Unity Consciousness: Reflections on the Nature of Human Duality and Synthesis

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the school of Transcendental Meditation

The school of Transcendental Meditation (TM), founded by the renowned mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (who, incidentally, is probably best known for being a mentor to the likes of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, David Lynch and others), identifies seven basic levels of consciousness, as revealed to the adept in the meditation practice, in the Vedic tradition.

The first three levels are waking, deep sleep and dreaming (REM) – universally experienced by pretty much everyone. The four others are less widely known or appreciated. They may be described as follows:

Transcendental consciousness – which may be described as the pure silence of the deeper levels of the mind, beyond the superficial mental chatter that crowds waking consciousness. This state of mind is best experienced in a deep meditative state.

Cosmic consciousness is achieved when one becomes deeply immersed in the transcendental state, over time and a habitual meditative practice, to the extent that one is able to see through the illusory superficialities of the material world and appreciate one’s true self as eternal consciousness.

Beyond all these levels is “God consciousness,” in which one’s heart opens up to such a degree that one finds joy in the simplest of things and one is enamored by the beauty of creation.

Finally, at the pinnacle of the spiritual journey, achieved through a consistent meditative practice and internal reflection, is the experience of “Unity consciousness” – the rarest state of being that the adept can achieve – a state characterized by the ability to see through and past any form of duality or separateness and to perceive all of creation, all of reality, as an integral, unified whole – all aspects of a single state of being – an universal oneness. In this state of consciousness, there is only the “universal self” – there is no ego and no concept of “the other.”

Unity Consciousness – being at one with the universe

The idea of “unity consciousness” – a state of being more colloquially described as “being at one with the universe” – is hard to appreciate, for all the platitudes and clichés that tend to trivialize the nuance and subtlety associated with its deeper levels of meaning. It is a state of consciousness that we can all appreciate to some degree, because the human mind naturally tends to move in that direction. And yet, it is a state of consciousness from which the human mind is far removed, given that the human condition, such as it is, is fundamentally characterized by duality – one might even say, of alienation or separation from the self and others.

Insofar as we are slaves to the ego and to the superficial trappings of the illusory reality that we find ourselves in – insofar as we feel ourselves to be defined by labels constructed out of ego, ignorance and a limited comprehension of reality – labels based on religious, ethnic, cultural or geographic identity, for example – we remain divided from others and separated from our true selves. For at the core of the idea of “unity consciousness” is the notion that every individual – everything in nature, in fact – is a fractalline fragment in the vast mosaic of reality, or analogous to the crest of a wave in the vast, infinite, universal oceanic field of conscious energy that permeates everything and constitutes the fabric of reality itself – variously referred to as the “unified field,” the “zero point energy field,” or “God.”

Everything in nature is a fractalline fragment in the vast mosaic of reality

These may be difficult metaphysical concepts for the average layperson to wrap their head around, but, perhaps, it is possible to gain some appreciation for what “unity consciousness” really means when we gain a better understanding of what “duality,” its opposite, really means – notably, the duality that characterizes the human condition.

If I may be excused for contradicting myself somewhat by bringing up the subject of television in a blog about “out-of-the-box ideas” – in which I have previously explicitly equated TV with the so-called “idiot box” – I must note that the original Star Trek TV show is one of the few instances of really high quality, intelligent programming on TV – a show that took dramatic television to levels rarely achieved before or since. In some of its best episodes, the show addressed issues that few others have in the domain of popular culture, in ways that remain vivid and accessible to this day, more than half a century later.

A scene from the Star Trek episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

One of my absolute favorite Star Trek episodes, entitled Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, deals with two warring aliens encountered by the crew of the starship USS Enterprise. What makes these aliens remarkable is their distinctive physiognomy – they look almost identical, their faces literally being half black and half white – a line of division going down the center of their faces, seeming to separate the left and right cerebral hemispheres while signifying the yin/yang duality of their consciousnesses. And even as their individual consciousnesses are seemingly internally divided by this line of separation, so also are these two-faced beings perpetually at war with each other – perpetually at each others’ throats in a never-ceasing conflict that has continued unabated for over fifty thousand years of tribal warfare.

