Non-dualism and the experience of dimensions

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Recently I have been exploring the world of non-duality. This is the pursuit of recognizing that our belief that we and everything around us are separate is in fact an illusion created by our mind as a result of cultural conditioning. The cultural condition here is the idea that if you cut an apple in two, then you get two separate pieces of fruit. The fact that this statement makes sense to you illustrates the cultural spell you are under.

Non-dualists point out that ‘apple’, ‘cut’, ‘two’ and ‘pieces’ are thoughts in our mind. These are labels that we learned as children that allow us to exchange that particular experience with other humans via speech or the written word. Since they are human labels and thoughts, they are of our own invention and not fundamentally real or true.

(I wrote a post on the dual nature of language that is quite relevant here.)

To understand why the idea that separate things are not separate for non-dualists, you need to understand that model of reality. Non-dualism starts from first principles.

I can only know that which I perceive through my senses.

Everything I perceive, i.e. see, hear, touch, smell or taste is a conscious experience in my mind.

That what we call a thing or an object, is an experience in our consciousness.

That what we call matter is an experience in our consciousness.

There is nothing, nothing at all that we can experience outside our consciousness.

Ergo, there is only consciousness.

Everything is consciousness.

Everything we experience, every thought, every emotion is in consciousness. Is consciousness.

Non-dualists liken consciousness to a field with no dimensions, nor limits, nor time. I say ‘ liken’ because field doesn’t quite describe it. In fact, the Tao which like Buddhism is fully aligned with non-dualism, says that consciousness cannot be described nor named. The Tao opens with:

The tao that can be spoken of is not the true Tao.

The name that can be named is not a true Name.

Nameless, is the origin of Heaven and Earth.

Non-dualists contend that our self is pure consciousness or pure awareness (both are synonymous in non-duality). Now, thought is an experience in pure awareness and it is thought that ‘names’ things. So ‘apple’, ‘cut’, ‘two’ and ‘pieces’ are thoughts in our mind  that are not pure awareness itself, which is a continuous unlimited ‘field’. Therefore it makes no sense to call things separate since they are no more real than the Loch Ness monster. Does the Loch Ness monster have yellow spots? Who cares.

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For me, the above makes perfect sense when viewed from a personal experience perspective. The next step is to see that we share the same consciousness needs a bit more reasoning. Suffice to say that we have no issue in agreeing that we all experience the same world. Since that world is pure consciousness, we share the same consciousness. And by the way, there is no world out there, or if there is, we can’t know it because we share the same consciousness so we can’t point at the same thing and use it as an argument that since we both see it, there is that thing out there, outside our consciousness. That would be true if we didn’t share the same consciousness, but we do. And we know we do because we experience the same things in consciousness. Q.E.D or alternatively, a circular argument. You decide.

The most wonderful thing about non-dualism is that it is experience based. It is not a philosophy but a description of an experiential model. There are many teachers out there but I like Rupert Spira’s down to earth experience centered video’s. Perhaps it is a lifetime of meditation on my behalf or the western centric language of non-dualism but it didn’t take me long to reach some level of self-realization. There are many levels all the way up to experiencing godhood but we don’t need to go that far to get a glimpse.

Since this is a Genetic Fractals gospel, I will focus on the spatial experience of loss of self. There is a lot that could be said about the overall experience of the loss of self and suffice to google self-realization, but here I want to relate the spatial perspective, simply because it links back to some ‘work’ I have done on dimensions on this blog.

What is it that which we normally call self? It is the belief that we are the collection of our past experiences, emotions, physical features, expectations, and relationships. Non-dualists contend that all of those features of ourselves are nothing but thoughts and none of them are our true self. The argument for that is that if you remove these features one by one, are you still you? The short answer is yes, you are fundamentally still you. Stripped of good and bad experiences and features alike, but still you.

Let’s consider that illusionary overloaded version of oneself. I think it is fair to say that there is a self-centered element to this. What matters is what I experience and what happens to me. Certainly, depending on our degree of selflessness, we will care about our loved ones, our neighbours and others that we feel some kinship with. But 90% is about ourselves. Did I eat? Do I have pain? Do I have a job? Do I have a house? Am I happy? And so on.

