a point of view or focal point of pure consciousness, and the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen that encodes all the qubits of information for all the observable things the observer can observe in its holographic world.

The measurement of distance along some path through a space-time geometry with utilization of a generalized Pythagorean theorem, even when that space-time geometry is curved, is called proper-time, which is fundamental to the formulation of relativity theory. It turns out there is a deep connection between relativity theory and the quantum theory of point particles in terms of measuring distance along some path through space-time geometry. The most general way to formulate quantum theory is in terms of a sum over all possible paths. The quantum state of potentiality allows for all possible outcomes, not just the classical outcome. The way quantum theory expresses this potentiality is in terms of a quantum state that can always be formulated as a sum over all possible paths in some information configuration space.

Quantum State as the Sum Over All Possible Paths

The laws of physics only enter into the quantum state as an action principle, which determines quantum probability. Quantum probability is determined by the quantum wavefunction, which in turn is determined by an action principle. All the laws of physics can be expressed as an action principle. Action is like a measure of distance along some path between two points in some information configuration space. The most likely outcome in terms of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the shortest possible distance between those two points in the information configuration space. That’s why events seem to obey classical laws of physics, but there is an important caveat. The path of least action only arises from the quantum state when things are chosen from the quantum state of potentiality in an unbiased or random way. If there is bias in the way choices are made, then the laws of physics lose their classical predictability. In the sense of throwing dice, if the dice are loaded, the game is rigged and all bets are off.

This choice that chooses something from the quantum state of potentiality is called the collapse of the wavefunction or a quantum state reduction. Quantum theory tells us every measurement of something is a choice in the sense of collapsing the quantum wavefunction or reducing the quantum state. The quantum state of potentiality includes all possible outcomes. To actually measure some specific outcome, a choice must be made. Quantum theory says the choices are made randomly, but why can’t choices be made in a biased way? Who would make that choice?

The obvious answer is that the observer of the actual outcome of the measurement is making that choice. In the sense of perceiving consciousness, the observer is choosing what to observe in its own observable world. That world only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until it is observed by the observer and appears to come into an actual state of existence. This raises an even bigger question. What is the true nature of the observer?

In the sense of relativity theory, the observer is nothing more than a point of view at the origin of its own coordinate system. That’s what a frame of reference means in relativity theory. From the point of view of other observers, the observer is following a world-line through their space-time geometry, but from the observer’s own point of view, the observer is at the center of its own space-time geometry. Quantum theory is telling us with the concept that the measurement of something can only arise as the quantum state of potentiality is reduced to an actual observable state that every point on the observer’s world-line is a decision point about what to observe in its world and which path to follow through that world. Only the observer can make that choice.

The big question is about the true nature of the observer’s consciousness in relation to whatever the observer happens to observe in its world. This question explodes when that observable world is understood to be a holographic world. A holographic world is no more real than images projected from a holographic screen. Who is really observing those projected images? Can an image observe itself? The holographic principle gives the only logically possible answer, which is that the observer is nothing more than a pure point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to its own holographic screen. This answer is apparent when we try to unify quantum theory with relativity theory and quantize gravity, which leads us to the holographic principle.

The deep connection of quantum theory to relativity theory is that particle action can always be formulated in terms of proper-time, which measures distance along some path in a curved space-time geometry. The quantum field theory formulation of particle physics utilizes this connection to relativity theory, but can only be formulated in flat space-time geometry, which is called Minkowski space. By its very nature, all of particle physics as formulated by quantum field theory must assume that space-time geometry is flat, but then there is no force of gravity since gravity is nothing more than the curvature of space-time geometry.

The basic problem with trying to quantize gravity the same way particle physics is quantized with quantum field theory is that the quantum particle of that field theory must follow a path through a space-time geometry. For quantum gravity, that particle would be called the graviton. Quantizing gravity in this way would mean the graviton would follow a path through space-time geometry, but in the sense of quantum field theory, that is only possible if space-time geometry is flat. The problem is the graviton as the quantum particle of the field theory is supposed to give a representation of the curvature of space-time geometry, which is the nature of gravity, but the graviton itself has to follow a path through space-time geometry. There is a deep contradiction in this way of formulating how gravity is quantized. The only solution that has been found for how to resolve this logical contradiction is the holographic principle. Only the holographic principle allows for a logically consistent formulation of quantum gravity, but the price we have to pay for this logical consistency is a new way of understanding the nature of consciousness.

In relativity theory, an accelerated frame of reference is equivalent to the exertion of a force, which is known as the principle of equivalence. Any force, like the force of gravity, is equivalent to an observer’s acceleration, like an observer in a rocket-ship that accelerates through space. There is no way to distinguish the effect of an acceleration from the exertion of a force.

Principle of Equivalence

The fundamental nature of the universe is quantized bits of information, called qubits, which are encoded on a holographic screen. That’s what makes the universe a holographic universe. The holographic screen in turn is an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observation of things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their individual state of motion. The observer’s event horizon is as far out in space as the observer can observe things in space. Every observer in an accelerated frame of reference has an event horizon that limits the observer’s observation of things in space.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

The easiest way to understand how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which turns the horizon into a holographic screen, is with non-commutative geometry, which explains how space-time geometry is quantized. Each quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information or qubit. In quantum gravity, the pixel size is called the Planck area.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck Size Event Horizon

Holographic Principle

This gives the observer’s event horizon an entropy as S=kn, where n is the number of qubits encoded on the event horizon, which is proportional to the surface area A of the horizon as n=A/4ℓ2 , where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is the Planck area. Each Planck area on the horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. Non-commutative geometry fundamentally explains how the qubits are encoded on a holographic screen in terms of quantizing position coordinates on the screen, which smears out each quantized position coordinate into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This value for entropy of the observer’s event horizon given in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the horizon is called the holographic principle.

The holographic principle says that every accelerating observer has its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information for everything observable in the observer’s world are encoded. Things don’t really exist in three dimensional space. Everything observable in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that arises as a holographic form of information for that thing is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen, which is a two dimensional bounding surface of space, to the observer’s central point of view in space, which always arises in relation to that holographic screen. The observation of things appearing in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. This even applies to elementary particles, like photons and electrons. All the fundamental qubits of information for an elementary particle are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s observation of an elementary particle, like anything else it can observe in its holographic world, is only the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. Everything observable arises through holographic projection.

The energy that flows through the observer’s holographic world also arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the observer in its accelerated frame of reference.

Hawking Radiation

Thermal radiation appears to be radiated away from the accelerating observer’s event horizon, which is called Hawking radiation, but is only observed by the accelerating observer. Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerated observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerated observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for all the point particles that can appear in the observer’s world through holographic projection, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at that event horizon gives the observer’s event horizon an apparent temperature that’s proportional to the observer’s acceleration. In quantum field theory, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are entangled. This implies the entropy of the observer’s event horizon is an entanglement entropy. This is consistent with the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry since all the qubits of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon are also entangled.

The idea of quantum entanglement is inherent in the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry. All the quantized bits of information or qubit encoded on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are inherently entangled, which is understood in terms of matrices. Quantum entanglement allows qubits to be defined in a rotationally invariant way. This is much like the way quantum theory defines spin ½ particles in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its two eigenvalues also define spin up and spin down states. These two spin states give a representation of information in a binary code, like a switch that is either on or off. The spin up and spin down states are like vectors that point up or down, but when these spin states are entangled, the vector can point in any direction, and so rotational symmetry is preserved. With the holographic principle, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric holographic screen can be defined by the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix.

This tells us that the n qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen are fundamentally entangled with each other. A holographic world defined by the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen is fundamentally a world where everything is connected to everything else at the level of quantum entanglement. A holographic world is inherently holistically connected.

Black Hole

The holographic principle is telling us about a peculiar symmetry that’s inherent to the nature of gravity. This symmetry is called conformal symmetry, which is the symmetry of objects that appear self-similar when observed at different length scales. Conformal symmetry expresses invariance of the laws of physics as the space-time metric is transformed with a new length scale. The law of gravity as reflected by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric has no inherent length scale. This gives rise to the gravitational acceleration of a massive body that falls off as 1/R2 at a radial distance R from the massive body. The holographic principle was first discovered for black holes, which are defined by an event horizon of radius R. At the event horizon, the acceleration due to gravity is a=GM/R2, where M is the mass of the black hole and R is the radius of its event horizon. A stationary observer hovering outside the event horizon of a black hole must accelerate away from the black hole with an equal but opposite acceleration to maintain its stationary position. The Unruh temperature of the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer, kT=ħa/2πc, is proportional to the observer’s acceleration a=GM/R2. The entropy, S=kn=kA/4ℓ2, of the event horizon is proportional to its surface area A=4πR2.

