Today's text comes from two places in the 8th chapter of John:
"Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning."
"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."
Last time we explored the ramifications of infinity on the spiritual plane. Today we will look at the eternal now of the material moment. This may seem to be a contradiction, mixing the words eternal and material, but let me remind you of an idea I expressed a few weeks ago about the compromise we make with eternity while living and thinking in time and space:
"The apparent contradiction is not actually a contradiction; it's just like how, when we figure out how to say something, we're not really expressing truth as much as we are merely finding a way of articulating an expression so that our puny literal consciousness abilities can appreciate it. Likewise, an action is a, so-called, "elected invention"-- an action that is ultimately futile, but which we perform anyway, because, as Jesus says, we can see the reality even in the maya. In the Hindu philosophy all reality is maya, so all actions are maya; but Jesus says, "Yeah, it's maya, but it's also real, it's also there, and because of that we can validate it and cherish it give life to it, as yet another dimension of spiritual reality… Not a lower dimension but another dimension.In Steiner's own words, the passage goes thus:
At the end of the lectures on the Bhagavad Gita Steiner expounds the singlemost important revolutionary contribution Jesus made to the philosophical evolution of Humankind: Jesus proclaimed, for the first time in human history, that the Christ Consciousness, through His Divine ceremony and sacrifice, was made available to EVERYONE. Steiner makes the distinction between the Hindu principle that physical reality is maya, illusion, and is therefore to be transcended through renunciation, and the completely new affirmation of spirit IN THE FLESH that was the primary thrust of Jesus’ entire career."
"In the Pauline sense, we too speak of the maya which surrounds us. We certainly say: We are surrounded by maya: but we also say: Is there not spiritual revelation in this maya, is it not all divine spiritual work? Is it not blasphemy to fail to understand that there is divine spiritual work in all things? Now arises the other question: Why is that maya there -? Why do we see maya around us? The West does not stop at the question as to whether all is maya: it inquires as to the wherefore of maya. Then follows an answer that leads us into the centre of the soul — into Purusha: Because the soul once came under the power of Lucifer it sees everything through the veil of maya and spreads the veil of maya over everything. Is it the fault of objectivity that we see maya? No. To us, as souls, objectivity would appear in all its truth, if we had not come under the power of Lucifer. It only appears to us as maya because we are not capable of seeing down into the foundations of what is spread out there."
Thus, we can see that, rather than thinking of maya as of the "illusion of reality", it may be just as effectively be thought of as the "obstruction of reality". Maya--that resonance of Adam's Curse that comes between us and the spiritual truth of material existence--it is the curse brought upon the heads of Humankind by Lucifer. But lo! the mediation of the power of the Christ defeats Lucifer's spell. Through Jesus' incarnation and sacrifice, through His blood (the blood of Abraham) shed onto the face of Mother Earth, a completely new Human epoch was ushered in, an epoch of Heaven on Earth. An epoch inviting spiritual beings to experience their personal, spiritual reality, in the exact same moment they are enslaved by the limitations of mundane reality--time and the physical dimension.
According to Hindu philosophy and Buddhist philosophy, life is a veil of tears; Buddhist monks spend their lives renouncing the illusions of maya, and attempting to escape this veil of tears by sidestepping it, and, in states of deep meditation, entering the higher worlds of spirit; leaving their bodies behind, they travel the higher planes, as free souls, detached from their earthly identities, except by a slender thread, that pulls them back into their bodes when they have to do body stuff, like eating. Detachment is the key--to not become attached to anything physical; if you have no expectations, you will never be disappointed, and the higher vibrations of spirit will dominate your life--this, even if your whole life is spent in the dream of meditation that is ultimately as illusory as the dream of maya you are renouncing.
Jesus' affirmation of the reality of Maya is what makes it possible to sense the PERSONALITY of God in the flesh. Thus it is through the living sensations of our bodies that the I Am Presence can achieve reality in the mundane plane.
The Wallace Stevens poem, Peter Quince at the Clavier speaks of the immortality of the flesh in a very interesting and beautiful way:
"Beauty is momentary in the mind --
The fitful tracing of a portal;
But in the flesh it is immortal.
