Joy beyond angst?

It is politically correct to assume a materialistic existence built on a series of microscopic random events unfolding in intransitive time. We live in the ship of our ego, afloat on an ocean of materialism. No wonder we are full of loneliness and fear.

Sigmund Freud observed that the more you avoid a fear, or abyss, the unhealthier you become. All of the mechanisms of dealing with unconscious pain (projection, avoidance, repression etc) simply lead at best to neurosis, at worst to psychosis.

The big fear, the monster lurking in the deeps is existential angst. The terror of nothingness inside the tiny baby inside each of us. How, then, to deal with that? It’s worth tackling, since our insecurity is rooted right there. The more secure a person is, then the more listening, creative, compassionate, generous, talented and capable of joy they are. Insecurity spawns withdrawal, narcissism, unhappiness and disconnection. So that horizons contract to world as prison.

How then does security arise?  Where do we find an ability to live in confidence? (Con Fides; with trust)? Some simply have faith. Probably they were securely attached as children. What about the rest of us?

Science is uncovering deep meaning at the most fundamental level. Experiments on matter at the most microscopic levels shows that existence is an infinite series of possibilities, potential – until observed. It is the act of observation that, in effect, crystallises out this particular existence from the cloud of possibilities. What then is this act of becoming, of creation that we are engaged upon together? . Surely there must be an “observer” to create this particular reality. Sure enough, our species are the most efficient engines of observation, whether through science or the arts. We each of us spend our life in observation (or as some would call it – witness, some knowledge). Interestingly our gathering of knowledge is escalating in a geometric progression. (Are we approaching Teilhard de Chardin’s “Omega Point”?)

It appears to me our purpose as humans is to be just this – engines of observation crystallising out existence; and we do this together. That puts the onus on us collectively. It is OUR task to work for “good effect” – rather than trying to live with our eyes tight closed against the fear that we float on a sea of random meaninglessness.

…and then comfort comes; and connection and joy. Atman replaces ego, and angst evaporates. Until we forget and have to realise it all over again.

Its Wyrd, Man

The druids and those before them believed in Wyrd. Fate, spinning and spun eternally by the three sisters sitting at the base of the tree of life. World interwoven and changing with tides and currents rippling through it. Reality as flow, connection, relation, context, love). New facets of our connected reality constantly emerging. The same truths at the base of Hinduism – and in Quantum Mechanics ( and Buddhism and Christianity).

Metamorphosis.  Water becoming ice. Caterpillars pupating, emerging into butterflies. We journey together into wondrous new states. Society has a reality separate from the individuals that it is made from. And we as individuals in turn have emerged as something new, from the molecules that constitute us now. We are co-evolving in a phase of emergence from one state to quite another.

Yet; mostly we think of the material world as static and secure. How strange. We manage that by focussing on short time segments.  Thus we ignore the riverine flow of rocks, the evolution from raw plasma to chemicals to biology to ideas; and  we are also blind to  “now”, the window to eternity.

Why? Fear, I suspect, is to blame. The terror, the existential angst that is located in our ego – which of course is definitely an ephemera. This is just a trick of light.  Look past the surface of the pool with its (reversed) image where  we see our “self” reflected. There, within the water, is the flow of life which is our home. We let our egos rule over us, when – just here, just now (always here, now), in the flow  of the universe is our real deathless self. As Rupert Brookes  puts it “..  a pulse in the eternal mind, no less”. Like Narcissus, we are transfixed by inner absorption rather than an awareness of all-that-is.

Hug your Fear

We can’t push it away; not now. What then?

Embrace it, honestly. If it’s there anyway then really look at it. Anyway I found that it led me to the inbreath of the joy which lies just beyond acceptance. Really. Truly.

This is a diary from the front of the war with fear.. (bear with the language, it’s influenced by Martin Buber’s little book “I and Thou” )..

“Consideration of any “thing” entails full exploration of its meaning, including all contexts and antonyms.

Fear is a context that shades meaning of each “thing”.

The unknown arises because  fear prevents its consideration.

Therefore fear, unlike joy, disgust or sadness, has to be subsumed in order that the unknown “thing” can be considered. That is, it must be seen as context, separately from the “thing”.

This perspective is achieved by accepting the worst feared outcome, by plumbing the depth of possibility.

Death is an antonym of, and also a context of life. The opposite is also true.

Fear of death is a surface reflecting our ego. It is a narcissistic mirror at the boundary of the ocean of existence. It’s reflective property is a barrier to our consideration of existence.

Fear of death prevents the conscious consideration of a deeper monster – existential angst – whereby we fear utter meaningless of infinite non-existence.

When existential angst is plumbed it is found to be a chimera, a confection of our ego; however it must be confronted and experienced for this this truth to be released.

It is by swimming naked in the infinite sea of potential meaningless that meaning emerges.

It is through integration with nothing that number and all “things” are realised.

It is through this mechanism that death is dissolved through a wider perspective, so that the joy of unification with “all that is” is glimpsed as the truth. “All that is” is synomymous with “the word existing beyond time”.

Some do not have to travel this path to truth. They are most often securely attached and live confidently (with trust). This is most often a gift from their parent, who held them in maternal reverie through their perilous crossing to the world of “things”. They are blessed”

Granular time?