Black Hole Entropy

The event horizon of a black hole is a special spherical surface where the escape velocity from that surface is the speed of light. A simple way to calculate the radius of the event horizon using classical concepts is to equate the kinetic energy of a particle of mass m moving away from a mass M with a velocity v, KE=½mv2, with the gravitational potential energy of that particle at a distance R from the mass M, PE=GmM/R. With escape velocity, the mass m has just enough kinetic energy to overcome the gravitational attraction of the mass M. This determines escape velocity as v2=2GM/R. If we equate v=c, we find the radius of the event horizon is R=2GM/c2, which is to say the escape velocity at the event horizon of a black hole is the speed of light.

Schwarzschild Radius

It’s not a coincidence that the entropy of the event horizon behaves like R2 while the Unruh temperature behaves like 1/R2. The total energy of the black hole is given in terms of its mass as E=Mc2. The laws of thermodynamics relate a change in total energy to temperature and a change in entropy as ΔE=TΔS. In terms of the holographic principle, the fundamental reason for this relation between energy and entropy is each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen inherently carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT given in terms of the Unruh temperature. At thermal equilibrium, each qubit carries an equal amount of thermal energy. Each qubit of information is a fundamental dynamical degree of freedom for the observer’s holographic world. The equal partition of energy tells us that each dynamical degree of freedom, which is a qubit of information, carries an equal amount of energy E=kT at thermal equilibrium, which defines temperature. As more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, more energy is inherent in that holographic world.

The key idea is the entropy of the event horizon is an area law that behaves like R2, while the Unruh temperature of the event horizon is an acceleration that behaves like 1/R2, and so these two factors cancel each other out in the thermodynamic relation between energy and entropy, ΔE=TΔS. We’re assuming three dimensional space where the surface area of a spherical event horizon is proportional to R2. There’s a simple physical explanation for why the acceleration due to gravity behaves like 1/R2. If we imagine the force of gravity is due to the exchange of a force particle called the graviton and that a mass acts like a point source of gravitons constantly emitted in all directions, then the total flux of gravitons that pass through a spherical surface of radius R must be constant, and so the force of gravity falls off as 1/R2. The force of gravity between two masses is proportional to the number of gravitons exchanged and falls off as 1/R2 since the total flux of gravitons passing through a spherical surface is constant.

The speed of light is also the speed that a graviton travels through space since the graviton is a massless particle, like the photon. The idea of the holographic principle is to encode qubits of information for gravitons on the surface of an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen. In order to keep the flux of gravitons through the surface constant, independent of the radius of the surface, the number of pixels on the surface, each of which encodes a qubit of information, must be proportional to the surface area. The holographic principle reflects the total flux of gravitons through a spherical surface is constant when the gravitons are emitted from a point source at the center of that surface, which implies the 1/R2 force law, and that each graviton can be reduced to a qubit of information encoded on the special surface of an event horizon, which implies the area law for entropy. Entropy is the total number, n=A/4ℓ2, of qubits encoded on the event horizon needed to characterize all the gravitons. The acceleration due to gravity enters into the Unruh temperature as a way to insure that the laws of thermodynamics are satisfied.

The holographic principle gives a perfectly good explanation for how the observer’s world is created in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Everything the observer can observe in its world arises through holographic projection, as a form of information is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in its own accelerated frame of reference. That event horizon acts as a holographic screen in the sense of encoding qubits of information, which are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of its holographic world. Everything perceivable in its holographic world is a form of information constructed out of qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Even the flow of energy that animates those forms of information is inherent in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference in the sense of thermodynamics and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon.

Expansion of Space

The idea of creation of the universe in a big bang is based on the idea of the expansion of space. As is well known, the expansion of space implies a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s cosmic horizon defines its world whenever space expands. Inherent in the big bang is the idea the observer’s world increases in size as space expands. This implies the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius as the observer’s world increases in size. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, which explains the normal flow of heat in the observer’s world as heat flows from hotter to colder objects. This also explains the second law of thermodynamics which says entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, but its surface area increases, which implies the entropy of the observer’s world increases even as its world cools, since more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s cosmic horizon.

Normal Flow of Energy Through the Observer’s Perceivable World

Everything perceivable arises through holographic projection. Even the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the world arises through holographic projection. Just like all other perceivable things, space-time geometry can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and the perception of space-time geometry is no more real than forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The space-time geometry the observer observes in its world has no independent existence. If the observer doesn’t observe it, that space-time geometry doesn’t really exist. Everything the observer observes in its world, including the space-time geometry of that world, is dependent on the observer’s observation of it before it can appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe it, it does not exist, except in the sense of an unobserved state of potentiality. That’s what quantum theory tells us. The observation of space-time geometry, just like anything else the observer can observe, is only an illusion of existence in the sense of holographic projection.

Most physicists cannot accept this state of affairs since space-time geometry, like everything else that can be perceived in the world, appears to obey computational rules. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey the computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. How can something that’s not really real and doesn’t really exist obey computational rules? The simple answer is, that’s the inherent nature of a holographic world. The holographic appearance of that world is constructed out of the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer. The computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. These rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state and are only an approximation with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics, which only gives an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world.

When the observer observes a particle located at some position in space and the motion of that particle through space over the course of time, the observer is really only observing a form of information projected like an image from its own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections, just like the animation of the projected images of a movie from a computer screen to an observer. The reason we can say this with confidence is because all of particle physics can be formulated in terms of quantum field theory, and we can deduce all of quantum field theory from the holographic principle.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

To begin with, we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, from the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations are thermodynamic equations of state that arise from the laws of thermodynamics that relate energy to entropy and temperature, ΔE=TΔS. Ted Jacobson has shown how this derivation goes forward in terms of the area law for the entropy, S=kn=kA/4ℓ2, of an event horizon and the Unruh temperature of that event horizon, kT=ħa/2πc, as observed by the accelerating observer in its accelerated frame of reference. As heat flows across a bounding surface of space, the total energy of that bounded region of space must change, which implies a change in the entropy of that bounded region of space. The holographic principle then tells us the area of the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded region. Jacobson showed this change in the geometry of the bounded region is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. Once we have Einstein’s field equations, all quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics can then be deduced as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and super-symmetry. The whole quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity can therefore be deduced from the holographic principle.

All we really need to explain the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which gives rise to an event horizon. Apply non-commutative geometry to that event horizon as a way to quantize position coordinates on the horizon, and we have an explanation for how to generate all the qubits of information that describe everything in a holographic world. This not only includes all the so-called elementary particles of that world that underlie the electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces, but also the space-time geometry of that world that underlies the effect of gravity. Everything observable in that world is a projected form of information animated in the flow of energy. In the sense of holographic projection, the forms are projected like images from a holographic screen to the observer’s central point of view that arises in space relative to the screen and are animated in the flow of energy, like the animated frames of a movie. The Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon also gives us a thermodynamic explanation for how energy flows through that holographic world. The Unruh temperature feeds back into the point particle formulation of quantum theory since it arises from the apparent separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the observer in its accelerated frame of reference. The only thing that really seems to be fundamental to the explanation is the observer itself. The holographic principle is telling us that only the observer itself has its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

Only the observer itself can have its own independent existence, but we’d like to go further and understand the true nature of that existence. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness that’s present at the center of its own holographic world, but where does that presence of consciousness come from? This is where the void comes into the story. The void is the true nature of potentiality. The void can also be called the ultimate nature of existence or the ground of being, which is the potentiality for things to come into existence. As the ground of being, the void is the ultimate nature of reality. In-and-of-itself, the void only exists in the sense of absolute nothingness, but that nothingness is the potentiality for things to come into existence. The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world. The void is the ultimate nature of reality, and the holographic world it creates is a lesser form of reality, like a virtual reality. That virtual reality comes into existence because of the creation of the information and energy that underlies all observable things. These things not only include what physicists call elementary particles, but also the space-time geometry those observable things appear to exist within. Even the space-time geometry of a holographic world is observable, and in some sense is just another observable thing that can be reduced to information and energy. The space-time geometry of a holographic world is reducible to the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world just like everything else observable in that holographic world.

The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates information is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon that turns into its holographic screen.

The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world, but where does the consciousness of the observer come from? The simplest answer is the consciousness of the observer also comes from the void. The void is the potentiality to give rise to the consciousness of the observer. The void is also consciousness, but it is a more fundamental kind of consciousness than the observer’s consciousness. The consciousness of the observer is an individual or divided kind of consciousness, while the void is undivided consciousness. The void is the potentiality for the observer’s consciousness to come into existence in the sense that the individual consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void before the observer’s holographic world can appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The observation of that world is always limited by an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The consciousness of the observer is not only divided, but it is also limited, while the consciousness of the void is unlimited and undivided. Only the observer’s consciousness can observe things in its own holographic world. Each such observation of something by the observer is the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The consciousness of the void observes nothing because it has no holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is always a limitation of consciousness that can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as an observation limiting event horizon. Only an observer can observe things in its own holographic world. This only becomes possible when the divided consciousness of the observer is limited by a holographic screen. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void observes nothing, and yet the void is the potentiality to create a holographic world and give rise to the consciousness of the observer that observes that holographic world from the central point of view of that world. This creation process can only appear to happen within the void if the consciousness of the observer is divided from the undivided consciousness of the void and that point of consciousness then enters into an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to the limitation of a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world.