The aliens’ mutual animosity is completely bewildering to the crew of the Enterprise – especially when considering their distinctive appearance, which makes them seem to be identical twins – at least at first glance. Puzzled by one alien’s derision of the other as the member of “an inferior breed,” Captain Kirk wonders out loud how either of them could possibly consider the other to be any different from themselves. The alien bristles at this suggestion and interjects, “Are you blind?” The alien then points out that each of them is actually the mirror image of the other – not the identical twin. One of them is black on the left side and white on the right, while the other is white on the left side and black on the right.

A scene from the Star Trek episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield

This seemingly minor detail completely escapes cursory observation from a third-party vantage point, but has become an all-important point of differentiation to the warring aliens themselves – to such a degree that they are irreconcilable, generational, mortal enemies. Kirk, Spock and the others recoil at this realization – the expression of disbelief on Kirk’s face clearly suggests exasperation at the seeming absurdity and triviality of this point of contention.

Rarely have I seen a work of art, on television or elsewhere, that more profoundly captures the essentially dualistic and conflict-oriented nature of the human condition than this episode of a 1960s retro sci-fi TV show! Is this how alien visitors to our own planet possibly see us, especially when they come to recognize the underlying causes of conflict and dissension among human beings, which must be absurdly trivial and insignificant from their point of view?

That duality and division are fundamental to the human condition is evident in any study of history. The earliest literary and historical records recount sagas of internecine tribal warfare between rival factions. The Biblical story of Cain and Abel is one of the foundational myths of western civilization, recounting the tale of a fraternal rivalry turned deadly. Archaic societies as well as more recent tribal societies are frequently characterized by clan warfare. In American folklore and history, there is the Hatfield-McCoy feud of the post-Civil war era and the gang warfare between the Northside and Southside gangs of Prohibition-era Chicago. Around the world and through history, we continue to see this recurrent motif of warring factional dualities – from the Protestants and Catholics of Ireland, to the Shi’ites and Sunnis of the Islamic world, to the Hindus and Muslims of the Indian subcontinent, to the Palestinians and Jews of the middle east.

A scene from the Franco Zeffirelli’s screen production of Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet

One of the all-time greatest poets and playwrights of the western world – William Shakespeare – captured this condition of human duality – of humanity in a perpetual state of conflict with itself – most profoundly and movingly in one of his best known and most popular literary works, the play Romeo and Juliet. In the play’s depiction of the warring Montague and Capulet families of Renaissance-era Verona, Italy, the bard makes the profound observation that love is the antithesis of this condition of entrenched war and hatred that, historically, has characterized the human condition. Tragically, in Shakespeare’s drama, young love is no match for the deadly pressures of the ancient feuds that have ripped apart human society since time immemorial, and Shakespeare’s celebrated star-crossed lovers pay the ultimate price for their innocent dream of a unifying love.

Celebrated French philosopher René Girard

The renowned French philosopher and academic, René Girard, described this condition in human nature as mimetic rivalry. He observed that “mimesis” or imitation is one of the key, central characteristics of human nature:

All conflict, competition and rivalry therefore originate in mimetic desire (mimetic rivalry), which eventually reaches destructive stages of conflict both between individuals and social groups that requires them to blame someone or something in order to diffuse conflict through the scapegoat mechanism.

Wikipedia entry on René Girard

Girard’s key observation, in his earlier philosophical works, is that the deadliest of rivalries and enmities invariably arise between individuals or groups not so much because of their differences but, rather, in spite of their similarities. The deadliest of enemies tend to be identical to one another for the most part – but the relatively minor differences invariably become magnified into a point of major contention and even deadly conflict. This profound observation by the philosophical genius fits in only too well with everything we know about history and the human condition – duality and conflict are central to the human experience and have been since time immemorial.

When we realize this, it becomes evident that the idea of a “unity consciousness” based on Christ-like charitable love (or agape) and mutual empathy and compassion might represent a massive leap

forward in human evolution – as, in fact, suggested in the mysterious text entitled The Law of One, which was supposedly “channelled” from extra-terrestrial authorship, between 1981 and 1984, by a team of independent researchers – Carla Rueckert, Don Elkins and Jim McCarty.

