Yoga and Science II
The Bridges Between Matter and Spirit
by Swami Nitya
In last month’s article we talked how “old science” exclusively focuses on matter and sees only matter… matter being the lowest, densest vibration of energy (or existence); it excludes “The rest of the ocean and its many levels of currents” . Now what is new? What has changed?
Only a few will doubt that change came with Werner Heisenberg’s observation, of non-locality. Meaning in simple lay-language, energy seemingly disappears and then turns up in the presence of the human observer either as wave or particle. It meant that the human mind influences the behaviour of subatomic energies. That was a shattering, colossal insight.
It meant, matter is not out there by itself, unchanging and autonomous, but is in permanent interaction with the rest (through “mind”) – as there seem to be regular patterns it indicates , that there might be observable laws to this interaction, we can call these intelligence.
On the individual and sub-atomic level that is one thing, but if the same laws (as below so above) is applied wider - the very intelligence that influences intelligently patterns and laws makes what we know as fractuals at the grosser level.…Microcosm and macrocosm thus are influenced by intelligence, by what could be called a “the cosmic-mind”, or the omniscience of the “unified field”.
Intelligent energy on the gross level of existence, due to our limited instruments, we perceive as matter.
The focus on matter alone became the main perception and still now lingers as “exclusive materialistic science…”. However science after Heisenberg’s observation, sustains that we, and everything else appears to be intelligently connected and infinite! This means, there is something within each of us, - as us - which is not limited by space, time or death.
Here are two quotes, both by renown “modern” scientists.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature, and that is because in the last analysis , we ourselves are part of the mystery that we are trying to solve” (Max Plank)
“When we understand us, our consciousness, we also understand the universe and the separation disappears. “ (Asmit Goswami)
These perceptions, come close again, to science before the drastic split between matter and spirit; it is aware that: everything in our world is connected (and intelligently so) to everything else; consequently to understand the universe we must see ourselves as part of it, rather than separate. This led to the contemporary understanding of the universe as a Holograph; and further with Max Plank: That behind what we see as matter is “the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind!”
This in Yoga we call Hiranyagarbha! It means we are, part of this holographic cosmic mind/consciousness. As a result we are co-creators of this universe! What an awareness! What a “response- ability!”
If so we are indeed not delivered to the matter of a DNA chain (or any other “system”), but we create our own life in response to what is given (even with the DNA); we do that through interaction with life- energy around us… the currents of the ocean in which we swim!
This breaks the conventional wisdom, that we are separate of the world we live in, and cannot change it, nor the physical material existence of our selves.
This awareness of interconnection is part of many indigenous teachings, where creation is frequently described as a Spiderweb… (even though that still is a picture of one dimension). However to see the truth behind this wisdom, is empowering beyond our wildest dreams. If we free our minds from all its limiting patterns, we participate in consciousness permanently creating the universe.
Is this not the science of Yoga, the science of the mind!
Now I think we are really close to how Patanjali describes what a Yogi can achieve and how he can use his trained mind to effect, the material and subtle energies that express as world (this is ultimately talking about Vibhutis or Siddhis; see Dean Radin’s book: Supernormal).
Being part of this field means also, potentially eything we need to learn, to heal, to live is always with us. It’s ourselves that limit ourselves from the riches of the holographic universe. We are consciousness… we are the spark of the Divine Fire.. which of course is the same as the Fire…
It’s also scary, because it means everything we do, think, dream of, say, feel… effects everything and everyone. Which of course immediately makes us aware of the huge effect we have on life… much more than the modern “foot-print idea”.
Not just how much electricity we use, how much carbon-dioxyd we produce.. oh no… it’s how many obstacles we throw into the flow of the current of the ocean of life! Every grain of sand, every small behaviour effects the whole. Scary or what?
This also is a promise… a huge hope….
There is no locality in this “New science”! It understands what the mystics knew: all happens at all times, effecting everything. A single prayer….can change the course of someone’s life.
The evidence is there already! Increasingly since the eighties scientific studies have proved the effect of prayer or meditation (thoughts of peace) effecting the “world outside”. Here one pretty old and well-known example:
In 1972, - 24 cities in US experienced significant drops of crime rates, at those times when people meditated.