The body dies; the body's beauty lives,
So evenings die, in their green going,
A wave, interminably flowing.
So gardens die, their meek breath scenting
The cowl of Winter, done repenting.
So maidens die, to the auroral
Celebration of a maiden's choral.
Susanna's music touched the bawdy strings
Of those white elders; but, escaping,
Left only Death's ironic scrapings.
Now, in its immortality, it plays
On the clear viol of her memory,
And makes a constant sacrament of praise."
The speaker in this poem would have us perceive and believe in the body's beauty as an ideal; that "the body's beauty lives," as any archetypal entity lives, resonant with vibrations of the eternal; the immortality of beauty as a paradigm reaches across gulfs of time and unites the future with the past in an eternal praise. We have spoken many times of the moment when mundane reality becomes myth; in this poem myth becomes reality--so it goes-- spirituality goes both ways: from higher to lower and lower to higher levels of consciousness. We knew this--this is the dichotomy of maya--but it is not futile.
Jesus did away with the futility of human existence by affirming the spirituality and validity of maya; He says, "Of course the mundane dimension is an illusion, but, so what? What articulation of spirit does not fall short of the infinitude of its source? The fact that we are all tiny foci of an infinite personality does not make us insignificant, but rather makes us glorious realities in a universe in which levels of reality constantly intertwine and commingle!" That Jesus was Man and God is our inspiration not our condemnation! Jesus came into the world not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved!"
[Sidebar: The question of reincarnation often comes up in discussions of new age belief structures. There are hints in the New Testament that reincarnation was in the collective mind at that time as per the suggestion, in Mark, that Jesus might be Elijah:
Mark 8: 27-28
27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
Clearly, reincarnation was not unheard of in this time and place, but Jesus, Himself, never mentions reincarnation as a spiritual option--why should HE? If "before Abraham was, I AM."? The eternal now of the I Am Presence negates not the possibility, but the NECESSITY of reincarnation. Why should Jesus offer His disciples a second or third chance to get it right, if the idea is to enter into the I AM consciousness IN THIS MOMENT, the ONE AND ONLY MOMENT? The Eastern devotee attempts to escape maya through the renunciation of the material plane; Jesus teaches us to escape maya by EMBRACING MAYA--by experiencing the I Am identity embedded in the essence of maya. He teaches us to defeat the tainted infection of Lucifer's curse by raising our spiritual attention above the consciousness level of Lucifer's spell.
Nisargadatta Maharaj says the following:
"The seeker is he who is in search of himself. Give up all questions except one: "Who am I?" After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The "I am" is certain. The "I am this" is not. 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 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 realise that you are the limitless being."
One more quote from the Steiner Lecture V, The Bhagavad Gita and the Epistles of St. Paul ought to do it. In this quote, Steiner affirms that one's particular creed need not stand between him and the Eternal Now of the Christ Impulse--neither should it stand between him and other seeking Christians:
"We can go further and further in the Christian life and attain the utmost esoteric heights; but we must start from something different from what we start from in the Krishna-teaching. In the Krishna-teaching you start from the point you have reached as man, and raise the soul individually, as a separate being; in Christianity, before you attempt to go further along the path you must have gained a connection with the Christ-Impulse-feeling in the first place that this transcends all else. The spiritual path to Krishna can only be trodden by one who receives instructions from Krishna; the spiritual path to Christ can be trodden by anyone, for Christ brought the mystery for all men who feel drawn towards it. That, however, is something external, accomplished on the physical plane; the first step is, therefore taken on the physical plane. That is the essential thing. Truly one need not, if one looks into the world-historical importance of the Christ-Impulse, begin by belonging to this or that Christian denomination; on the contrary one can, just in our time, even start from an anti-Christian standpoint, or from one of indifference towards Christ. Yet if one goes deeply into the spiritual life of our own age, examining the contradictions and follies of materialism, perhaps one may genuinely be led to Christ, even though to begin with one may not have belonged to any particular creed."