It would seem that the idea of transcending personal ego through the practice of charitable love and forgiveness, aided by a sound meditation practice, is not merely the crux of a positive, healthy lifestyle, nor is it just a feature of 1960s hippy culture, of which John Lennon and the Maharishi were an indelible part. In fact, it may be the key to the next stage in human evolution – to rising to a higher “density” of consciousness – from the current level of “dualistic consciousness” to the higher level of “unity consciousness” – a state of being where there is no ego and no concept of “the other” and one which is, presumably, characterized by both hemispheres of the human brain working together in harmony with one another.

It must be noted, however, that esoteric ideas like these are invariably subject to distortion, misinterpretation and trivialization. Even as duality and conflict have characterized the human condition since the beginnings of recorded history (at least), so also have human beings sought to achieve peace, harmony, order and unity in society through any number of methods – political, religious, cultural, philosophical and educational all describing attempts to “civilize” human beings into living in peace and harmony with one another, to some degree at least. Some of these efforts have been more successful than others – the foundation of the United States of America being a relatively recent, relatively successful political endeavor, while the foundation of the European Union has, thus far at least, been less successful by comparison.

Legendary rock musician John Lennon

All that said, I am personally of the opinion that “unification,” in the mode of achieving an “unity consciousness” – and as expressed in John Lennon’s classic rock music ballad Imagine – must ultimately happen organically and spontaneously, from the heart. The fall of the Berlin Wall is one such event of human unification in recent history, in which divisions were surmounted through a spontaneous, organic, heartfelt movement of popular consciousness. Attempts to forcefully unify dissenting populations through the exercise of political dictates, military might or even rational debate and discourse are invariably doomed to failure. If the heart is not in it, any attempt at unification will, at best, likely be a tentative truce or cease-fire and, at worst, a potentially devastating, bloody failure.

Even so, despite a history of thousands of years of bloody conflict behind us, there remains, all the same, the promise of “Ascension” – of somehow rising above the petty, egocentric, illusory differences that divide us and finding true common ground and truly coming together as a species, from the heart, and ascending to a higher level of being together – achieving “unity consciousness” and a new way of living in harmony with each other and nature.

A Meditation on the Worship of Gold

Biblical prophet Daniel stands in defiance before the golden statue of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar while the Babylonians bow in worship (see Daniel, Chapter 3)

Since the beginning of recorded history, mankind has worshipped the metallic commodity known, colloquially, as “gold.” All other religions fade in comparison with the worship of gold. We create idols out of gold – most famously, the golden calf created by the Israelites who dissented with Moses following their exodus from Egypt, and who were severely chastised for their act of rebellion (see Exodus, Chapter 32). We construct elaborate mythologies based on gold – sometimes involving gold-mining extra-terrestrials, as seen in the creation myths of the Sumerians and Babylonians. We base entire economies and monetary standards on gold. We characterize our standards of excellence, metaphorically, as “gold standards” and we lavish our icons of extreme wealth with golden trappings.

Rebellious Israelites worhip the golden calf after the Exodus from Egypt

When Columbus landed in the New World, it is said (anecdotally), that the first priority that obsessed him was to scour the land for gold. The Spanish conquistadors in South America were predominantly motivated by the hunt for Inca gold. The mass migration of more than 300,00 fortune-seekers to California in the mid-nineteenth century was instigated by the gold rush.

Golden statuettes representing the ancient Sun-Bull cult

And yet, gold has no intrinsic value, per se, other than its bright, shiny color and its relative scarcity, and the fact that its value remains relatively stable over time. In the vein of an Einsteinian “thought experiment,” however, let us consider what might happen if the value of gold suddenly crashed.

The idea that the value of gold might, one day, suddenly collapse is not entirely fictional or fantastical. In relative proximity to the earth’s orbit, there are asteroids floating about in space containing more than enough gold and silver ore in them to permanently crash the value of precious metals on earth. Even as we speak, there are startup companies around the world that are making serious plans to explore deep space, beyond the orbit of the moon, and one of the primary ambitions and motivating factors of these space-faring enterprises, launched by Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and others, is to harness and mine these floating gold and silver mines.

Main nave of the Church of the Society of Jesus (La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús), a Jesuit church in Quito, Ecuador.

But have we seriously considered what such an enterprise, were it successful, would do to human society on earth? What would the collapse in the value of gold mean to centuries, even millenia, of religion, mythology and iconography, all constructed around the value of gold?

