The Droppage of Time

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No problem here. Always home.

Whenever I am faced with a problem, a problem where a solution isn’t immediately apparent, I tend to seek the origins – Many times, simply by understanding the genesis of a problem, how it began, its origin – is more than adequate to ‘solve’ the problem. Many times, it is shown to me that a problem never actually existed.

This is a practical application. But I often, daily, tackle the ‘problem’ of this life – I say ‘problem’ because life, to me, is like a riddle – a puzzle – What is the meaning of life? Yes, I Go Big in my life- why not? This life mystifies me and I want to understand all I can. I am curious. But, also, I am dis-satisfied with this life. So much suffering in this world – and this includes my own. Now please understand my life is great, in so many ways – I am just not satisfied in my understanding of it – particularly in understanding of suffering.

So this riddle of life- seeking the origins – I merge the koan of ‘What did your face look like before your parents were born?’ with where the scientific ‘what were my thoughts as my brain was developing in my mothers womb?’ – seeking origins, falling into an infant, a fetus, swirling and spinning, realizing that it is not I that is tumbling and swirling but rather time – linear time falls into the fetus. I can’t fall anywhere. What do I mean? It’s confusing – and it makes me think about a recent discovery in physics – merging the infinite (gravity) with the smallest (quantum) and spitting out a strange form of ‘time’.

Time flows forward not because of entropy, but because only a thinking mind can make distinctions. When we drop the thinking mind, we drop time.

Dropping time does something quite remarkable – it has to by its inherent nature – or lack there of – See, thinking in nuts and bolts, this universe is real, and in a very real way, 14 billion years ago, all of EVERYTHING, was infinitely tiny – one unified dot. That’s the power of the thinking mind – so powerful we can figure out it is more like 13.772 billion years old. But when we drop this thinking mind – does the Universe revert back to the Big Bang? No – revert implies time. All of all times all exist at the same time – and that time is now – and now now and so on. Now.

When a person speaks how ‘all is one’ and there is no separation between oneself and the Universe, this is what they mean – but these words really suck. They do! Saying there is no separation between two things , well, kinda separates it out. But that’s the limits of words – Are there better words? Perhaps. I am not sure I know them!

So, I am a scientist. But the realm of spirits, angels, goddesses and gods do dwell deep inside the folds of time. How can I say this, scientifically? Well, there are a few very important things I learned about science over my career and education:

One: all of science is through the lens of human’s minds. Nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but it is a human endeavour. That’s the point to always keep in one’s head when studying science. (To be even more critical, just look at who is paying for the research and why).

Two: Humans find the facts that fit the models we build. It doesn’t mean the facts are wrong (they can’t be by definition) but we can only find facts where we seek (usually).

Three: If something is not falsifiable, a key tenet of science, that does not make it untrue.

This last one is the most important.  – From the most simple example, say, of a piece of complex electrical equipment that has an intermittent fault – those are the worst kinds as they are almost impossible to figure out as you can’t replicate the error consistently. It doesn’t mean the error doesn’t exist, you just can’t study it properly – and the service engineer will start to think the data is not correct (ie the human is lying  or wrong about the error)!! To the most beautiful of Einstein’s theory on gravitational waves – you see as it couldn’t be tested at first, it bordered on being not scientific. He was very smart – and correct- even if it took decades or a century to be proved correct.  But back to my point, just because an experience or thought is not repeatable, or falsifiable does not make it untrue. It makes it unscientific , yes, but it does not mean it is not true. This easy thought to grasp took me my whole life to accept, or to realize. It has allowed me to witness those unscientific experiences with more honesty and truth. The true scientist keeps seeking – just like Einstein’s unscientific theory was one day falsifiable, perhaps one day my ancestors who visit me through the droppage of time will be falsifiable.

As I can admit I honestly do not know what lies after death, I am attacking this life I have whilst alive. I want to understand what this life is – and how to help others not suffer or find life unsatisfactory. As a great man says, We are all simply just walking each other home. 

So, part of my exploration is having faith in a ‘solution’ to this riddle of life. Having faith that so many various consciousnesses are helping me right here, right now, from the distant past, to the incredible future. Are these all but not oneself and all of us? I used to like to say a-lot “All is one … just time-displaced”. I still like it and maybe I’ll make a bumper sticker one day!

But,

But, when we allow ourselves to drop time, well, All beauty is all unfolded already. It’s home.

 

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Witnessing Ram Dass

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Sometimes I crack myself up when I see myself seeing myself. Who is it that is cracking up?