It is the Presence of the I AM in the physical dimension that will occupy us for the remainder of this message:
As G.I. Gurdjieff says:
"It is only by grounding our awareness in the living sensation of our bodies that the "I Am," our real presence, can awaken."
From Peter Erbe, we find this deep remark. (Notice the introduction, into the argument, of scientific terms.) With this quote, we begin to encounter definitions of the I AM Presence in the jargon of the so-called "New Science":
"The rise beyond judgment allows love to enter. This highest of frequencies changes our physical bodies by way of a restored DNA. Thus each individual in that position becomes a transmitter of the most powerful electromagnetic frequency, affecting everything and everyone around him.
In summarizing this discourse on the balance of polarities, we say: God is All-There-Is, therefore God is ALL-encompassing. Whatever enters my realm of experience, must, of need, be God. How can I put different price tags on the various appearances of God? For the I AM in me is God. Thus I only judge myself by judging God. God is Pure Being, therefore innocent and so am I. Now I look 'out' into the mirror of Creation and see but myself and that is innocent, hence all of equal value. If witnessing destructive or discordant energy, I do not have to condone it, but I evaluate it as of equal worth to any other expression of Life.
Any experience, no matter how fearful it seems, when seen as of equal validity to any other manifestation, faced and embraced as of equal right to be, shall unify and thus release this fear in to the All-There-Is."
This DNA quote is of some interest because the implication is that eternity is embedded in the structure of DNA. How this can be so is not explicitly stated, but it is of some interest to speculate, once again, on the relationship of the material to the eternal. There is something eternal.
At one point, in the movie A Beautiful Mind, the heroine asks the mathematician, Nash, how many stars there are in the sky; he replies, "Infinite." She asks, "How to you know?" and he says, "I just feel it."
Neville Goodard puts it like this:
"Every conceivable situation that you could ever think of exists now as a fact in God but cannot be made visible to you until you occupy it, for you are God's operant power. Everything in this world needs man as the agent to express it. Hate or love, joy or sorrow, all things require man to express it. We glorify or condemn the man, but he simply represents a state which God entered knowingly or unknowingly and remained there until the state was externalized. Everyone is free to choose the state he wishes to occupy. You imagined yourself into your present state. If you don't like it, you must imagine yourself out of it and into another. It is all a matter of movement."
The idea of infinite material is a mind-boggling one because, "How can something which has a beginning and an end be infinite?" It's a very tantalizing thought to think that the Infinite is embodied in the material. Thus, Jesus' contribution to philosophy: that that the Kingdom of Heaven is here on earth, has even more substance to it as we contemplate the infinity of matter.
In the opening of his Hymns to the Night, the German poet Novalis paints a portrait of the I Am Presence as the waters moving on the face of the deep before the world was made:
"Before all the wondrous shows
of the widespread space around him,
what living, sentient thing loves not the all-joyous light -- with its colors, its rays and undulations,
its gentle omnipresence in the form of the wakening Day?
The giant-world of the unresting constellations
inhales it as the innermost soul of life,
and floats dancing in its blue flood --
the sparkling, ever-tranquil stone,
the thoughtful, imbibing plant,
and the wild, burning multiform beast inhales it --
but more than all,
the lordly stranger
with the sense-filled eyes,
the swaying walk,
and the sweetly closed, melodious lips.
Like a king over earthly nature,
it rouses every force to countless transformations,
binds and unbinds innumerable alliances,
hangs its heavenly form around every earthly substance.
-- Its presence alone reveals the marvelous splendor of the kingdoms of the world."
This poem was written around 1800. Indeed, the infinity of Now, in its "countless transformations" is not a new subject of philosophical contemplation; as human beings we must have been able to sense Its existence for untold eons of pre-history. However, with the advent of the so-called "Modern Age", in 1600, Man became conceptually dependent on the rigorous constraints of science as the ultimate authority on matters of material reality. Man was thereby blinded, for lo these more than 400 years, to the spiritual dimension of material being; thus religion and science were put into a position of unfortunate opposition. Fortunately, one of the contemporary fields of study that that goes hand in hand with the New Age Philosophy is the New Physics. The New Physics is forging stronger and stronger links between spirituality and physical science. One of the new concepts of the new physics that pertains to the I Am Presence is the so-called unified field.