Author and scientific visionary Peter Diamandis, in his seminal book Abundance: The Future is Better than you Think, relates, in the first chapter, the fascinating history of another element – the metal aluminum.

He recounts the story of the initial discovery of the remarkable element, described as “a new metal, very light, shiny, almost as bright as silver” (Diamandis, Peter H., and Steven Kotler.  Abundance: the Future Is Better than You Think. Simon & Schuster, 2015., p.3). The metal was, apparently, extracted from clay, using a secret process, by an enterprising goldsmith, during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius (contemporary to the life of Jesus Christ).

However, the goldsmith was rewarded for his pains by being beheaded by the ruthless monarch. Diamandis notes:

This shiny new metal was aluminum, and that beheading marked its loss to the world for nearly two millennia. It next reappeared during the early 1800s but was still rare enough to be considered the most valuable metal in the world. Napoléon III himself threw a banquet for the King of Siam where the honored guests were given aluminum utensils, while the others had to make do with gold.

(Ibid., p.3)
The capstone of the Washington Monument, in Washington, D.C. is made of aluminum, once considered to be rarer and more precious than gold!

As recently as the early 19th century, therefore, aluminum was considered to be more precious, even, than gold! Diamandis continues:

While bauxite is 52 percent aluminum, separating out the pure metal ore was a complex and difficult task. … In 1854 Henri Sainte-Claire Deville created the first commercial process for extraction, driving down the price by 90 percent. Yet the metal was still costly and in short supply.

It was the creation of a new breakthrough technology known as electrolysis, discovered independently and almost simultaneously in 1886 by American chemist Charles Martin Hall and Frenchman Paul Héroult, that changed everything. The Hall-Héroult process, as it is now known, uses electricity to liberate aluminum from bauxite. Suddenly everyone on the planet had access to ridiculous amounts of cheap, light, pliable metal.

(Ibid., pp.3-4)

For Diamandis, there is a generic lesson to be learned from the story of aluminum:

History’s littered with tales of once-rare resources made plentiful by innovation. The reason is pretty straightforward: scarcity is often contextual. … Technology is a resource-liberating mechanism. It can make the once scarce into the now abundant.

(Ibid., p.4)

Aluminum products are now widely used as kitchen utensils, cooking foil, etc.

From the perspective of the thesis of this meditation, however, the story of aluminum represents a cautionary tale – the parable of a once-precious metal, regarded not so long ago as even more valuable than gold, but which is now “cheap, ubiquitous, and used with a throwaway mind-set” (Ibid., p.3) thanks to a series of technological innovations in the latter half of the nineteenth century!

Can we, nevertheless, even begin to fathom how disruptive it would be to human society if the value of gold suddenly crashed, as a result of technological developments, such as those described above? The difference between aluminum and gold is stark – while aluminum may once have been more valuable than gold, gold has had a deep iconic status in human culture for millennia – going back to the beginnings of recorded history, in fact – a status that aluminum simply never had. Thus, a collapse in the value of gold, or even silver, would not simply be hugely economically disruptive, it would be socially, culturally, and even religiously disruptive to a level that is currently beyond our ability to grasp! The truth is that, when all is said and done, let’s face it – the worship of gold is the real religious principle that underlies and drives human society, not so much the worship of any deity!

The Tragedy of Scientific Materialism

Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. (NASA, ESA/Hubble)

“Modern Science” may claim to be a methodology — a toolkit, as it were, to enable and empower one to separate truth from fiction — but, in actual fact, Scientific Materialism is a belief system rooted in an ideology — no different, in essence, from any other belief system. In this century, Scientific Materialism is the establishment dogma and is responsible for the marginalization and even persecution of competing theories, ideas and belief systems.

When establishment voices speak about the importance and relevance of “Science,” they are not talking about the agnostic scientific method, per se. They are, in fact, referring to the dogma of Scientific Materialism — a dogma that worships at the altar of the big pharmaceutical industry (aka Big Pharma), that denounces alternative medicine and alternative science as heretical, that venerates Darwinism and the doctrine of Climate Change (previously known as “Global Warming”) as its sacred texts, and that heralds the coming of its new messiah — Artificial Intelligence (or AI)!