Similarly there was an international peace project in the Middle East at the end of the eighties, during the Israeli Lebanese war; at the time when people meditated, the rate of violence dropped significantly.
Furthermore recent studies on meditation have shown, that it actually changes the person’s brain, physically; and it seems that one of the main effects is on the amygdala; which is part of the limbic brain, that regulates emotions. It seems one of the biggest results is that people have less fear… (fear activates the amigdala and that irrelevant whether they are “in the state of meditation” or in their life in general).
So if you suffer from fears… here is the way how you can change your life… meditate!
Since fears are often related to stress – it doesn’t surprise really!
Here is another fascinating area. In old science the brain was a clockwork machine; it seems like they only looked at the neo-cortex –stuff and neither at the limbic brain (see afore) or the frontal lobes.
Recently I read that birds are actually superior in terms of brain -capacity than humans. How can they with their tiny brains? Well size is not everything.
The tiny bird-brain has to process a lot of stuff when the bird flies, and so birds have develop greater neuro-conductivity than we have, (i.e. faster and better information processing…) which comes from greater capacity of gyrification ( the folding of the cerebral cortex that may be associated with faster information processing; and makes our brain look like a walnut!) .
Now research at UCLA has shown that long term meditators also show higher levels of gyrification. In a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in February of 2012, they shared that, the more years a person had been meditating, the more gyrification their MRIs revealed.
Cool, so if you want to speed up your brain-computer… meditate more.
Another interesting part, where you can empower yourself to change your being, is by working on Neuroplasticity, meaning: change neural pathways and synapses which can change your behavior, your patterns of thinking and acting. This new understanding completely leaves behind, the old thinking…of matter being fixed. In fact we now know, the brain changes throughout life.
Neuroplasticity occurs on a variety of levels, ranging from cellular changes due to learning, to changes in the use of synapses and actual neurogenesis, creating new activity – including guess what - meditation!
As science discovers more and more ways how we can change ourselves, and our environment due to our interconnectedness… (i.e. all One). If all actions effect all others, then yes, of course, there are many ways how we can work towards change in our life; in society, in the environment etc.
The problem is we cling to the “IF”. ….even though these possibilities have been known by the Yogic scientists, and in some measure by the Shamans and scientists of the indigenous people, since thousands of years. This present return to a more holistic science, a more holistic understanding means we return to the path of evolving into a more human- human! Bruce Lipton has it that we actually, humanity as a whole, are on the brink of turning to the path towards a higher level of evolution. It has to come… or we stop existing.
It means, we as the human race: change or die…- very simple!
The turning comes from realizing that we are One. It’s not about the survival of the fittest, the greatest achiever, but the one that has left the separate, “single-cell individuality” behind and turns to - knowing, being, acting from the understanding that … “self-interest and planetary interest are one and the same”.
How to get there? He suggests to learn from our own cells.
The knowledge is in us all the time.. the wise of all ages have advocated a similar approach: look within!!
Beneath our skin live 50 trillion cells. Let’s say there is a continent of different inhabitants right in side us!
Each cell functions like a miniature human being. It has a membrane which acts like our brain; conventional science says, that each cell is programmed by the DNA; (like a computer, like our neo-cortext) matter orientated science has us believe this is a blue print, fixed by the moment of conception and determines our characteristics, traits , health issues etc.
However, now we know that environmental signals regulate generativity/creativity. It’s amazing, to think that epigenetics has it, that the reading of the blueprint can be done, in over 30 000 different ways. So nothing there that can even smell of determinism. Plenty of options! And who is responsible for activating – i.e. choosing… ? You! Well who is that you, is another question.
But what is clear is that the genetic material/ genetic predisposition - is not fixed, but in fact each cell, as well as each co-op of cells is a learning organism that incorporates life experience, i.e. it acts according to…30 000 possibilities for each decision. Wow!
Now see that as working with every cell in your body… the possibilities are infinite.
And the multitude of connections and possibilities allow to map, to react, to memories etc. the database is so complex, so infinite that in scientific terms we call it: Consciousness: i.e. “acting with knowledge” means, a state of “being awake and aware” and act appropriately. In terms of neurology, this is called neuroplasticity!
It sounds almost like a sentence out of the Yoga Sutras.