Wikipedia summarizes the term as follows:
"In physics, a unified field theory, occasionally referred to as a uniform field theory, is a type of field theory that allows all that is usually thought of as fundamental forces and elementary particles to be written in terms of a single field. There is no accepted unified field theory, and thus it remains an open line of research. The term was coined by Einstein, who attempted to unify the general theory of relativity with electromagnetism. The "theory of everything" and Grand Unified Theory are closely related to unified field theory, but differ by not requiring the basis of nature to be fields, and often by attempting to explain physical constants of nature."
John Hagelin, Ph.D. in his YouTube presentation On Consciousness (1 of 2) says the following:
"With the discovery of the unified field, the so-called superstring field, we now understand that life is fundamentally one. At the basis of all life's diversity there is unity. In our basis you and I are one, and that unity at the base of mind and matter is consciousness-universal consciousness.
So with that deep understanding, that consciousness isn't created by the brain, it's not purely an outcome of mental molecular chemical processes in the brain, but is fundamental in nature; it's the very core of nature, call it the unified field. Now that we have that foundational understanding of what consciousness is, we can solve the mind/body problem-we can see how consciousness percolates up through our physiology to become the consciousness that we experience, see, the sensory perception of all of that. So there is a foundation now to really link, rigorously, neuroscience with quantum physics... What we've discovered at the core basis of the universe, the foundation of the universe, is a single universal field of intelligence--a field which unites gravity, electromagnetism, light, with radioactivity, with the nuclear force, so that all forces of nature all the so-called particles of nature, quarks, leptons, electrons, neutrons are now understood to be one. They're all just different ripples on a single ocean of existence."
On of the interesting demonstrations of the Unified Field Theory is the presence of Ergodic Systems of Natural Structure or Fractals. I have demonstrated the concept of ergodic system before with the following illustration:
a a a
a a a a a
i.e. one big a made up of a bunch of little a's. Thus, the smallest part is the same as the largest part.
In an ergodic system, we perceive levels on an infinite continuum; the smallest infinity is the same as the largest infinity. The smaller levels of the continuum of the I Am Presence are enfolded as fractal reflections of the ultimate level of cosmic construction--thus, each of us is a tiny corner of the I Am Presence, limited by the possibility of conscious appreciation, but unlimited in spirit.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"A fractal is a mathematical set that has a fractal dimension (a ratio providing a statistical index of complexity comparing how detail in a pattern (strictly speaking, a fractal pattern) changes with the scale at which it is measured. Fractals are typically self-similar patterns, where self-similar means they are "the same from near as from far". Fractals may be exactly the same at every scale, or, they may be nearly the same at different scales. . . .
There is some disagreement amongst authorities about how the concept of a fractal should be formally defined. The general consensus is that theoretical fractals are infinitely self-similar, iterated, and detailed mathematical constructs having fractal dimensions, of which many examples have been formulated and studied in great depth. Fractals are not limited to geometric patterns, but can also describe processes in time. Fractal patterns with various degrees of self-similarity have been rendered or studied in images, structures and sounds and found in nature, technology, art, and law."
Even Plato was not unfamiliar with the fractal phenomenon, as, in The Republic, he describes the individual citizen as a microcosmic version of the political state, consisting, as this paradigmatic citizen does, of the same division into parts and levels, as does the society as a whole.
An ergodic system (of which the universe seems to be one) is enfolded upon itself creating what is referred to, by the physicist David Bohm, as an "implicate order".
Wikipedia says this about Bohm:
"David Joseph Bohm (20 December 1917 – 27 October 1992) was an American quantum physicist who contributed to theoretical physics, philosophy of mind, and neuropsychology. Bohm is widely considered to be one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century.