The tragedy of this misguided dogma is that it is, in fact, a belief system rooted in blind faith, rather than a thought system rooted in critical, rational analysis (as it claims to be), and that dismisses sound evidence that may, in any way, contradict or undermine its core suppositions — namely that human existence is a purely mechanistic phenomenon, that the human organism is an organic machine that evolved purely circumstantially, and that consciousness is purely a product of random electrical activity in the brain. Thus, the high priests of this establishment dogma of scientific materialism feel justified in ridiculing and marginalizing alternative science, alternative medicine and any ideas, propositions, claims or theories that may call their core belief system into question. In so doing, not only do they contradict the very scientific methodology that they claim to uphold (namely, the one that claims to be based on observational evidence and rational analysis), but they are in the process of making themselves irrelevant and obsolete through the process of denial and self-deception.

In actual fact, the cutting-edge claims of the very science that they claim to evangelize and venerate so deeply — the claims of Quantum Mechanics, for example — completely undermine the core suppositions of the materialistic worldview — namely, that the universe can definitely be known as a coherent, solid, material certainty, that human existence is mechanistic and purely organic in its form, and that consciousness is purely a product of the brain’s electrical activity, with no connection to anything beyond or outside itself. The course of scientific research has, ironically, completely undercut and undermined its own core foundation — the scientific materialism that originally arose from Newtonian physics. The cutting-edge physics of Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, and beyond, appears to have more in connection with the pantheistic spirituality and mysticism of ancient times than with more recent Newtonian physics!

Unfortunately, the political establishment of the early 21st Century is still run by people educated in the Newtonian model of reality and have their consciousness immersed in that defunct mode of thinking. It will probably take a generational shift before scientific materialism will finally be dismissed for the obsolete dogma that it, in fact is, and the mainstream world embraces the cutting edge claims of Quantum Mechanics and, with it, the ancient claims of mystical practices and spiritual texts from the remote past that resonate with these new ideas.

Monsters in the Shadows

I recently had the most bizarre and unnerving dream. I dreamt that I was deep-sea diving, and that I was surrounded by inky blackness in the shadowy depths of the ocean. It was completely silent and dark everywhere I turned. Then, I abruptly turned on a flashlight and swung the beam of light around me. The beam of light revealed that I was surrounded by monstrous creatures hidden in the shadowy depths of the ocean – some with gargantuan humanoid-looking features, others, resembling whales or great sharks – all completely silent, immobile, observing, and completely concealed by the inky depths of the ocean.

This was one of the most unnerving dreams I have ever had. I suffered from a panic/anxiety attack that morning, after I woke up. At first, I was unable to determine the cause of the attack, but I was eventually able to pinpoint this nightmare as the underlying cause.

I was at a loss, initially, about how to interpret this dream. Given the almost impersonal, archetypal elements of this dream, I took it to be a “mythical dream” – a term used by Joseph Campbell in a lecture about Jungian dream analysis. But if this was, indeed, a “mythical dream,” then I had no idea what it must represent.

Then, as I was reflecting on the content of this unsettling dream, I recalled what I had recently heard and read about the pervasive cultural phenomenon known, colloquially, as “social media.” It occurred to me that social media was either being used by or was a front for massive corporate and government surveillance operations – that, according to some commentators, social media corporate giants like Facebook, Twitter, etc., are, in fact, fronts for government agencies like the CIA, NSA and others, and are designed to con the public into revealing intimate personal details about themselves for data collection and surveillance purposes – ostensibly to facilitate targeted advertising features on social media platforms but, possibly, associated with more nefarious hidden agendas.

While I don’t deny that intelligence agencies like the CIA, NSA, MI-6, etc., play an important role in policing the world we live in, so as to ensure a safe environment for all, especially for the most vulnerable among us, it is also true that these intelligence agencies have been linked, through rogue operatives, if not systemically, with some extremely ugly, nefarious activities including drug-trafficking, gun-running, sexual blackmail, child abduction and abuse, human-trafficking, mind control, etc. In fact, in recent news, with the arrest of the supposed “pedophile billionaire” Jeffrey Epstein, evidence has emerged of a likely connection with intelligence agencies like MI-6 and Mossad – that, in fact, Epstein was a Mossad operative, possibly working in conjunction with MI-6, on a sophisticated operation to entrap and blackmail politicians, dignitaries and other power brokers over intimate and revealing evidence of illicit and criminal activity, often highly depraved in nature, which was, apparently, secretly recorded at one of Epstein’s numerous facilities.