The key concept of the one-world-per-observer paradigm inherent in the holographic principle is that the observer’s holographic world can only be created within the void through the construction of a holographic screen as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, but before that creation can occur, the consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void. The only reason the observer is unaware of the void is because the observer’s attention is totally focused on itself and its world. The process of the observer shifting the focus of its attention away from itself and its world, and back onto its source, is called awakening, as in awakening from a dream.

This relationship of the void to the observer is like the relationship of a dreamer to its dream. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void, which observes nothing, is the source of the limited and divided consciousness of the observer that observes its own holographic world. That holographic world is the dream, and the void is the dreamer. The consciousness of the observer is a divided fragment of the undivided consciousness of the void. The fragmented consciousness of the observer must be separated from the unfragmented consciousness of the void for that holographic world to appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The fragmented consciousness of the observer is always connected to its source in that this state of separation can come to an end at any moment and the divided consciousness of the observer can return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of the void.

This state of reunion can be understood as an ultimate state of free fall in which the observer’s holographic world disappears from existence. The observer has no holographic screen in an ultimate state of free fall since it has no event horizon that limits its observations. Ironically, when there is no limitation of consciousness, there is also nothing to observe, and there is no separation. The void is this unlimited and undivided primordial state of consciousness, which is a state of pure potentiality. When that potentiality is expressed, an observable holographic world appears to come into existence and the consciousness of the observer becomes divided from the undivided consciousness of the void so that the observer can observe its own world. When that potentiality is not expressed, only the unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void exists. In that ultimate state of existence, nothing is observed. The void is that absolute nothingness, which in the sense of potentiality, is the true nature of what I am, you are, and everything is.

Atman-Brahman

How is the observer’s ultimate state of free fall even possible? The answer is the observer must be present to observe its own observable holographic world. Being present for its world means the observer must focus its attention on that world. If the observer withdraws its attention away from that world and is not present to observe that world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Both the form of all things in that world and the flow of energy through that world remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. Without the expression of that energy, the observer no longer is in an accelerated frame of reference, but instead enters into an ultimate state of free fall. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer no longer observes a holographic world. The observer’s holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. In the language of nonduality, this ultimate state of free fall is described as falling into the void. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer’s individual existence, which is its own divided sense of being present or I-Am-ness, dissolves back into the undivided being of the void like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. This oceanic experience is the nature of the observer realizing the truth of what it really is, which is the truth of its own being.

What about mathematical truth? Mathematical truth is inherent in the potentiality of the void to create geometry. As mathematicians have long known, all mathematical truths are geometrical in nature. Great mathematicians have been Platonists in the sense they know they only discover the mathematical truths inherent in the potentiality to create geometry. Geometrical mathematical truth is what underlies the geometric creation of the holographic illusion of a holographic world.

This way of understanding the holographic principle has no logical inconsistencies or paradoxes. It is completely consistent with everything we know about modern physics, and is really the only way modern physics can be understood in a logically consistent way. The other great advantage of this way of understanding the holographic principle is it’s totally consistent with what enlightened beings like Nisargadatta Maharaj tell us about the true nature of reality. Enlightened beings have directly experienced the true nature of reality. They have returned to the ultimate state of existence and come back to the world to tell us what is real and what is illusion.

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Disclaimer and Note of Qualification

Modern physics has solved the hard problem of consciousness in a fundamental way. The solution is inherent in the recently discovered holographic principle of quantum gravity. The irony is, this solution isn’t a scientific solution, but is a spiritual solution. To paraphrase Shankara, the world is a holographic world, which is a holographic illusion. The limited and divided consciousness of the observer of that world, which Shankara calls Atman, is ultimately no different than the unlimited and undivided consciousness of the source of that world, which Shankara calls Brahman and correctly identifies as the only truth. It is the truth of what you are.

Explanations are never satisfying. The only value in explanations is the dissatisfaction you feel when you understand the explanation, which motivates you to go further than the explanation. Your consciousness is the part of you that understands the explanation, but becomes dissatisfied when it only understands the explanation. To go further, you have to go into the beingness of your consciousness. Only the direct experience of that beingness can truly satisfy what you want to know, which is what you truly are. That experience of the beingness of your consciousness is always beyond any explanation that your consciousness can understand. You have to go further than any possible explanation to know what you really are.

Nisargadatta Maharaj gives a perfect description of this relation of the potentiality of the void (pure being), which gives rise to the perceiving consciousness of the observer’s central point of view (the witness), to the observer’s perceivable (reflected from a bounding surface of space) 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.

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Absolute Nothingness: Do Nothing, Be Nothing, Know Nothing: The Path of Awakening

Awakening isn’t about doing anything or knowing anything. It certainly isn’t about becoming anything. Awakening is only about knowing the absolute nothingness that is the truth of what one really is. In order to awaken to that absolute truth, one has to become willing to do nothing and to be nothing before one can know that nothingness.

Awakening is called awakening because everything one knows about is no more real than what appears to happen in a dream. The world one perceives is no more real than a dream that one is dreaming. The person one takes oneself to be in that world is no more real than a character in that dream. Everything one’s character can do in that world is no more real than what appears to happen in a dream. Everything one can appear to become in that world is no more real than a character in a dream. Knowing about what appears to happen in a dream has nothing to do with awakening from the dream. Awakening is only about awakening to the truth of what one really is. One is the dreamer of the dream. Everything one knows about is part of the dream. The true nature of the dreamer dreaming the dream is absolute nothingness. One awakens to the truth of what one is when one knows that absolute nothingness. To know that absolute nothingness, one must become willing to be nothing. To be nothing, one must become willing to do nothing.

If one is really serious about awakening, one only needs to do these three simple things, which paradoxically, is the same as doing nothing:

Surrender. One needs to lose one’s personal bias in one’s focus of attention. That personal bias is always self-defensive, since it defends the survival of one’s personal self-concept with the expression of the survival emotions of fear and desire, which is one’s desire to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way. The only way one can lose that personal bias in the way one focuses one’s attention and expresses emotions is if one surrenders to divine will. One has to put one’s trust in divine will to sort out what is for the best and accept everything as it is every moment with no desire that anything be any different than it is in the moment. One has to stop trying to control things in a self-defensive way and stop interfering with the normal flow of things. One has to relax and allow things to play out in the normal way, which allows the flow of energy through one’s body to come into alignment with the normal flow of things through one’s world.

That’s how one feels connected. One’s expression of personally biased self-defensive survival emotions is how one feels disconnected and self-limited, which leads one to identify oneself with the personal form of one’s body. One knows one is in a deep state of surrender when one feels connected. In a deep state of surrender, one no longer feels self-limited to a body and no longer identifies oneself with a body. In a deep state of surrender, one can only know oneself to be a spiritual presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world that perceives things as things play out in the normal way. One doesn’t have to do anything to surrender. One only has to stop defending oneself and stop trying to control things. One simply watches as things play out in the normal way while one does nothing in the world that one perceives.

Surrender deals with the primitive survival emotions of fear and desire. The survival of a body in the world depends on the expression of survival emotions of fear and desire that defend body survival. A body must express these emotions if that body is to survive in the world. When that emotional expression becomes personally biased, one feels self-limited to the personal form of a body and identifies oneself with that body form. One can only stop identifying oneself with the personal form of one’s body and bring that personal self-identification to an end if one loses personal bias in one’s focus of attention, which can only happen if one surrenders to divine will and gives up the desire to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way.

Detachment. Surrender is a necessary first step in the awakening process, but to go further, one has to become willing to detach oneself from things. Detachment deals with the social emotions of emotional attachments, which are also survival emotions in the sense that they defend the survival of the immature body of a child within a social context. The emotional attachment of the child to its caregivers is necessary for the survival of the child’s immature body that is incapable of fending for itself. By their very nature, emotional attachments are immature since they defend the survival of the immature body of a child within a social context. These immature emotional attachments always occur within a social context of self and other. That emotional context is how the personal self-concept is emotionally constructed, as the personal concept of self is emotionally related to the concept of another. By its very nature, the personal self-concept is immature. The personal self-concept can only become constructed within the social context of immature emotional attachments. The personal self-concept naturally develops when the child is around two years old, which tells us the personal self-concept is an immature thing.

When one attaches oneself to something, one is being immature like a baby that attaches itself to its mother. When one tries to control things in the emotional context of one’s attachment to others, one’s self-defensive actions are acts of futility, since one is trying to control the normal flow of things through one’s world, which is not under one’s control. One is only creating more frustration for oneself when one tries to control what can’t be controlled. When one attaches oneself to things, one is emotionally reinforcing one’s personal self-concept, which is always created in an emotional relationship of one’s personal self-concept to the concept of another.

