“A person who only laments the past is a coward, whereas a person who can change the future is a true hero.”
~ Jackie Chan in Dragon Blade
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard
Forward, forward, always forward. Life is funny. Even the Bhagavad Gita states that the course of action is unfathomable. Yet, so many attempt to fathom it before we move forward, and judge it looking backward. Actually, I do not believe life can ever be understood by looking backward, though 20/20 hindsight certainly has its advantages.
In The Golden Frog, the idea of memory was addressed. Memory is more about perspective than knowledge. This world is the world of perspective. That is why it is called relativity. Yet we cling to our perspectives as truth and look for the Truth in everything. As Dylan sings in the song “Love Minus Zero”:
“In the dime stores and bus stations
People talk of situations
Read books, repeat quotations
Draw conclusions on the wall
Some speak of the future
My love she speaks softly
She knows there’s no success like failure
And that failure’s no success at all”
There are so many different understandings of Christ: who he is, what he is. As we refine our understanding of nature and existence, so too do we refine our understanding of everything. This includes our understanding of Christ. As we evolve, instead of rejecting our earlier notions of Christ, we do well to be open to a deeper understanding of Christ. I would think that even the most skeptical among us are open to the ideas of modern physics. Namely the idea that everything is born from the same one thing. We have only just begun to fathom the significance of that, and the insights it could provide to understand the spirituality of Oneness, the notion of the Christ.
Still, in a more humble sense, we can all embrace Christmas as a feeling of love, peace, and harmony we share. Whatever one’s level of understanding, the notion of Christmas offers us all a richer, more beautiful, and meaningful life. Regardless of our religion, intellectual understanding, or position, may we all feel into those values and come together during this holiday season to celebrate the tender beauty of life.
The laws of nature are very different on the surface of life as opposed to the depth. For example, on the surface, you are you, and I am me. We are separate. Whereas in the depth, we are all one. For that reason, behavior oriented around the surface of life can look very different than behavior oriented around the depth. It’s as if there are two different fronts that we are negotiating simultaneously. Proper behavior is a matter of the integration of the two.
When a person is disproportionally oriented toward one front or the other, imbalanced behavior is the result. For example, people may favor spiritual reflection with a love for the transcendental depth of existence. However, when they go out into the world, they cease to be practical or effective in the material world. On the other hand, when the imbalance is excessively toward the material world, behavior can become petty, selfish, cynical, and polarizing. Oftentimes, individuals may enjoy reflecting upon the spiritual, but when it comes down to living their lives, they disproportionally become superficially oriented. It is easy to be spiritual on the weekends, but how much do we retain as we live the rest of our lives? How wisely do we integrate the surface with the depth?
Those overly entrenched in the superficial front tend to become overly materialistic and cynical. Those overly entrenched in the spiritual tend to become impractical and unrealistic. Those living a life that integrates the two are often not recognized by those living a less integrated state. That usually is a matter of projection. People tend to project their value system, based upon their level of integration, upon others, and judge them accordingly. For example, the cynical and materialistic scrutinize the behavior of others, assuming they too must be equally cynical, materialistic, and not to be trusted. They spontaneously assume ulterior and selfish motives are at the root of others’ behavior. This is what we face as a society these days. Those immaturely spiritually-oriented judge pragmatic behavior as being superficial and not deep.
However, a life integrating the two is subtle. Attempting to integrate the two in an unsophisticated way becomes a matter of cross-realm projection (i.e., trying to impose the laws of nature of one front onto the other front). For example, just because we are all one doesn’t mean you give away all your money and abandon all pragmatics.
Proper integration of the two is a sublime and exquisite dynamic. It is a state of physiology, a state of being. The majesty of an artful navigation of life integrating those two fronts of life is not easily recognized or appreciated by those living a less balanced state. An imbalanced relationship between those two fronts precludes wisdom, maturity, and artful living. Such imbalance is the source of negativity (e.g., suspicion, mistrust, misunderstanding, hatred, resentment, judgment, polarization, and conflict).
Through meditation, as well as reflecting upon the nature of life and the nature of our own personal psychodynamics, we can cultivate a healthy, wise, and mature relationship with life (i.e., the integration of the surface with the depth). When feeling challenged in life, reflect upon the subtle nature of life. Aspire to understand the sublime relationship and harmonization between the surface and the depth. Aspire to wisdom. Aspire to a pragmatic relationship with the material world integrated with an unending adherence to the Divine.
Years ago, while watching the movie African Queen with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, a line in the movie struck me like a lightning bolt. Bogart justified his behavior by saying it was his nature. Hepburn’s character responded: “Nature… is what we are put in this world to rise above.”