If these are the kinds of people behind, or lurking in the shadows of, such social media platforms or, should I say, “operations,” as Facebook, Twitter, etc., then we have reason to be deeply concerned and suspicious. I am not one to advocate panic or paranoia, but it behooves us to be aware of the potential risks involved with engaging in social media – the waters may be far from safe – indeed, who knows who or what may be lurking in its shadowy depths, silently observing us?

Beyond Religion: Metaphor and Message

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Religion appears to be getting to be increasingly relevant to the world we live in — by the day. The news is filled with stories in which religion and religious identity seem to play a crucial role — from stories about religiously motivated violence to those about end-time scenarios. While religion is a vital part of the human experience, the fact that it continues to become increasingly significant in modern, 21st century life, is surely cause for concern and speculation.

My understanding of religion is that it is, essentially, a metaphorical overlay on top of a spiritual experience of some sort. There are two fundamental layers or dimensions to religion — the metaphor and the message. The one — metaphor — is the linguistic or symbolic expression of the other — the message — which is the underlying spiritual experience conveyed by the religion. As I see it, regardless of the linguistic, symbolic or ritualistic trappings of a religion, it is the underlying spiritual dynamics that are really important in any religious tradition. In that respect, every religion is a different language used to describe similar human experiences and spiritual themes.

Cruelty, for example, is cruelty in any religion. Similarly, grace and compassion are the same regardless of the religious or cultural context. The same may be said about corruption, manipulation, deception, etc., which are universal human traits, attributes or experiences. They may be conveyed differently in different religious settings, but the core human experiences remain consistent across all platforms.

Every culture or religion has its share of unseemly institutions and depraved practices. Customs like polygamy, pedophilia, human sacrifice, cannibalism, the marginalization of minorities, the scapegoating of innocents, etc., are, in my estimation, inherently despicable regardless of their religious or cultural context, which may be diverse and wide-ranging. Some specific examples include the ongoing pedophilia scandal in the Catholic church, the historical practice of polygamy in Islam and Mormonism, the underground practice of human sacrifice in Satanism, and the (now illegal) practice of caste discrimination in Hinduism. From a sane, rational perspective, I think, we may be justified in condemning such depravities, regardless of their religious significance, and calling for, or even legislating, religious reform. By the same token, every religious or cultural tradition has its share of inherently positive, spiritually uplifting practices and messages — such as prayer, meditation, choral and instrumental music, chanting, service to humanity, charitable institutions, the arts, etc. From a sane, rational perspective, these are inherently praiseworthy, regardless of the religious or cultural trappings one may find them in.

A terrorist is a terrorist in any religion; an autocrat is an autocrat in any religion. Similarly, basic human decency is what it is in any religion. A saint or a visionary is who they are in any religion.

If religion may be described as a metaphorical/symbolic/linguistic overlay that describes certain fundamental truths about the human condition and spiritual experience, then, I would argue, religious fundamentalism is the result of placing inordinate emphasis on the metaphor, to the exclusion of the message. It arises when the linguistic constructions and symbolism of the religion override the underlying spiritual dynamics and human truths. Fundamentalism happens when the metaphor/symbols/language of religion become supremely relevant while the true meaning of those symbols becomes less important, or even unimportant. This is how you can have a situation where a religion preaching a message of peace, love and compassion can, at the same time, promote acts of hatred, violence, terror, and discrimination — all in the name of that same religion. Thus, in my humble estimation, when religious metaphor overrides the underlying message and spiritual dynamics — that is what ultimately creates divisiveness and violence in society along cultural, ethnic, and other sociological grounds.

I think that the important thing for religious people to keep in mind is to place greater emphasis on the underlying meaning and message of their religious tradition, and not so much on its metaphorical overlay or superficial trappings. I think it is the spiritual dynamics underlying any religious tradition that are of vital significance — for example, messages of grace, compassion, redemption and human upliftment. The language and metaphor, rites and ceremonies, costumes and pageantry, may be splendid to behold, but are, ultimately, far less important. From a sane, rational perspective, that is how one can, I think, get to the truth and restore the integrity of any religious experience or practice.