Surrender deals with the primitive survival emotions of fear and desire. One also has to deal with the social emotions of emotional attachments. The only way one can deconstruct one’s personal self-concept is if one stops expressing personally biased survival emotions, which one does through a process of surrender and emotional detachment. One surrenders so one can lose the self-defensive personal bias of primitive survival emotions. One detaches oneself from things so one can lose the personal bias of the social emotions of emotional attachments.

When one severs an emotional attachment, it always feels like something dies inside since part of one’s personal self-concept dies away. One can only awaken if one’s personal self-concept dies away since that’s the only way one can lose one’s personal bias in one’s focus of attention, and that can only happen if one stops expressing personally biased survival emotions. One can only do that by surrendering to divine will and severing one’s emotional attachments to things. That is the only way one can free one’s focus of attention from that state of personal bias.

Focus and intent. To awaken, one’s attention needs to be free from personal bias, which means it needs to be free of a personal self-concept. This is necessary so that one can shift the focus of one’s attention away from the world one perceives and on one’s own sense of being present. One’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at the center of the world one perceives is the only true thing one can ever know about oneself. That is where one has to focus one’s attention if one is to awaken to the truth of what one really is. This is where one has to be serious about the awakening process. One has to focus one’s time, energy and attention on the awakening process like a laser beam with a clear and unconflicted intent. One has to discipline one’s focus of attention and stop it from wandering around in an aimless way. One must lose personal bias in one’s focus of attention so one can shift one’s attention away from the world one perceives and stop getting lost in worldly distractions. One must lose personal bias in one’s focus of attention so one can shift one’s attention away from one’s body and stop being immersed in body desires. One must lose personal bias in one’s focus of attention so one can shift one’s attention away from one’s mind and stop getting lost in the self-referential thoughts that one thinks about one’s personal self and the world within which that personal self appears to live.

Look within: One must lose one’s personal bias in one’s focus of attention so one can shift one’s attention away from all this stuff that really has nothing to do with what one really is and look within. One must refocus one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present, which is the only true thing one can ever know about what one really is. One has to see one’s personal self-concept to be an illusion of what one is and lose interest in paying attention to that illusion so that one can shift one’s focus of attention onto one’s own sense of being present. One can only withdraw one’s attention away from one’s personal self-concept when one sees it to be an illusion of what one is and one loses interest in paying attention to that illusion. One sees it to be an illusion when one withdraws the emotional energy of the survival emotions that energize it, which one does as one surrenders to divine will and severs emotional attachments. When one surrenders and lets go, one does not hold onto anything or try to control anything. One stops interfering with the normal flow of things and stops trying to direct events or control things. One stops trying to defend oneself, since one sees one is only defending an illusion of what one is. One is only defending the survival of one’s personal self, which is no more real than a character in the movie of the world one is watching. One sees that one is always out in the movie audience. One knows oneself to be a spiritual presence of consciousness that is only watching the movie. One’s true spiritual being needs no defense since its existence is never threatened by whatever appears to happen in the movie.

In this deep state of surrender and let go, one just allows things to play out in the normal way and to come and go in the world in the normal flow of things through that world, while one watches things happen from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment. One knows one is in a deep state of surrender and let go when one stops expressing survival emotions that only defend one’s character, which one must stop doing before one can awaken. That’s the process of losing one’s personal bias in the focus of one’s attention, which one must do before one can see one’s personal self-concept to be an illusion and lose interest in paying attention to it. Only then will one be serious about refocusing one’s attention on your own sense of being present so that one can know oneself to be nothing more than a pure presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world. The only true thing one can ever know about oneself as one perceives that world is one’s own sense of being present for it as a presence of consciousness. That is the only way one can awaken to the truth of what one really is.

To recapitulate, awakening isn’t about doing anything. One’s desire to do things is the problem. One’s desire to control things, to defend oneself, and to resist, fight against or interfere with the normal flow of things in a personally biased way is the problem. If one really wants to awaken, and that’s a mighty big if, one has to become willing to do nothing. One has to sit back in one’s seat in the audience, relax, and just watch as things play out in the normal way. One has to allow oneself to feel connected as the flow of energy through one’s body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things through one’s world. One has to stop creating a personally biased self-defensive emotional disturbance in that world that only leads to feelings of disconnection. One has to surrender to divine will and put one’s trust in the normal flow of things to sort out what is for the best. One has to give up one’s expression of personally biased self-defensive individual will, with its desire to control things and defend oneself, and allow things to play out in the normal way. One has to accept everything as it is every moment with no desire that anything be any different than it is in the present moment. The present moment is the only place one can ever find oneself as a presence of consciousness at the center of the world one perceives.

Surrender is the only way one can know oneself to be a spiritual presence of consciousness out in the movie audience that only watches the movie as the drama plays out on a stage. One sees that one is only defending an illusion of what one is when one defends a personal self-concept. One is only defending the survival of one’s character on the stage. The true spiritual nature of what one really is, which is one’s true spiritual being, needs no defense, since its existence is never threatened by whatever appears to happen on the stage. One sees this when one surrenders to divine will. When one sees this, one undergoes a death-rebirth transformation, as one’s identity dies to one’s personal self-concept and is reborn of the spirit.

To go further in the awakening process, one also must detach oneself from things. One needs to let go and stop holding onto things. When one severs one’s emotional attachments to things, one puts some space around oneself as one’s consciousness rises to a higher level and one sees things with a sense of distance and detachment. One detaches oneself from things so that one can know oneself to be a detached witness of things. As a detached witness of things, one knows oneself not to be a thing. One is not-a-thing that one can perceive. One knows oneself to be nothing but a spiritual presence of consciousness out in the movie audience that is only watching the movie as the drama plays out on a stage. One knows oneself to be nothing.

In the awakening process, one first has to surrender to divine will and do nothing so that one can know oneself to be a spiritual presence of consciousness. One then has to detach oneself from things and be nothing so that one can know oneself to be a detached witness of things. One then has to shift the focus of one’s attention away from one’s world and away from one’s character in that world and onto one’s own sense of being present for that world so that one can finally know nothing. Only when one is willing to do nothing and be nothing can one finally turn one’s focus of attention away from one’s world and character, look within, focus one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present, and look within into the emptiness of one’s own being. That is the only way one can awaken to the truth of what one really is and know nothing.

Shifting one’s focus of attention away from one’s world and character and onto one’s own sense of being present as one looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being is the key to one’s awakening, but one will only do that when one loses interest in the world one perceives and one’s character in that world. One has to see that world to be an illusion and one’s character to be an illusion of what one really is. When one sees the illusion to be an illusion and one loses interest in paying attention to an illusion, only then will one become willing to look within and focus one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness.

One has a choice to make. One can be interested in trying to save the world and defend the life of one’s character in that world, or one can awaken to the truth of what one really is. To awaken, one has to lose interest in that world and the life of one’s character in that world, and refocus one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present as one perceives that world. One has to know oneself to be nothing more than a spiritual presence of consciousness perceiving that world from the central point of view of that world. To know oneself to be nothing, one has to be willing to do nothing. To lose interest in that world and one’s character in that world, one has to see them to be illusions and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion, no more real than a dream one is dreaming. To wake up from the dream, one has to become willing to look within into the emptiness of one’s own being before one can know the nothingness that one really is.

One’s world only appears to be real because one focuses one’s attention on that world as one perceives it. Things in that world only feel real because one focuses one’s attention on things as one perceives things. One’s body is just another thing among other things in that world. One’s thoughts, feelings and memories are just more things among other things in that world. One always perceives that world and all the things in that world from the central point of view of that world. The things that one perceives in that world in reality are no more real than the animated images of a movie projected from a computer screen to the central point of view of one’s own world.

One can only perceive that world if one focuses one’s attention on that world. One must be present for that world, and to be present for it, one must focus one’s attention on that world. One is present for one’s own world as a presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world.

One’s world only appears to come into existence if one is present to perceive it as one focuses one’s attention on it. If one is not present to perceive it, one’s world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Both the form of things in that world and the flow of energy through that world that animates all things remain in an unobserved state of potentiality until perceived, and one must be present for that world as one focuses one’s attention on that world to perceive it.

One’s world only appears to come into existence if one focuses one’s attention on that world. Not only the form of things in that world appear to come into existence when one focuses one’s attention on one’s world, but also the flow of energy through that world that animates those forms also appears to come into existence when one focuses one’s attention on that world. When one withdraws one’s attention away from one’s world, one also withdraws one’s investment of energy in that world. When one withdraws one’s attention and energy away from one’s world, that world disappears from existence from one’s own point of view.