We don’t realize it, but our spatial awareness is strongly influenced by this self centeredness.  We look at the world from our perspective. I don’t mean a mental perspective but a physical and spatial perspective. We view the world from our eyes as if our eyes are at the center of experience. What happens nearby is more important than what happens far away. We are so used to being literally the center of our world that we think that this is normal. It isn’t surprising that pre-copernican people thought that the universe revolved around themselves.

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What if we displaced the center of awareness somewhere else? To use more common language, what if we took a different perspective? “Try and look at this from my perspective”, we often hear. This is a revealing exercise that you can try yourself. Look at a flower or a tree or any object in your vicinity and try to observe the world from their perspective. This is easier when you walk past it or around it. Your mind is capable of creating that perspective. The experience of essentially being that flower or tree is already quite a shift of awareness.

When we remove ourselves as the center of perspective, as happens when we reach a first glimpse of self realization, then our perspective shifts to everything around us. We get an omniscient awareness of the world. We experience it from every perspective at once, but not as in many viewpoints at once, but a single omniscient all embracing perception. Self realization is a lot more than such omniscient perception but that’s the part I’m focussing on here.

Now here is the strange thing, I had experienced this omniscient perspective before. When experimenting with dimensions I devised different approaches to experience the 4th dimension. Now don’t go all, “aaargh, from spirituality to 4D!”. I’m a mathematician, bear with me. Here is the deal with dimensions.

If you take a point, i.e. zero dimensional ‘object’ and you move it in time, you trace out a line, i.e. a one dimensional ‘object’.

If you take a line, i.e. one dimensional ‘object’ and you move it in time, you trace out a surface, i.e. a two dimensional ‘object’.

If you take a surface, i.e. two dimensional ‘object’ and you move it in time, you trace out a solid, i.e. a three dimensional object. This is why even on flat TV screens you can get 3D impressions in scenes where the camera pans.

If you take a solid, i.e. three dimensional object and you move it in time, you trace out a four dimensional ‘object’. Just like that.

Now, I put the word object between quotation marks because except for 3 dimensional objects, 0, 1 and 2 dimensional objects can’t be seen under normal circumstances. A point is infinitely small; a line is infinitely thin as is a surface. They are mathematical concepts. But a four dimensional is a 3 dimensional object in movement, viewed across a lapse of time, and can be seen. In fact, we often see it without realizing.

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One example is walking around a tree and looking the canopy into the direction of the trunk. With some trial and error, the brain is capable of seeing the tree from different angles at once, giving this omniscient perspective. Ordinarily we miss this because we are typically lost in thought.

This really surprised me. To find that the omniscient perspective that we experience through self realization is the same as the omniscient perspective when seeing a four dimensional object.

In principle, this sameness is without consequence. It doesn’t mean that the self realized experience is four or even higher dimensional perception. Nor does it mean that isn’t.

The only observation I can make with some certainty is that it isn’t easy to learn to shift one’s experience to an omniscient perspective. This might explain why self realization is for many an elusive pursuit. But there is method and it is being done by many and so it is possible.

Since this blog occasionally throws in some maths, I can give the shortest ever formula that will lead to full self realization.

=

Or in english: “is”, from the verb “to be”.

 

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10 thoughts on “Non-dualism and the experience of dimensions

    1. Experience does not need a starting point other than to be alive and conscious. I agree that there is a question of interpretation: is this self-realization in the Buddhist sense real (and if so on what basis) or is this just a self induced hallucination? I like the idea that a mathematical 4th dimension pops up here.

  1. I believe experience is self directed, determination is based on willingness to expand or conform to societal parameters. What frustrates me is the proliferation of internet jibber-jabber, utter nonsense spoon feed with intent to decimate independent thought and self determination.
    Years ago our family was on a road trip in the U.S. Southwest. Late afternoon, driving on a secondary road in Arizona, hadn’t passed a car or seen a person for over an hour, we pulled off the road to watch an approaching thunderstorm. Our children stayed in the van. Mesmerized by the storm, we were startled when a elderly Navajo man stood behind us and started talking about the storm. He spoke of Mother Earth, told us why she sent the storm and how it healed the earth. His words sang in the wind, truly the most honest and poignant experience of our lives. My husband and myself had tears streaming down our cheeks. As if waking from a dream, our children asked who was that man and why are you crying. Both of us turned around – the old man was gone. Gone as in vanished, not on the road, in the fields or traveling by car. We know it happened, our kids saw him, we heard him, but no one could recall him leaving. I hold that experience close to my heart. I don’t talk about, question or care to explain what happened. I’m not crazy, it happened and that is a beautiful thing.:)