Mirror of the Soul: Masaru Emoto and the Messages of Water

In June, 1999, a Japanese entrepreneur named Masaru Emoto self-published a curious collection of photographs. They were images he had taken of water crystals under certain specific conditions. Describing his methodology in his 2004 publication The Hidden Messages in Water, Emoto states that after some trials with examing ice from a kitchen refrigerator under a microscope, he eventually built a walk-in refrigeration unit maintained at below freezing temperatures in which his researchers examined and photographed ice crystals in Petri dishes. He cites that:

I put fifty different types of water in fifty different Petri dishes…. I then freeze the dishes at -20° C (-4° F) for three hours in a freezer. The result is that surface tension forms drops of ice in the Petri dishes about one millimeter across. The crystal appears when you shine a light on the crown of the drop of ice. (Emoto, Masaru, The Hidden Messages in Water, Atria Books, 2005, Prologue)

Commenting on his prolific collection of images of ice crystals, Emoto noted that the results tended to be varied – never consistent. The forms, shapes and regularity of the crystals differed widely, and, sometimes, no crystallization occurred at all. At first glance, it appeared, the circumstances dictating the ice crystallization were completely random and unpredictable. But further experimentation began to yield some remarkable results.

Initially, Emoto discovered that “natural water” derived at source from “springs, underground rivers, glaciers, and the upper reaches of rivers” (Ibid.) tended to yield better results than urban tap water. In the latter case, there was little or no crystallization of the ice. By contrast, natural spring, glacial and early river water formed complete crystal shapes in the ice.

Prompted by his researcher, Emoto describes trying a new strategy – exposing his water samples to music before attempting to crystallize the ice. Using distilled water he had purchased from a drugstore, he would position a bottle of the water between a pair of music speakers while playing music for some time before refrigerating the water. He descibed his results as follows:

All the classical music that we exposed the water to resulted in well-formed crystals with distinct characteristics. In contrast, the water exposed to violent heavy metal music resulted in fragmented and malformed crystals at best. (Ibid.)

Emoto’s research team then experimented with writing words and phrases on pieces of paper wrapped around bottles containing distilled water, discovering that:

Water exposed to positive expressions … created attractive, well-formed crystals, but … water exposed to negative expressions … barely formed any crystals at all. (Ibid.)

The results of his experiments with photographing ice crystals led Emoto to make some profound observations. Emoto came to believe that “water is able to memorize and transport information,” (Ibid.) though he points out that “this suggestion has been met with complete rejection by the medical community.” (Ibid.) He proceeded to make the following profound observation:

Water is the mirror of the soul. It has many faces formed by aligning itself with the consciousness of human beings. (Emoto, Masaru, The Hidden Messages in Water, Atria Books, 2005, p.38)

Emoto claims that water, which composes around 70% of the human physiology, is, in fact, a profound, life-giving, mystical medium that has a subtle connection with human consciousness itself. Water is structurally influenced by a number of external factors – human consciousness, electromagnetic fields, music, fluid dynamics, contamination, etc. – and responds in subtle ways – ways that Emoto claims to have captured through his technique of photographing ice crystals created under various conditions.

The extrapolations of Emoto’s thesis, if verifiable, are profound. It suggests that water is not simply the “universal solvent” we know from laboratory experiments and with which we slake our thirst. While it is common knowledge that human life could not last more than a few days, at best, without water, it is, apparently, less well known that water seems to act, under certain conditions, as if it is alive and conscious itself. It appears, at least, to have a mystical connection to human consciousness in that it apparently reacts in subtle ways to such stimuli as human interaction, electromagnetic radiation, sound, flow, etc. These subtle factors appear to have a profound influence not only on the quality of the water we drink, but also on the very water in our bodies, and, by extension, our physical and mental health and well-being. Emoto believes not only that water can be “healed” through “healing prayer” and incantation, but that such water, in turn, has a profound healing effect on our own physical and psychological well-being.