A fundamental understanding of the implications of that quote could transform society’s perspective on human behavior, psychotherapy, allopathic medicine, and spiritual development…
This whole world is a world of imagination. It was all imagined into being through a play of Consciousness. So we have a very profound distinction between imagination and fantasy. Or maybe we would say “Imagination” with a capital “I”, and “imagination” with a small “i”, which is fantasy. But I prefer to say, “This is all imagined into being.”
There is an article we link to in the previous blog in which someone was asking Maharishi, “What do you mean this is all imagination?” and the article sort of downplays relativity. However, there is a foundational reality, which is the Transcendent, and then the self-interacting dynamic of pure Consciousness that structured the whole universe. All those different facets, those different levels, those different manifestations, are different realities. A table is real. It becomes more real because you can’t go around it, like that song says… “So high you can’t go over it, so low you can’t go under it, so wide you can’t go around it, you gotta go through the door”. The only way you are going to fathom this reality is to go through it.
It’s really beautiful, because even when it comes to bringing Transcendental Knowledge to this world, there’s a certain level to which you’ve got to go through this world. The opposition to that is the Rakshasa value, and so you have to contend with it.
For you as an individual, the time will come when you have the ability to dissolve this entire universe with the snap of your finger. But you won’t do it. Because, concurrent with the cultivation of that ability, is the awareness that on the Transcendental level, all is well and wisely put. I would say that a number of my students have the ability to perform miracles. But they won’t, because the time isn’t right. How did Maharishi put it? “If it wasn’t for world consciousness, we’d be able to fly through the air already.” Do you see how all of that connects?
One of the criticisms of Vedanta is that “the world is just illusion”. Christians and others use this to say that the Vedic tradition doesn’t care about helping people. This is untrue, of course. Quite often, they know that, but they don’t care.
The proper term in this context is not “maya” but “mithya” which was discussed by Shankara and others in Advaita. It is the proper approach to take in refuting this criticism.
This talk by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is good. But fortunately, we have been able to further explain the reality continuum, with greater fullness, clarity and rigor. Add in the fact that the continuum is in not just in the vertical, but the horizontal, and it gets even better…
A student read all of this and responded:
Thank you for sending. Once again, I am happy you are my teacher because your explanations are rigorous, concise, easy to understand, and they feel complete. They are integrated with both science and our everyday experience.
However, Maharishi’s talk helps me understand terms used in spiritual texts and by traditional spiritual teachers:
1) Imagination – Regarding a plant, “we accept its essence, and we accept the obvious face.… “when it is not what is appears, then what appears is only imagination.”
2) Temporary existence, no substantial existence – “We could only say about the world that it has temporary existence. It has no substantial existence. No substantial existence” because [it is] that which is changing…”
3) Real and unreal – “real means permanent” “…unreal means [that] which doesn’t exist.” “The world is…Neither real nor unreal.… That means, it has its existence but that existence is not permanent.”
4) This and That – “…Creation has been, and will be, and it has been temporary on the basis of that permanent field… and like that it will continue. That is why the real statement about the world is “This and That”.” “This is also true, and That is also true. This [cycle] is also eternal and That is also eternal.”
5) What I am – “This and That, both taken together is what I am.” “the “I”, the individuality belongs to both of them taken together – the material and the spiritual, both taken together.”
Consciousness becomes conscious of itself, and the notion of other is born.
The sense of separation between those two births space.
The continued, sequential unfolding of that process births distance and time.
Time and space are thusly intimately entwined.
As to the question: Why must there be an upper limit to velocity, i.e., the speed of light?
Answer: That need not be. But if there were not, the notion of distance, and therefore space, and therefore the notion of time, would not exist, and so there would be no universe.
Special relativity is just that simple.
Dimensionality, then, is dependent upon space-time.
Acceleration through space-time alters the experience, the nature of that dimensionality.
Theoretical physics first must understand nature. Then, the equations are found to express that nature in the language of mathematics. Trying to derive the nature of things from the math is a folly. First, nature must be understood. Then, the math is found to express that. The math then further clarifies the understanding.
Great things emerge out of ideas that were originally abstract. Think Newton, Watson and Crick, Maxwell, and Einstein, to name just a few. And now, think of the technology of the Transcendent. And furthermore, those ideas formed predominantly by individuals in their twenties and perhaps thirties.
You can take my teachings and come to understand them intellectually, and then file them away in a shoebox and decide you get it. Or, you can work with them to the point you find the truth of them deep within your own being. Only then can you truly live them. Only then do you truly understand them.