In terms of the holographic principle, the observer’s world only appears to come into existence when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. That is the only way the observer’s event horizon arises that acts as a holographic screen. The observer’s holographic world not only implies the encoding of qubits of information on the observer’s holographic screen that give rise to the form of all things, as those forms are projected like images from the observer’s screen to its central point of view, but also the expenditure of energy through that world that animates those forms. That expenditure of energy is inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Both the encoding of information on the observer’s screen inherent in the form of things and the flow of energy through the observer’s world inherent in the animation of those forms are inherent in an unobserved state of potentiality until the observer observes them, at which point they become observed in a state of actuality. For that state of actuality to actually be observed, the observer must be present for its world as it focuses its attention on its world.

If the observer is not present to observe its world, its world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Both the form of things in that world and the flow of energy through that world that animates all things remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. In terms of the holographic principle, the observer is no longer in an accelerated frame of reference since the energy of that reference frame is no longer expended. Without the expenditure of that energy, the observer enters into an ultimate state of free fall. In that ultimate state of free fall, in which no energy is expended and there is no acceleration, the observer no longer has an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen. In that ultimate state of free fall, the observer’s holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view.

In the language of nonduality, this ultimate state of free fall is described as falling into the void. When the observer enters into an ultimate state of free fall, not only does the observer’s holographic world disappear from existence from the observer’s own point of view, but the observer itself as a point of view at the center of its own holographic world also disappears from existence. When the observer is not present to perceive its own holographic world, the observer ceases to exist as an individual presence of consciousness with its own inherent sense of being present. This ultimate state of free fall leads to an ultimate state of dissolution, in which the observer’s individual being as a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world dissolves back into the void like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean.

One’s world only appears to come into existence because one is present for that world as one focuses one’s attention on it and perceives it. That world only appears to be real and things in that world only feel real because one is focusing one’s attention on that world and those things. When one withdraws one’s attention away from that world and is no longer present to perceive it, that world and all the things in that world disappear from existence from one’s own point of view.

Things feel real to the observer because things are animated by the flow of energy that animates everything in the observer’s world. The observer not only perceives the form of things, but also the flow of energy that animates things. The perception of that flow of energy feels real. That feeling of reality makes things appear real in the observer’s holographic world even though that world is only a virtual reality. That energy is inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. When the observer withdraws its attention away from its world, it also withdraws its investment of energy in that world. When that energy is no longer expressed, the observer enters into an ultimate state of free fall in which its holographic world disappears from existence.

When one is not present for that world and does not focus one’s attention on that world, that world disappears from existence from one’s own point of view. There’s nothing mysterious about the world disappearing from existence from one’s own point of view when one is not present for that world and no longer focuses one’s attention on that world. This happens each night in deep sleep. In deep sleep, one’s world disappears from existence from one’s own point of view.

Awakening is much like deep sleep, except with awakening, one not only withdraws one’s focus of attention away from one’s world, but one also refocuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present. As one withdraws one’s attention away from the world one perceives and no longer is present to perceive that world, one’s world disappears from existence from one’s own point of view. If one simultaneously shifts the focus of one’s attention onto one’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at the center of that world and keeps one’s attention focused on oneself as that presence of consciousness while that world disappears from existence, one is looking within into the emptiness of one’s own being. To know the absolute nothingness that one truly is, one has to look within into the emptiness of one’s own being while one’s world disappears from existence.

This experience of realizing the truth of what one really is, is experienced as falling into the void, which leads to the experience of dissolution. In this ultimate state of dissolution, one’s individual consciousness, which is divided from the undivided and unlimited consciousness of the void, returns to and reunites itself with its source. Individual consciousness, as it perceives its own world from its own point of view, is always limited in the sense that one’s perceivable world is limited. The source of one’s individual but limited consciousness is the undivided and unlimited consciousness of the void. As one’s divided and limited consciousness returns to and reunites itself with its source, it dissolves back into its source like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean. This ultimate state of dissolution is called truth-realization or spiritual enlightenment.

Osho has given the perfect description of spiritual awakening:

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

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

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

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.

Nisargadatta describes the presence of consciousness at the center of its own world, called I Am or the Self, creates that world when it is in a state of motion:

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 that nothing perceivable is real:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Nisargadatta describes the dreamlike nature of the world:

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.

Nisargadatta describes the role that the attention of consciousness plays in the appearance of the world:

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.

You make it possible by giving it attention.

You can stop it any moment by switching off attention.

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.

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.

Nisargadatta describes the illusion of control:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nisargadatta describes the connectedness of all things:

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.

Nisargadatta describes being present as a presence of consciousness in the present moment:

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

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

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.

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

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.

Nisargadatta describes the need for focus and intent and to be serious about the awakening process, which he calls earnestness or one-pointedness:

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

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

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 that externalization is the first step in liberation:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 consciousness itself is the source of everything:

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.

Nisargadatta describes the ocean of pure awareness that is the source of the perceiving consciousness of the 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.

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.

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.

Nisargadatta describes crossing the doors of perception:

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

Nisargadatta describes the door as the perceiving consciousness of I Am:

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.

Nisargadatta describes the experience of awakening:

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.

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.

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.

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

The 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.

The Tao describes the path of return:

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 Bhagavad-Gita describes the spirit in terms of Atman:

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.

Never the spirit was born,
The spirit shall cease to be never,
Never was time it was not.
End and beginning are dreams.

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.

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

The Tao 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

The gateless gate paradox describes awakening to the mystery:

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

Chuang-tzu has described awakening in terms of No-self:

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

Shankara has given the definitive description of this relation of Atman to Brahman:

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.

♦♦♦

Postscript: The Noble Truth of Suffering

The Buddha’s first noble truth is life is suffering. The Buddha went on to describe the cause of suffering and the path of awakening that brings suffering to an end. In the sense of discovering the path of awakening, suffering is good. Suffering is good because it leads to awakening, and awakening is good. When enough suffering has occurred, the ego gives up the ghost, so to speak, but the more correct way to say this is when enough suffering has occurred, the spirit abandons the ego. That’s how awakening occurs. Before awakening can occur, the arrogant ego has to be crushed into oblivion, and only suffering can crush the ego. Suffering really has nothing to do with unavoidable physical pain or the death of a living organism. Suffering is solely psychic in nature, and only arises from the ego’s desire to control events, hold onto things, have power over others, and defend itself by defending its survival in the world. Suffering arises from the ego’s selfishness and self-centeredness. The immature, insecure, resentful ego then looks for someone else to blame for its own self-induced suffering. This emotionally energized ego-structure is what needs to die for the awakening process to go forward, which can only happen through a process of surrender and detachment. Suffering is the motivating factor that leads to one’s willingness to surrender to divine will and detach oneself from things. That’s how the arrogant ego is crushed into oblivion and finally dies away. That’s how the spirit awakens from its dream that it is its ego.

Nisargadatta describes that a saintly life, which is an awakened life, is free from suffering, since the awakened spirit no longer takes itself to be an embodied person in the world it perceives:

A saintly life is free from suffering. The essence of saintliness is total acceptance of the present moment. A saint does not want things to be different from what they are; he knows that they are unavoidable. Everything happens as it does because the universe is as it is. He is friendly with the inevitable and therefore does not suffer. Pain he may know. If he can he does the needful to restore the lost balance, or he lets things take their course. What does he gain by living on and what does he lose by dying? What was born must die; what was never born cannot die. It all depends on what he takes himself to be.

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

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

Jed McKenna describes awakening in terms of ego-death as a means to no-self:

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. The caterpillar doesn’t become a butterfly, it enters a death process that becomes the birth process of the butterfly. One thing ends and another begins.

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 un-becoming 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Emotions are states of consciousness. Truth-realization isn’t a state of consciousness.

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

Spiritual enlightenment is literally 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 will kill to lose and must die to win. The great enemy is the very self that wages the war, so how can there be victory? When self is destroyed, who wins? Why would anyone, knowing the price of victory, undertake so senseless a battle?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ask yourself what you want, and what you’re willing to give for it. Dreams are highly flammable things. Not all fires are started by conscious intent. Sometimes they just flare up and then you learn two things fast; fire doesn’t negotiate and nothing doesn’t burn.

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

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

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

We live in fear of death. We don’t want to think about it, we don’t want to look at it, we don’t want to acknowledge that it exists. No matter how we might try to deny it, death is the fact of life. We can turn away from it, but we can’t push it away. It is always with us. Death is what’s left when everything else is gone. Death awareness is a vehicle out of the state of death denial in which we reside.

This isn’t about death in the abstract; it’s about death in the most personal, intimate sense. Death is the meaning in the dream, the dreamstate shadow of no-self.

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 is the dream-state shadow 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.

Ego as a structure of confinement is an apt analogy, but slightly misleading. Jails wall in, ego walls out. Whatever’s out there isn’t holding us in, we’re holding it out. We are our own keepers. We can open the door and walk out whenever we want. Of course, the thing one leaves isn’t just the prison of self, but self itself, so the freedom thus won is something of a booby prize.

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.

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.

Enlightenment is really nothing more than waking up from a dream. This is the dream. The question is, who is doing the dreaming and how do we wake up?