    1. Thanks Notes, no question about you being crazy! I never told you my surname: Mulder. But unlike the X-files, I don’t want to believe; I want to understand. In this case, I absolutely believe you but I can’t understand it unless there is an underlying shared reality. As you say, don’t explain. Myself, I’m continuing my exploration for an answer. I have a few, they just don’t quite add up yet.

      1. Me – I cherish the inexplicable, and soar in recognition of the fact you are only the second person in 25 years I’ve shared this with. Much as I want to understand why this man touched us then evaporated into thin air, the experience served as a template for expanding the acuity of my definition of possibilities.

      2. Quite right. When an old scientist says something isn’t possible, it is better to go with young one who says he doesn’t know. To date, no one has ever produced a single definite foundation for thought. There are always postulates underneath it all. Feel honored to be the 2nd person.

  2. The original owner of company I work for passed away in 2010. His widow sold the business, but not the building it was in.A year later she had second thoughts and put it on the market. Every day for a week the realtor poked about with prospective buyers.One afternoon we all left around 5 pm, 20 minutes later our operations manager got a call from the security company – our alarm had gone off. He returned to find a side door not properly latched, took a look around and determined nothing else was amiss. Just as he was about to leave by same side door, a hawk flew in.

    The bird fluttered past him toward an inner door leading to the kitchen.The hawk moved from surface to surface – dish pit, counter-tops, stove tops, convection ovens – after 15 minutes or so it came to rest on one end of a tiered hand cart. Ops manager took hold of the cart’s other end and ever so carefully rolled it outside.Hawk flew away.

    Befuddled Ops manager stood there with his mind blown. Hawks don’t fly into buildings in the middle of a bustling city at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Hawks don’t live in the city!

    The next day he told the owner’s widow, expecting the same reaction he got from all of us.Instead, colour drained from her face and she started to shake.All of us knew her well, she wasn’t flaky or superstitious, none of us knew the one and only time she visited a psychic was at a friend’s insistence after her husband’s death.Apparently the psychic said her husband would watch over her in the form of an eagle or hawk.

    Call me crazy but hawks don’t enter buildings in the middle of a city.And if one did it certainly wouldn’t calmly make its way to another room then leave without protest.The deceased man spent 20 years of his life in that building, the kitchen was his office. The hawk went straight for the kitchen, one last look around before she sold the building.Crazy as it sounds, nothing else makes sense. 🙂

    1. Thanks for telling me these experiences first hand. They inspire and confuse at the same time. I have no doubt that the interpretation of the psychic and the widow are correct. The closest I get is meeting my deceased parents in separate lucid dreams. My rational mind could explain that even though it left me with a sense of “they are fine where they are” which my rational mind doesn’t like. But why negate the experience if it appears to be real?

      Your old man in the storm is going to sit with me for a long time, because I want to understand. I know that my rational mind has taken a few wrong turns because of cultural conditioning and therefore like Socrates, I know that I don’t know. But like Aristotle I would like to tell the two apart. My next post pursues that vain. Let’s see where it leads.

  3. Ah, such experiences of what often is only related in Paranormal circles, are more common than people like to admit.

    I have had my own experience of non-duality that totally blew my mind, and actually changed my life completely (Work, Relationship, Location, everything)!

    The focus of such experiences is to require answers in our limited concept of existence. While I welcome scientific validation and acceptance generally of such things, I do not require them to perceive our/my ability to experience all at once. I am you…You are me. We are little fractals of information that we call ‘life”

    1. I agree that these are very common. It is hard to imagine that there are people that don’t have these experiences, whether they realize it or are willing to accept it or not.

      Unlike you, I need to have a mental model of everything I experience. More precisely, if I experience something I don’t understand, it is a new field that can be explored. I will never miss the opportunity to the unknown and the not-understood. But I agree that if you don’t have such needs, the non-dual experiences are more likely to happen, simply because you accept them for what they are. No attachment and no judgement.

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