Emoto suggests that water is a mystical medium that links the human to the Divine. Not only does it physically link all life, being one of the building blocks of life on earth, it, in fact, appears to be a reflection of human consciousness and the human soul in that it responds, in subtle ways, to human consciousness and the subtle energies and vibrations emanating from it.

Emoto came to believe that unless human beings come to realize the impact that human consciousness has on the water that surrounds us, we will inevitably poison ourselves by our own negativity – not merely spritually or psychologically, but physically, in a very real sense, by damaging and destroying the subtle, underlying structures in the very water we drink and that sustain life on earth. Emoto’s work is a wake-up-call to all of humanity to come to an awareness of how the human consciousness can affect reality – by either sanctifying or poisoning the very water we drink as a projection of our thoughts. Emoto’s message, clearly, is to change our ways and our thinking before we poison ourselves out of existence!

Thinking Outside the Box

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It’s a common enough expression, but what, exactly does it mean to “think outside the box?”

I suppose, the first thing to do is to define what exactly is “the box.” It might help to play a little game of word association to understand the connotations associated with the word “box”. One may think of constraints and limitations of some sort, especially in one’s thinking. To be “boxed in” is to be entrapped and contained. One may imagine a prison cell or a tiny cubicle. One may think of the pressures of conformity with the norms and conventions of society. One may think of a “jack in the box” a child’s toy with a glove puppet on a tightly wound spring compressed inside a tiny space, ready to pop up out of its confines with the flip of switch. One may think of the “idiot box” television the most widely deployed medium of mass communication in our society frequently regarded as a popular means for mega-corporations to perpetuate a never-ending doctrine of dumbed-down banality, conventionality, and mindless conformity and consumerism.

Each of these concepts associated with the word “box” are relevant and meaningful in their own way. Ultimately, we cannot define the word exactly, in this context it is defined by its connotations and associated iconography.

Once we have an idea of what we mean by “box”, the notion of something being “out-of-the-box” becomes pretty self evident.

Evidently, to think outside the box is to challenge convention and question the status quo. An out-of-the-box idea may be said to be one that redefines established paradigms of reality or one that takes one’s thinking to a new level a refreshing, life-changing, liberating, ground-breaking, paradigm-shifting mode of thinking. It may be said to be an idea that brings about enlightenment and new understanding instead of a sense of fear or entrapment. It may be described as a revelation or an epiphany, a fresh perspective or a higher vibration — in other words, an eye-opening experience. Some examples that readily come to mind include Einstein’s Theories of Relativity, Newton’s Laws of Motion and Kepler’s heliocentric model of the solar system – all of which were revolutionary, out-of-the-box ideas in their times which dramatically reshaped and challenged established paradigms of reality.

The point of this new blog is to highlight some interesting ideas I have come across that challenge convention and have had a dramatic impact on my life. These ideas are not merely new physical or mathematical theorems they are ideas from a variety of disciplines and spheres of thinking. Some of them are esoteric ideas that defy categorization into any modern university curriculum. Others are ancient modes of thinking that have been forgotten and have quite recently been rediscovered. They are ideas about the nature of reality, about human performance, about developing enhanced skills and abilities and about how the world really operates. The common thread running through each of these ideas is that they are intriguing, fascinating, profoundly unconventional and most certainly out-of-the-box. They have the potential dramatically to transform one’s life or, at least, to open one’s mind to powerful new modes of thinking and understanding if one is open-minded enough to take them into serious consideration instead of dismissing them out of hand.

It must be stated, however, that none of the ideas that I intend to showcase in my blog involve any ethical compromise or  violation of what I consider to be fundamental principles of decency and morality. They may, certainly, impel one seriously to question one’s framing of reality and expose the limitations of one’s modes of thinking. But I would never intentionally seek to promote any idea that I would consider to be a violation of some fundamental ethical principles that I personally hold sacred such principles as honoring the sanctity of life, upholding truth and justice, having compassion for others, having common decency and humanity and, most especially, abiding by the Golden Rule of doing to others as one would have done to oneself.

I write this blog out of a sense of positivity, optimism and hope – a belief that by entertaining such ground-breaking ideas, our lives may profoundly be changed for the better and that all people may thrive and flourish in ways that may never previously have been imagined or, indeed, imaginable.

Here’s looking forward to an incredible voyage of discovery into a new world of incredible out-of-the-box ideas!