Realizing that you have no idea who you are is the beginning of finding out who you are.

“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.

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

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

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?

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.

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

I view dualistic reality as a dream.

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

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.

Suffering means you’re having a bad dream. Happiness means you’re having a good dream. Enlightenment means getting out of the dream altogether.

This is life’s wake-up call; misery, suffering, loss, death. This is where people are forced to get real and where understanding can occur.

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.

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.

Surrender follows naturally from seeing what is.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

For many sincere people, spirituality is a walk in the park on a sunny day, bubbling with pretty notions of peace on earth and good will toward men. Real spirituality is a savage insurrection, the oppressed rising up in a do-or-die bid for freedom. It’s not something people do to improve themselves or earn merit or impress friends or to find greater joy and meaning in life. It’s a suicidal assault on a foe of unimaginable superiority.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

It’s not fear of death that drives humans, it’s fear of nonbeing.

Maya is the intelligence of fear.

We spend our lives and our life-force cultivating and grooming our appearance in the eyes of others. That’s how we know that we exist. That’s how we know who we are. That’s where we find reassurance that we are real and not just hollow dream characters. That’s how the illusion is constantly maintained.

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

The only thing to get a handle on is negation-the tearing down process.

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. No baggage is carried because releasing baggage is the essence of progress. The pain giving thing is the thing removed; when it’s gone, so is the pain.

Lessons aren’t delivered as quaint little parables and allegories, but as irreparable losses; lesson after lesson, loss after loss. 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.

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.

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.

You are nothing but consciousness.

In the void of undifferentiated consciousness-awake is awake.

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

Eckhart Tolle describes the truth realization experience of falling into the void:

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

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

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

The truth realization experience of falling into the void is described by Zil Chezero as awakening from the dream, but is distinguished from the enlightenment experience of awakening within the dream. Enlightenment in the sense of awakening within the dream follows naturally from the realization experience 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.”

Bernadette Roberts describes the truth realization experience of falling into the void:

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

Later on in her book she discovers the writings of Meister Eckhart and comes to terms with what she has experienced:

The only mystic I know who says something about this step beyond union, beyond self and God, is Meister Eckhart. This could be understood as his breakthrough, his bursting forth into the Godhead, his crashing through to that which is beyond the idea of God and truth, until the soul reaches the beginning of beginnings, the origin or source. This amounts to saying that union depends on separateness. Beyond self this separateness no longer exists-an undefinable essential Oneness for which theology has no words. The difference depends on which side of the breakthrough we stand: whether the self remains, or whether it is dead and buried in the Godhead. Each side represents two different ways of seeing and knowing.

Roberts also discusses the difference between the mystical union of the self with God and the absorption of the Self into the Oneness of the Godhead or Source:

To speak of a union with God is orthodox, but to speak of an essential oneness with God-a oneness in God’s essence-is unorthodox. The problem is not merely one of description or semantics, but rather, one of experience, for with the falling away of the union of two, there remains only the clear identity of the One-the essential Oneness of the Godhead.

The first movement of life culminates in the union of self with God. The second movement culminates in no union-no self and no God for that self. In order to come upon God as he is in Himself-and not as he is in our self-there must be no self. There is no other way.

The root of the problem stems from the biblical statement that God made all things from nothing, and the disagreement in the interpretation of this nothing. Since absolute nothing is incomprehensible, it falls, like the essence of God, into the realm of the unknown. That this unknowable nothing turns out to be God is the final realization of the mystic. What flowed forth from God in the act of creation was some unknowable aspect of Himself. Thus if we were created from nothing it can only mean nothing knowable to the mind. Yet the experiential understanding of how this works is possible once self has fallen away. However we wish to interpret the nothingness or non-being from which we were made, it is difficult to justify any speculation that God did not make us from himself-his will or uncreated energy.

She then quotes the bible:

“He who seeks only himself brings himself to ruin, whereas he who brings himself to naught for me discovers who he is”. To this I would add that in coming to naught he will not only discover who he is, but what he is, for in God these cannot be separated. That he is, what he is, who he is, where he is, in God these are One, and outside this One, nothing is.

Eugen Herrigel describes 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.

♦♦♦

Awakening: The Self-Destructive Process of Disbelieving all the False Self-Limiting Beliefs Called Self-Concepts You Believe About Yourself

The experience of self and other can only arise in a subject-object relation as an observer observes some observable thing in its own observable world. Modern physics tells us that the true nature of the observer is a pure presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world, and that all perceivable things in that world are forms of information projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s body and brain are just more forms of information projected like images from the observer’s screen to its central point of view and animated in the flow of energy that animates everything in the observer’s world. There is only an illusion that the observer’s body is the basis for self due to the observer’s perception of the emotional energy that animates the observer’s body, which makes the observer feel self-limited to the animated form of its body. The mentally constructed and emotionally energized body-based self-concept is only an illusion of what the observer really is. That illusion is created as a belief that the observer believes about itself. The observer only believes that it is its body because it really feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body. The body-based self-concept is nothing more than an emotionally energized false belief the observer believes about itself due to its perception of the emotional energy that animates its body, which makes the observer feel self-limited to the form of its body.

In reality, the true subjective nature of the observer is a formless presence of consciousness present at the central point of view of its own holographic world. Everything the observer can observe in that world, including its body, is just another form of information projected like an image from its holographic screen to its central point of view and animated in the flow of energy that animates everything in the observer’s holographic world. The objective nature of all perceivable things are no more real than projected images, just like in a virtual reality. The observer’s body and brain, which are a part of that world, can only transmit and process information about the nature of that holographic world. There is only an illusion the observer itself is a part of that holographic world. That illusion is emotionally created as the observer perceives that world.

To awaken to the truth of what it really is, the observer must overcome that illusion. Awakening only becomes possible when the observer stops believing the false belief it believes about itself that it is its mentally constructed, emotionally energized body-based self-concept. Awakening is the self-destructive process of disbelieving all the false beliefs the observer believes about itself. Those false self-limiting beliefs are self-concepts. The body-based self-concept is always constructed in emotional relation to the concept of some other thing perceived in the world. Those emotional relationships can only arise out of the primitive self-defensive survival emotions of fear and desire and the social emotions of emotional attachments. To awaken to the truth of what you really are, you must disbelieve those self-concepts. Disbelieving self-concepts is the same as bringing the expression of self-defensive survival emotions and social emotions of emotional attachments to an end. You can only discover the truth of what you really are when the emotional expression of your self-concept comes to an end. That is how you stop believing that you are your self-concept. In reality, you are nothing more than the observer of your own holographic world. You are the non-conceptual presence of consciousness at the center of that world.

The problem of awakening is personal bias in the focus of your attention. Personal bias in how you focus the attention of your consciousness, which is what you really are, on the things you perceive in your world, leads to your emotional attachment to things and your self-identification with the form of a person, which is just another thing you perceive. Once you attach yourself to things and identify yourself with the form of a person, you feel compelled to defend the survival of that personal form as though your existence depends on it. Your personal bias in the focus of your attention, which leads to your emotional attachment to things and your self-defense of a personal form, keeps you self-identified with that personal form, which is why you can’t awaken to the truth of what you really are, which is the consciousness that perceives the whole thing.

The way you lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention is by surrendering to divine will. You put your trust in divine will to sort out what is for the best and accept every outcome as it is in the moment with no desire that things be any different than they are in the moment. You stop interfering with the normal flow of things, stop trying to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way, and stop resisting and fighting against the normal flow of things. You stop expressing personally biased emotions of fear and desire. When you surrender, you feel connected rather than disconnected. You can no longer emotionally identify yourself with the personal form of an emotionally animated body, but can only know yourself to be a pure presence of consciousness at the center of your own world with its own inherent sense of existence, its sense of being present. When you detach yourself from things, you no longer know yourself to be a thing, but can only know yourself to be a detached witness of things. You see things from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment. You see all things, including the personal form of your body, to be illusions and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. When you lose interest in paying attention to an illusion of what you really are and stop caring about that illusion, when you stop caring about defending the survival of that illusion, when you lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention, you are then able to withdraw your attention away from the illusion. You are able to look within, refocus your attention on your own sense of being present, and look even deeper into the emptiness of your own being. You have to look within into that emptiness to discover the truth of what you really are.

The world you perceive and everything in that world, including your body and mind, is no more real than a movie you’re watching. Instead of being interested in that movie, be interested in what you really are. You are the presence of consciousness at the center of that world. Your body and brain can only transmit or process information about that world. You only perceive an emotional feeling of being emotionally self-limited to the form of your body when you perceive that emotional flow of energy. That feeling of self-limitation can only arise when you express personally biased emotions due to personal bias in the focus of your attention. That’s why you feel self-limited to the form of a person. Stop expressing those personally biased emotions and you will no longer feel self-limited. You stop expressing those emotions when you surrender. That’s how you know yourself to be nothing more than a presence of consciousness at the center of your world. Detach yourself from things and you will see things with a sense of distance and detachment. You will see you are not-a-thing, but only a detached witness of things. When you see the illusion, you lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. You stop caring about what appears to happen in the illusion. You have to see the illusion to be an illusion and lose interest in the illusion before you can shift the focus of your attention away from the illusion, look within, focus on your own sense of being present, look within into the emptiness of your own being, and discover the truth of what you really are.