Physicists say that matter is granular. Made up of tiny bits. Digital not analogue or seamless. Or so it seems? Though they seem to smash matter into smaller and smaller digital pieces and describe the smallest pieces now with equations imputed from shadows of reactions in tiny amounts of time. There is a unit measure of space – named after Max Planck – below which as Heisenberg has proved – we cannot see or measure. I wonder whether matter might be a little bit slipperier than physicists would have it? Is it possible, just maybe, that it is their search for certainty that is trying to fit it into bits?

And time? What about time. Is there then a granular unit of time. After all – as Alfred North Whitehead showed – Reality is a Process. Time is involved, within, each bubble of reality. Where materiality and spirituality are time in different directions applied to the reality-moment – now. But think about it – reality is, as Whitehead has it in the moment NOW. He points out that quantum mechanics implies that matter is a wave and that waves can only exist with time within them. So that he connects reality through time. Through moments of NOW.  But how long is NOW? Is there a reality quotient, a kind of atom of time that defines what is NOW rather than future potential and past material? I have no sense of Whitehead’s kind of maths or philosophy. Indeed I only have a tenuous grasp of his thesis – and most of that through Rupert Sheldrake’s synopsis in his excellent – The Science Delusion.

But even considering the widely read Buddhist inspired book – The Power of Now – leads you to consider surely – How Long Exactly is NOW. Is there a unit of time that is Now?

Just a thought.

 

Momentum and Reality

Reality is bound up with the present. This, according to Zen and as re-expressed by Eckhart Tolle – the Power of Now..

The present, now, is the door to reality and focus on the past and future distracts from the intensity of experience.

But…

How does that square with Alfred North Whitehead’s theory of relativity – where reality is a process and certainly not an instant?

It seems to me that the integration of these two concepts through the interpretation of the present – Now – as momentary rather than instantaneous. By this I mean to include the immediate past and the immediate future into a lengthened and extended instant. I think (though I’m never certain when trying to understand Process and Reality) that this is what Whitehead refers to as prehension.

It seems then that consciousness requires some element of time, that which immediately surrounds the instant in which we exist. It is observation that crystallises out the particular reality which we choose. (Bohr, Born, Schrodinger – the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics). The experience of reality requires the flow of time – to allow the immediate past and future to give context to the instant that is now.

Consciousness can then be described as observation surfing on time, and the fragment of time that surrounds the instant creates the moment in which we exist. Hence – reality as momentum.

Reality as Momentum

Reality is bound up with the present. This, according to Zen and as re-expressed by Eckhart Tolle – the Power of Now..

The present, now, is the door to reality and focus on the past and future distracts from the intensity of experience.

But…

How does that square with Alfred North Whitehead’s theory of relativity – where reality is a process and certainly not an instant?

It seems to me that the integration of these two concepts through the interpretation of the present – Now – as momentary rather than instantaneous. By this I mean to include the immediate past and the immediate future into a lengthened and extended instant. I think (though I’m never certain when trying to understand Process and Reality) that this is what Whitehead refers to as prehension.

It seems then that consciousness requires some element of time, that which immediately surrounds the instant in which we exist. It is observation that crystallises out the particular reality which we choose. (Bohr, Born, Schrodinger – the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics). The experience of reality requires the flow of time – to allow the immediate past and future to give context to the instant that is now.

Consciousness can then be described as observation surfing on time, and the fragment of time that surrounds the instant creates the moment in which we exist. Hence – reality as momentum.

The Corridor of Now

Dear P

I was also sitting in a coffee shop this morning. You came to mind, because I was pleased that I had obeyed you and was not in a faceless coffee chain. The barristars did their work (yes they’re that good at Peter’s Yard) and I mulled your last missive.

What is quietness? What does it allow. Thought, or experience? I opened the copy of the New Scientist you sent me – with the article – Does Now exist – and a question came to mind.

What is present? Surely it’s a vanishingly small thing. If you play music you need the notes before and after the actual one you are playing in order to add context. The note alone does not have harmony or meaning except as part of sequence (call that melody). So the Now of music at least stretches a little bit into the past. The whole piece – with it’s over all (Now) effect takes time.

I have found that it really helps to live in the present – and exclude worry about the future(s) and pollution from the past. But the Now that we live in is a kind of corridor, with a small piece of past and future in order to add context to the infinitely small present.

(I do understand that being present is a different thing from being in the present).

It occurs to me that one way in which we can define our life is the width of the Now corridor in which we live. Ultimately focussed and we are living in Zen. Extremely unfocussed and we’re tossed about in the material world created by time.

Is there a happy medium in which we can still enjoy a good tune?

Aye

D

Being present, in Yorkshire

My daughter gave me a book. “The Power of Now”. Motivation? Uncertain, but does it matter. It’s another jolt forward into a different understanding of the world. Real and vibrant life is in the present. Here, Now.

It reminds me strongly however of a philosophy of my deeply ingrained Yorkshire father. He would say “Open tha’ e’en lad” – as an exhortation to live fully. (Open your eyes, lad).

Don’t these add up to the same philosophy? Open your eyes, live – live now. Live vibrantly and in the present. The past and the future are a chimera and distraction.

A wise daughter and a wise father. Surrounded!