Implicate and explicate order
At Birkbeck College, much of the work of Bohm and Basil Hiley expanded on the notion of implicate, explicate and generative orders proposed by Bohm. In the view of Bohm and Hiley, "things, such as particles, objects, and indeed subjects" exist as "semi-autonomous quasi-local features" of an underlying activity. These features can be considered to be independent only up to a certain level of approximation in which certain criteria are fulfilled. In this picture, the classical limit for quantum phenomena, in terms of a condition that the action function is not much greater than Planck's constant, indicates one such criterion. They used the word holomovement for the activity in such orders."
"The technical definition is that a hologram is a "three-dimensional image reproduced from a (two-dimensional) pattern of interference produced by a split coherent beam of radiation (as a laser)."Back to Bohm:]
"The holonomic model of the brain
In a holographic reconstruction, each region of a photographic plate contains the whole image
In collaboration with Stanford neuroscientist Karl Pribram, Bohm was involved in the early development of the holonomic model of the functioning of the brain, a model for human cognition that is drastically different from conventionally accepted ideas. Bohm worked with Pribram on the theory that the brain operates in a manner similar to a hologram, in accordance with quantum mathematical principles and the characteristics of wave patterns."
[Sidebar: Let us recall the several discussion we have had of Julian Jaynes' book The Birth of Consciousness in the Bicameral Mind. I'll be honest, I don't really know whether this idea is actually in the book, or whether I just kind of made it up from what I THOUGHT I was reading, but the idea goes like this: we have two brains, which are perceiving everything all at the same real time moment, but from slightly skewed perspectives;(remember our brains are cross-wired so that the left brain gets its input from the eyes and ears on the right side of the body, and vice versa). Thus, since the sense perceptions of the two hemispheres of the brain are separated by distance, they register slightly different things to our brains--different levels of intensities experienced from different angles. These slight differences in the two-fold perceptual experience of the bicameral mind interfere with each other creating crosstalk or, so-called, diffraction. And with diffraction comes the hologram; remember that a hologram is diffracted light light, bouncing off itself. So the these little waves of mentally generated electrons, projected by the radio transmitter of the bicameral mind, bounce off of each other, and consciousness emerges as a holographic representation of that energetic source.
Back to Bohm:]
"Thought as a System
Bohm was alarmed by what he considered an increasing imbalance of not only man and nature, but among peoples, as well as within people, themselves. Bohm mused:
"So one begins to wonder what is going to happen to the human race. Technology keeps on advancing with greater and greater power, either for good or for destruction.
He goes on to ask:
"What is the source of all this trouble? "I'm saying that the source is basically in thought. Many people would think that such a statement is crazy, because thought is the one thing we have with which to solve our problems. That's part of our tradition. Yet it looks as if the thing we use to solve our problems with is the source of our problems. It's like going to the doctor and having him make you ill. In fact, in 20% of medical cases we do apparently have that going on. But in the case of thought, it's far over 20%."In Bohm's view:
"...the general tacit assumption in thought is that it's just telling you the way things are and that it's not doing anything - that 'you' are inside there, deciding what to do with the info. But you don't decide what to do with the info. Thought runs you. Thought, however, gives false info that you are running it, that you are the one who controls thought. Whereas actually thought is the one which controls each one of us. Thought is creating divisions out of itself and then saying that they are there naturally. This is another major feature of thought: Thought doesn't know it is doing something and then it struggles against what it is doing. It doesn't want to know that it is doing it. And thought struggles against the results, trying to avoid those unpleasant results while keeping on with that way of thinking. That is what I call "sustained incoherence".Bohm thus proposes in his book, Thought as a System, a pervasive, systematic nature of thought:
"What I mean by "thought" is the whole thing - thought, felt, the body, the whole society sharing thoughts - it's all one process. It is essential for me not to break that up, because it's all one process; somebody else's thoughts become my thoughts, and vice versa. Therefore it would be wrong and misleading to break it up into my thoughts, your thoughts, my feelings, these feelings, those feelings... I would say that thought makes what is often called in modern language a system. A system means a set of connected things or parts. But the way people commonly use the word nowadays it means something all of whose parts are mutually interdependent - not only for their mutual action, but for their meaning and for their existence. A corporation is organized as a system - it has this department, that department, that department. They don't have any meaning separately; they only can function together. . ."Bohm views physical processes as determined by information of more and more subtle levels which interact, and does not limit this consideration to matter alone. In an article of 1990, A new theory of the relationship of mind and matter, he resumes his view that there exists a close link to mental processes: "the whole notion of active information suggests a rudimentary mind-like behaviour of matter". In his view, mental processes as well can be understood as representing levels of activity of increasing subtlety which act upon each other. He recalls that thought is intricately connected with physical reactions, as is known from everyday experience. Yet on the mental side, action as response to information need not be immediate; rather, in some cases at least, it can be mediated by "suspension" of physical action and the resulting train of thought. Bohm suggests that the mental and the physical sides, which he sees as two "poles" of a unified whole, are closely interlinked and that "at each level, information is the bridge or link between the two sides". A relationship between the mental and matter may exist at indefinitely great levels of subtlety, while nonetheless each kind and level of mind may have a relative autonomy and stability. His article concludes with the statement that
"knowledge of matter (as well as of mind) has changed in such a way as to support the approach that has been described here. To pursue this approach further might perhaps enable us to extend our knowledge of both poles into new domains"."