The insane ego, with its megalomaniac desire to defend itself and have power over others, can only create more frustration and suffering for itself when it attempts to control what cannot be controlled. The normal flow of things through the world is not under its control. The expression of ego can only create an emotional disturbance in the world when it tries to control what can’t be controlled. The insane ego really has no choice but to eventually destroy itself. The roots of its own self-destructiveness are inherent in the insanity of its self-defensiveness. The more self-defensive it becomes, the more self-destructive it becomes.

Ego is the presence of consciousness at the center of its own world, which is what you really are, falsely identifying itself with its mentally constructed, emotionally energized body-based personal self-concept, which is only a false concept of what you are. Self-identification is like a hypnotic spell that you are under. To awaken to the truth of what you really are, you have to break that hypnotic spell. To awaken to the truth of what you really are, you have to break that false self-identification. You have to see it as false and stop believing it. It is only a false belief that you believe about yourself. You only believe the lie because it’s emotionally energized and feels real. As you express personally biased self-defensive emotions and emotionally attach yourself to things and then feel compelled to defend those emotional attachments, you feel self-limited to the emotionally animated personal form of a body, which gives rise to your body-based personal self-concept. To break that emotionally energized personal self-identification you have to stop expressing those self-limiting personally biased self-defensive emotions.

Socially driven emotional attachments are as self-defensive as any primitive expressions of fear and desire. These are all personally biased emotional expressions that make you feel self-limited to a personal form. The only way you can stop identifying yourself with the form of a person is if you stop expressing personally biased and self-limiting emotional expressions. You have to stop defending the survival of your personal form, which is nothing more than an emotionally animated, self-replicating, projected image you perceive. You defend the survival of that image as though your existence as a presence of consciousness depends on it. To awaken to the truth of what you really are, you must stop defending that image and stop emotionally attaching yourself to things. That is the only way you can stop feeling self-limited to that personal form.

You have to stop feeling self-limited before you can stop emotionally identifying yourself with that personal form. That’s why you surrender to divine will and detach yourself from things. You surrender and detach yourself so that you can know yourself to be nothing more than a formless presence of consciousness at the center of your own world and a formless detached witness of things. You put some space around yourself so that you can see things from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment. That naturally happens when you stop expressing personally biased self-defensive and self-limiting emotions. You surrender to divine will and detach yourself from things so that you can lose the personal bias in the focus of your attention that leads to expression of personally biased emotions that make you feel self-limited.

You have to lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention before you can stop expressing personally biased self-limiting emotions, stop feeling self-limited to that personal form, and stop emotionally identifying yourself with that personal form. You lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention by surrendering to divine will and emotionally detaching yourself from things. You have to see that personal form to be an illusion of what you really are before you can stop being interested in paying attention to that personal form, withdraw your attention away from that personal form, and refocus your attention on your own sense of being present, which is the only true thing you can ever know about yourself. When you clearly see that the personal form you have mistakenly taken yourself to be is only an illusion of what you really are, no more real than an emotionally animated projected image you are perceiving, you naturally lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. That’s when you are really able to shift the focus of your attention away from that personal form and refocus your attention on your own sense of being present. That’s when you really become able to look within into the emptiness of your own being. That’s when you really become able to discover your true spiritual nature.

The spirit abandons its character when it sees its character is only an illusion of what it really is and loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. It stops being interested in the life or the fate of its character. It stops caring about its character. Only when it stops being interested in the life of its character, when it stops caring about the life of its character, when it sees that life to be an illusion of what it is, will it withdraw its attention away from the life of its character, refocus its attention on its own sense of being present and look within into the emptiness of its own being.

♦♦♦

Emptiness is Beyond Presence

When you surrender to divine will and stop interfering with the normal flow of things, you allow the flow of energy through your body to come into alignment with the flow of energy through your world. You stop expressing personally biased emotions and stop trying to control things in a self-defensive way. You feel connected rather than disconnected. Your identity dies to the personally limited form of a body and is reborn of the spirit. You know yourself to be a spiritual presence of consciousness at the center of your own world. You know yourself to be a spiritual presence with its own sense of being present. When you detach yourself from things, you see things from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment. You know that you are not-a-thing that you can perceive. You know yourself to be a detached witness of things. When you see things as illusions and lose interest in paying attention to illusions, you withdraw your attention away from things. When you lose interest in the illusory nature of things, you can only know yourself in terms of your own sense of being present and the emptiness of your own being. When you detach yourself from things and lose interest in things, the only thing left to know is that emptiness. In that emptiness, there is no center of self, there is only emptiness.

You detach yourself from things when you lose interest in things. You stop caring about things. You see things to be illusions and stop being interested in paying attention to an illusion. When you stop caring and lose interest, you sever the emotional link, let go and detach yourself from things. Letting go is a kind of death. When you detach yourself from things, those things become dead to you and you stop caring about them. Letting go is the only true freedom, which leads to the spiritual maturity of knowing what you really are, which is not-a-thing. You withdraw your attention away from things, turn the focus of your attention away from things, and look within. The only true thing you can know about yourself is your own sense of being present; your own sense of presence and beingness. As you remain aware of yourself in this way, fully conscious of what you really are, you look within into the emptiness of your own being. You must become willing to look into the emptiness of your own being, enter into that emptiness of being, and go into the emptiness fully conscious of what you really are. You have to embrace that emptiness to know what you really are.

That emptiness of being is beyond the sense of self, beyond the sense of being present, and beyond the sense of your own presence. If you look deeply enough into that emptiness, the spiritual presence of consciousness that you are falls into the void that is the source of what you really are. When you allow yourself to return to, reunite yourself with, and dissolve back into that void like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean, you know yourself to be that void of absolute nothingness.

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.

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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Final Postscript: Awakening is the Same as Dying

If you’re really serious about awakening, then you have to become willing to die. You have to accept death. You have to die before you can be reborn. You have to become willing to die, not at the superficial level of body death, but at the deeper level of ego-death. Your personal self-concept has to die away inside of you. It has to become dead to you. The way it dies away is when you detach yourself from things. As you sever your emotional attachments, your personal self-concept dies away inside you and becomes dead to you. At a practical level, the life of your character in the world you perceive becomes dead to you. You stop caring about the life of your character in the world and lose interest in living that life. You see that life to be an illusion of what you really are and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. That’s when you really sever the emotional attachment and become able to withdraw your attention away from the illusion. You have to lose interest in the illusion before you can turn around, shift the focus of your attention onto your own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world, and look within into the emptiness of your own being. That’s where you have to look if you are to discover the truth of what you really are. That’s what awakening means. When the illusion disappears, you discover the truth of your own being. Truth is what’s left over when the illusion disappears from existence.

Discovering the truth of your own being is the same as dying since the life of your character in the world you perceive has to become dead to you. That’s what it means to detach yourself from that life, lose interest in living that life, and stop caring about the life of your character. Dying is the same as becoming desireless. Your life enabling desire to live that life has to die away. You can only appear to live that life if you express the desire to live that life. You have to lose the desire to live that life. You only become willing to die when you see that life to be an illusion of what you really are and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. You withdraw your desire to live that life away from that life when you withdraw your attention away from that life. You have to withdraw the emotional energy away from that life. Your investment of emotional energy in living that life, which is your desire to live that life, is the only thing that animates that life and keeps it going. Without that investment of emotional energy, that life dies away. The way you withdraw your emotional energy away from that life is by withdrawing your attention away from that life. That’s when you first become able to look within and focus on your own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world. That’s when you first become able to look within into the emptiness of your own being. That’s where you have to look before you can discover the truth of what you really are.

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

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

Die while you’re alive and be absolutely dead. Then do whatever you want. It’s all good-Bunan

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One Last Personal Comment

Anyone who has read this article to its logical conclusion is at least open to the possibility that physicalism is a false paradigm. The question everyone has to ask themselves is why is there so much emotional resistance to this possibility? The resistance against rejecting physicalism as a false paradigm about the nature of the world is not based on logical reasoning, but solely on emotional reactions against this possibility. Where does this emotional resistance come from?

The answer is the ego. The ego or personal self-concept is entirely an emotional creation, as is well accepted in both psychology and neuroscience. The ego is mentally constructed as a personal body-based self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing. The personal self-concept is a mentally constructed self-image, while the concept of the other thing is a mentally constructed image of the other thing. These mentally constructed images must be emotionally related for the ego to appear to come into existence. The ego can only appear to come into existence, since these mentally constructed images can only be constructed out of what can be perceived in the world. The question the ego can never answer is about the true nature of the perceiver. What is the true nature of perceiving consciousness that perceives these images?