In a way it’s so complex its infinite…but in fairness one has to say there are scientists who consider consciousness, as an entity… with a gradient. They int to some more primitive organisms as being less conscious than in others; (it all depends what one understands by consciousness).
Consciousness as understood in terms of Yoga and spirituality is more of a state of existence. One that finds its highest expression in awareness of the SELF; or simpler: in self-awareness , found in the human being, in the prefrontal cortex!
Now here is something that I like to ask:
There is all this research on effects of meditation on the outside and inside the brain etc. Why has no one attempted to see what meditation does to this vital higher part for human evolution - the frontal cortex . Well if you know of some… or come across some I would love to know!
The self-conscious, prefrontal mind is the expression of free will; of single pointedness , focus and concentration and a desire for something higher. No surprise ancient artists portrait the icons with a third eye!
Now let’s go back to the trillion cells under our skin. We can learn from them, that they are intelligent and willing to change! They are willing and ready to adapt to whatever need be! What else? They co-operate!!! From the first cell division, the cells in your body co-operate, they don’t kill each other …well in a healthy body. In fact they work together as one organism!
Each cell has a different Job (some are liver cells, some are cells in muscles, some are juices, some are solid bone cells. They all are different, yet they are the same, they function in a multitude of diversity, yet they are all in the service of the one body. This is one of the lessons of our cells…that the new science has brought to us…Life does not limit itself to a DNA - no it flourishes on co-operation, on sharing information to ever greater complexity, ever greater knowledge and that from the beginning! Diversity and co-operation in total Oneness. Now the lesson is there, all we have to do is apply it!
I mean you don’t see your liver cells fighting with your lung cells, or your bone cells with your blood cells.
Or if they do, it is not long until the organism dies. This in the bigger picture is a simile for our world.
If we don’t find a way to live in harmony with each other….with the environment, in respect for diversity and knowing of the oneness… we will die ...humanity will die… rather than evolve to something higher.
This is the lessons your cells teach you!
Science is waking up to the fact that reality is infinitely more complex than it has ever envisioned , beyond any single theory or understanding available today.
This extended concept of reality must be an open system – where constant interactions and transactions take place; it must be understood as a force that lies between many layers of concepts, traditions, currents or stream of knowledge. It cannot thrive on a closed system – as in the past (this open-ness to generate is called the female principle).
Quantum physics has opened the door to a new Science…a new understanding, many dimensional understanding…but it must not become itself a closed door.
The amazing thing is that the new knowledge that is gathered, does not come from more discovery of the particles world, the world of matter.. in fact some scientists say.. that science is dead! It has nowhere to go anymore!
The new science says, just like Valery Hunt (herself a well-known scientist!) : “The new has to be … found in the minds of the scientists, who have given up their preconceived ideas about the physical world;
and reality as the overwhelming idea is about oneness of life impinged upon their consciousness . They saw that things moved without following the laws of mechanical motion; things moved disjointedly in a discontinued manner, jumping almost effortless between two places. …Physicists saw that what they used to measure data – actually “created” and determined what they found!”
She further writes:
It was discovered that when one extends material substances toward infinity, one comes up with not mass , but a process, an event, a relationship. One expects to hear such thoughts from philosophers, but from scientists...this can be a shock!...”
“Our thoughts seem to be part of “a universe of thoughts and that we can and do influence them. How strange is it to contemplate that at the deepest level, the world is more like a thought system, than material reality”.
Like the famous Mathematician James Jeans said: “The universe looks less like a machine and more like a thought system, in our times.”
Well nearly – not quiet. A universe of mind more like, since thoughts are humanoid limited manifestation.
Apart from Heisenberg, one of the most profound changes in modern thinking and Science came from Einstein’s concept of the “unified field”. It states that all matter is organized energy. Nowadays we have heard this often…but do we understand that it means the universe is a field of energy? It’s just as strange to grasp as when the Yogis talk about Oneness! In fact it sounds very similar… although some Sages would of course say: oh no it’s totally different.
But think, the modern scientists says, these energy fields and their different frequencies constallate/ or coagilate as a tree or a human being and moreover they are not defined as that, they have no hard and fast outline, they are fields of energies. Meaning: there are no firm boundaries to you and me… anyone who has even the slightest feel for Auras will verify this without a second thought.