From Holographic Universe: Part One 36:6
"So. . . The " field " is a"place" outside of space and time where everything (all possibilities) already exists, but only in " wave" form. This field does not contain particles; it is not matter; it is not part of the physical universe. Instead it is what the entire universe is made from--from these waves of possibilities,
Fred Alan Wolf:" It's wave possibilities--it's a kind of thought wave-- and because it is a wave of thought possibilities, or not-matter, it's invisible to us. We can't explain what we do see is matter… Unless we picture that these particles somehow come out from or emerged from these thought wave patterns."
The fact that we are all tiny foci of an infinite personality does not make us insignificant, but rather makes us glorious realities in a universe in which levels of reality constantly intertwine and commingle! That Jesus was Man and God is our inspiration not our condemnation! Jesus came into the world not to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved!"
One of the implications of the I Am Presence resonating in the Eternal Now is this: that if we become more and more spiritually sensitive to the infinitude of the I Am Presence we should be able to get unstuck in time; I'm thinking of the Kurt Vonnegut novel Slaughterhouse Five in which the hero gets unstuck in time and passes freely from moments in his past to moments in his future, witnessing all, his birth and his death, many times. I'm sure that I spend a lot of time stuck in the past, and that's a bad thing, because I have a lot of bad stuff that cycles through my memories of the past; but I also find myself seeing into the future more and more often.
I see prophetic visions of good things that are going to happen, and I rejoice when my visions are realized, sometimes in very bizarre and unexpected terms. I feel blessed, and special, but I also feel that this ability ought to be the stock in trade of people who are spiritually attuned; the future should be just as available to us as the past, because the future is all one with the present-- especially when we pray to Jesus for guidance, advice, and direction.
Solutions to our problems are very often the answers to prayer--answers that anybody with a personal relationship with Jesus may receive. The I Am Presence should allow us, routinely, to make prophetic voyages forward into the future--voyages which must necessarily have an effect on things that we do now. Now, don't think for a minute that I imagine I could do this by myself -- Jesus is always the mediator; but I believe Jesus is a prophet and that He can prophesy things for us which will dictate proper actions in the present.
Why does He do these things for us? Because He is connected to us, He is part of us and we are part of Him--He loves us. Were you waiting for the word "love" to finally appear in this discussion? Well, I was--a long time ago I defined love as "that which connects us"; thus, we arrive at the conclusion that the I Am Presence, the Unified Field, and Love are all the same thing. Love binds us to the Father and to each other. Before Abraham was I AM, means that we are all one--that as a fractal reflection of the Father, I Am the center of the Universe which has no center.
Deepak Chopra says:
"Know that you have a center.
Know that you belong there.
Know that the path to the center takes no effort."
"Love is the absorption of all that is within the universe into the essence of I...As I am the giver of all that flows freely through me, it is to you...that love is given."
Let us pray: Jesus bestow on us your guiding illuminating love that flows out of the Oneness of all Being into the now of Heaven on Earth. Amen.