At a more fundamental level than the mental-emotional construction of the ego, the experience of self and other can only arise in a subject-object relation as an observer observes some observable thing in its own observable world. The holographic principle is telling us that the true subjective nature of the observer is a focal point of perceiving consciousness at the center of the observer’s own holographic world, and that the objective nature of all things in that world are only forms of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which only arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Those observable things include the observer’s body and all the mental images constructed in the observer’s mind. A body-based, emotionally energized, mentally constructed personal self-concept cannot be the true nature of the observer since that self-concept is only another form of information the observer perceives.

There can only be an illusion that the observer is a personal self-concept when the observer feels emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body. That emotional feeling of self-limitation is the only thing that can create the illusion that the observer is a person in the world that it perceives. In reality, the observer has its own independent existence as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world. That is the only logically consistent way to interpret the holographic principle.

The holographic principle is a hammer. All I’m doing in this article is hammering away at the logical inconsistencies inherent in the conventional physicalist way science is understood. I’m only hammering away at the logical inconsistencies inherent within science when science is understood in the context of a personal self-concept that is assumed to understand science. This of course is logically impossible, since a personal self-concept must itself arise from the logical structure of science to be a scientific thing. The critical thing to realize is that scientific things are all observable things. The holographic principle is telling us that the Self in the sense of the observer of the observable things is not itself an observable thing. The Self can only be a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world, which is not an observable thing. Only the Self can have its own independent existence, called I Am, independent of all the observable things the Self observes in its own observable world. The Self is aware of its own independent existence with its own sense of being present to observe that observable world.

The observable things are all a part of the holographic world the Self is observing, including the person in that world the Self mistakenly takes itself to be by emotionally identifying itself with the emotionally animated form of a person. To assume that a person is an observing Self is a logical contradiction. That is the logical contradiction in science I’m hammering away at. What surprises me is that more people in science can’t see that logical contradiction and don’t use the holographic principle to hammer away at it. I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised since the ego will believe any logical contradiction it has to believe to defend its own survival and apparent existence. Who wants to realize that their apparent existence as a person in the world they perceive, which is their personal self-concept, is only a holographic illusion? The answer is nobody.

People in science who search for a Theory of Everything are searching for an answer that has already been discovered. The answer is inherent in the logical implications of the holographic principle. The holographic principle as demonstrated by the AdS/CFT correspondence deduced from M-theory or in matrix models that utilize the geometric mechanism of non-commutative geometry gives a perfectly good scientific answer to the questions scientists are asking. The problem is that scientists ignore the answer because they don’t like the answer even though the answer is the only logical possibility. All the other answers they seem to prefer and look for are logically impossible. If they really were good detectives like Sherlock Holmes, they would reject the logically impossible answers and accept the only logically possible answer. When you’ve ruled out everything that’s impossible, whatever remains, no matter how implausible it seems, must be the truth. The true answer only seems implausible to them because they don’t like the answer, not because the answer is untrue. The answers they prefer and find more plausible are the logically impossible answers. If they really carried the logical implications of the holographic principle to its logical conclusion, they would discover what in Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta is called nonduality.

The concept of nonduality is all about the Source of the observable physical world and the Source of the observing consciousness that perceives that observable physical world. This is the part of the answer they’re ignoring. They’re ignoring the Source. If they were really serious about discovering a true conceptual answer, they would consider the Source. Ironically, no conceptual answer can ever really describe the nature of the Source since the Source is non-conceptual in nature. That’s why in Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta no value is given to any possible conceptual answer, but only to the direct experience of the Source. One has to go beyond conceptual answers to have that direct experience. Of course, if they really did that, there would be no purpose in their search for a scientific answer. They’re trying to answer a question that really can’t be answered, at least not at a conceptual or scientific level.

People in science who continue to believe in the physicalism paradigm have taken the blue pill. They’re unwilling to confront the unpleasant truth about the nature of their own life. They remain in a blissful state of ignorance and believe whatever they want to believe. They take the blue pill because they can’t give up or let go of their emotionally created beliefs. They’re emotionally attached to their beliefs. The core belief they can’t give up is their belief that they are a physical person in the physical world they perceive. The only thing that props up this false belief is the emotional energy inherent in the mental construction of this belief, which makes it feel real.

To take the red pill is to go beyond beliefs. To go beyond beliefs is to go beyond the expression of emotions that create all beliefs. That emotional energy is what animates the life of a physical person in the physical world one perceives and makes that life feel real. The core belief that one has to give up in order to go beyond belief is the false belief that one is a physical person in the physical world one perceives. To awaken to the truth of what one really is, one has to become willing to believe nothing. One can only realize the truth without belief because No belief is true. Believing nothing is a necessary step in the process of doing nothing and becoming nothing, which eventually leads to knowing nothing. One eventually knows the non-conceptual absolute nothingness that is the truth of one’s own existence, which is the truth of what one really is.

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The Process of Creation in a Nutshell: The Beginning and the End of all Creation

Any explanation for the process of creation that does not begin with consciousness as the primary independently existing factor of the explanation is bound to be flawed and logically inconsistent. The true beginning of course is the void, which is the primordial fundamental nature of consciousness, undivided, unlimited and unchanging. An observable animated physical world can only appear to come into existence if the undivided consciousness of the void divides itself into the perceiving consciousness of the observer at the center of that world and simultaneously expresses the energy that animates that world. The void is the potentiality to express that energy. The most natural way to understand how the void expresses that energy is with the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. That expression of energy places the observer in an accelerated frame of reference, within which an event horizon arises.

The observer’s event horizon limits its observations in space from its own point of view. The void is also the potentiality to encode information on the observer’s event horizon which then turns into the observer’s holographic screen. Non-commutative geometry is the most natural explanation for how qubits of information are encoded on a holographic screen, but there are other possible geometric mechanisms for encoding information on a holographic screen like M-theory and fractal geometries.

Once the observer observes its own holographic world, then everything that is observable in that world, including the mass of all objects in that world and the force of gravity that acts on those objects, is included in a quantum state of potentiality, and we’re finally back to the level of explanation of conventional physics. When a massive object appears to obey the law of gravity, it’s only following a path of least action through an information configuration space that is the essence of the quantum state of that world. That world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality until the observer observes it, at which point it appears to come into existence from the observer’s own point of view as an observed state of actuality. This is the standard interpretation of quantum theory as developed by Bohr and Heisenberg.

The observer must be present for its world and focus its attention on its world for its world to appear to come into existence. The presence of an observer at the central point of view of its own world is an absolutely necessary requirement for that observable world to appear to come into existence. Since the quantum state allows for the possibility of choice, the observer in effect can choose what it observes in its world and which path it follows through its world with its focus of attention on whatever it observes in that world. Everything an observer can observe is a choice the observer makes with its focus of attention. This even includes bending the law of gravity in the sense of the observer appearing to walk on water or levitating its body.

The whole concept of gravity, like the concept of mass or the concept of a person with a massive body that is subject to the law of gravity, only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until observed. The observer must observe whatever is observed for that observable thing to appear to come into an observed state of actuality. The true nature of the observer is spiritual in the sense that the observer is a spiritual presence of consciousness at the center of its own observable world. In effect, the observer is choosing what it observes in that world with its focus of attention on that world. The unobserved state of potentiality includes all possibilities. If the observer focuses its attention intently enough on levitating its body, that’s what it will observe, because that’s what it is choosing from the state of potentiality.

Whatever the observer observes is a choice, since it has to choose that possible observation from the state of potentiality, which it does through its focus of attention on things. If its attention is unfocused, then things tend to play out in the normal way, which in the sense of quantum probability is to follow the path of least action. The classical law of gravity is only a path of least action, but by focusing its attention, it can deviate that path from the path of least action and bend the law of gravity. If it intently focuses its attention on levitating its body, that’s what it will observe. As Morpheus tells Neo in the Matrix, the law of gravity is only like a computational rule that governs the operation of a computer. The observer’s holographic world is like a quantum computer, where every possible observation of that world is included in the quantum state of potentiality, including the possibility where the law of gravity is bent.

There is No Spoon

There is no other logically consistent explanation for the process of creation that is within the realm of modern physics and begins with consciousness as the primary independently existing factor. As a corollary, if the observer is not present for its world and does not focus its attention on its world, then the observer’s holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view and the divided consciousness of the observer must return to the undivided consciousness of the void. This happens each night in deep sleep, when the observer’s body dies, or when the observer becomes enlightened. Spiritual enlightenment is the natural end of the process of creation. When the observer becomes enlightened, it returns to the uncreated Source of its own existence, which is the absolute nothingness of the void. The uncreated existence of the void, undivided, unlimited and unchanging, is the alpha and the omega in the sense of being the beginning and the end of all creation.

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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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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.

♦♦♦

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