Fields are everywhere, they are an open system, which flows in fields of different vibrations in and out of other fields of electromagnetic fields…
Just like the currents in the Ocean we talked about earlier.
These days Physicists study even the interaction of such fields … but when it becomes multidimensional, such as the complexity as the holographic perception we mentioned earlier…they humbly bow down.
Ultimately it’s just Beyond.. or better beyond our capacity!
Fields that are so big that they no longer seem connected as - or by - a substance are what Rupert Sheldrake classifies as morphogenetic fields, which linger; these fields can be of past events , leaving the energy pattern of the field behind long after the gross event changed, dissolved, ended. Or they can serve as communicating devices.. . in subtle hitherto called esoteric energies.
Learning itself - has such fields, Prigogine, a Nobel Biochemist showed that by introducing energy into such fields/systems they were changed. Which means energy effects energy, and is able to learn!
The fields or systems as we said are open, meaning they are highly interactive…
Meaning … going back to our mind.. our mind, our mind fields can be changed by introducing other energies.
No words needed… haha; learning can just happen! We know that; and because we know that, we go to visit the great teachers and spent time in their presence.
Furthermore this is the secret, the magic behind teachers teaching in silence…like Dattatrey etc. and at times the Buddha!
However, unwilling to change or learn, i.e. when a system or person loses this openness, energy becomes stagnant, and dies from within. Aarnold Tonbee analyzed twenty six past –civilizations.. they all unanimously, (so his result) – died because they had become closed systems! They became too protective of what made them originally great. They cracked and disappeared because of rigidity and sterility.
Is our civilization threatened by the same development? We spend more money on the military/on defense to unseen enemies… than on educating the children, or feeding the hungry. It means we are stuck, stuck in fear!
What is true for a society is true for the individual. We are energy-fields, our bodies are fields of electromagnetic, dynamic energy… not a closed system. We need to keep the flow…what interferes with the flow, becomes stagnant, what is stagnant dies from within.
Yes, part of today’s science is closer to looking at our bodies as an ocean; than looking at it, as a clockwork. Just like the universe…is like an ocean of energy with different currents different vibrating streams of energy – so are we.
We live in fantastic times, where the paradigms shift, where neither the human being, nor the universe can anymore be looked upon as gigantic clock with everything mechanistically determined , with parts one can exchanged.
We are, the universe is - interactive fields of dynamic energy, that flows in random patterns, always evolving to higher complexity. We are on a path of evolution!
Just as the scriptures say: “as above so below” and as Swami Rama says: evolving to become truly human!
What we know as truth, intuition, self-awareness, consciousness are all expressions of energy-fields, which however appear to us as matter…. Yet they move, as they flow, they transform, they always change. Nothing is fixed, nothing exists separate or in isolation. All is in one unified Field!
The amazing thing is, that this has another insight in its wake: the new approach to science means that, really we are not learning from the past.. . ! haha!
Basic truth does not arise from past information…accumulated over the last centuries. But…fundamental change is triggered by new insights which occur in leaps (or random choice, as a new buzz-word is) .
New birth, a new tree grows not from old wood; it comes grows afresh from a seed.
Many seeds spring up in the moment, post quantum theory, string theory, complexity theory, chaos theory…. Let’s see what tree will grow from it.
There is the wisdom of the ancient sages, we can ask them:
There answer is in the Chandogya Upanishad. Here, the student son ask his teacher (here his father) about describing what lies beyond our ordinary perception . The Father asked his son, to pick a fruit of the Pippaltree (a fig tree). Svetaketu, at his father's bidding, brought a ripe fruit and his father said to him:
"Split the fruit in two, dear son." "Here you are father, I have split it in two."
"What do you find there?"
"Innumerable tiny seeds."
"Then take one of the seeds and split it."
"I have split the seed."
"And what do you find there?"
"Why, nothing, nothing at all Sir."
Ah, dear son, the subtlest essence of this fruit appears as nothing to you. Even if you cannot see it with your eyes, it is present nonetheless; the Being, that is the essence, which pervades everywhere and is all things, the supreme reality! That is the SELF, which lies at the root of all existence. That art thou, Svetaketu." (Chandogya Upanishad).