I have been thinking lots about something I heard recently from Ram Dass. He was talking about being a witness to our thoughts and actions… a witness to ourselves…

I say I have been thinking lots about this, and whilst that is true, I have not tried to penetrate deeper meaning into it. That is unusual for me, but it is for two reasons I have left it alone – 1) the thought felt complete enough on its own – I didn’t feel my normal sense of ‘dharma-battle’  of attacking a ‘teaching’ to see what fails in the attack and what holds true; and 2) because of #1, I felt a conscious decision to not mess about with the thought – as it would only become mental masturbation (which I absolutely love lol).

But back to the thought – the reason I have been thinking about this thought so much – or rather, holding this thought – is because this is what I do, almost always- I am witnessing my life before my eyes – I am usually ‘stepped back’ . I can see Richard getting excited, or upset, or sad – I can see how Richard needs to move, or act, or think to accomplish Richards’s goals. It is odd. Who is this witness?

Yes – who is this witness?

I see Richard’s life unfolding and I rarely get caught up in this unfolding – I would just get in Richards way otherwise, lol. When I find myself not being a witness – I feel like a slave to my thoughts and emotions – or rather- I sense my witness trapped and unable to help the maniac who is freaking out!

Have you ever gotten really angry? Super pissed off, fuming – and in the middle of that emotion laughed? Laughed because perhaps you saw your face in the mirror and you looked, well, funny! Red face, downturned eyebrows, scowl ? Or laughed simply because you realized your brain was freaking out of control ?

Have you ever sensed that witness in those situations and felt, ‘no, they aren’t allowed in here right now, I have the right and I deserve to feel this anger – it is justified!!’.  Your witness obeys –it must – and cries in the back of your hollow skull.

So, who is the witness? Who is the Master? Should not the master listen to the witness? Then does not the witness become the master? If the witness always stays the master, than the old master becomes the servant.

BE careful – do not detach yourself from your witness or your master. Ultimately, these are just made-up distinctions. It’s all made up. The master, the witness, they are the same, and neither exists. I say this only so attachment isn’t given to any of this.

So, back to my point – who is this witness who is witnessing myself?

It is still an illusion, the witness – when you are ‘stepped back’ and see yourself doing whatever – making yourself crack up laughing when the witness sees you freaking out – whatever – turn that witness onto itself – witness the witness.  WHO turned that anger into laughter?  – Now the laughs turn into something else – wonderment – at a minimum – of what is ‘witnessed’.

 

 

Comfortable electric chair

Life comes and goes... even rocks come and go... what do we do with the time we have here?

Life comes and goes… even rocks come and go… what do we do with the time we have here?

I remember many years ago attending a talk given by a Buddhist monk back when I lived in the United States. Something he said has stayed with me to this day, and I am confident always will remain with me until I die. It was something obvious, something we all know, but I suppose the context drove home a crucial message. The monk did work in prisons… work with death-row inmates. People who were sentenced to die for the crimes they committed. There was no going back, they knew they would be killed and their time was limited. The monk talked about how some of these prisoners had realized greater freedom than the mass majority of people who are living ‘free’. Then he said the sentence that grabbed my head and has never let go… He said ‘We are all on death-row’

Now, of course, we all know that we will all die, someday. But, at least for me, it was always some abstract thing to occur in the incalculable future..

We will all die, we are truly all already on death-row.

How depressing!!!

Yet… how liberating.

How would you act towards yourself today if you knew you were to die tomorrow? How would you act towards other people?

In one sense, knowing we will die can free us from the fear of the consequences of our actions… both good and bad… we can become fearless.

In another sense however, knowing we will die can bind us with crippling fear of the upcoming death we know awaits us.

We are all on death-row… how will we make the time we have left in the prison we have put ourselves in?

In Buddhism, there is a Way, a path, in which we can escape our prison before we die.. so that when we do die, we die free. … like some of those inmates in the electric chair.

Paths and flashlights.

The concept of a path is dualistic. ;)

The concept of a path is dualistic. 😉

In a flash of clarity, a path is illuminated before us. We treasure that experience and hold this direction, this image, this path close to our hearts and follow it with deep faith. The faith is unshakable as the clarity, this vision, was not shown to us by another, not read in a book or explained during a speech. We experienced it ourselves directly so there is no doubt.

Years pass and while this path may have proven itself well time after time, the clarity of our memory may fade. Even if the clarity doesn’t fade, as we progress down the path, we only were shown part of the path… eventually we reach the end of our vision. Where do we go from there?

This may happen without us realizing it and we blindly forge ahead, but now with a false confidence, a blind faith, and when we stumble, we might not learn from it but instead think it’s just a rough part of the path. We may defend our path and get angry and disillusioned and then despair appears.

The Buddha dying words were to be a lamp unto ourselves. But what do we do if we can’t remember how to turn on our flashlight? Imagine you are in the forest with steep cliffs all around. It is pitch black during the dead of night. Do you blindly forge ahead? Sometimes it is not wise to try to forge ahead, but remain calm, steady and unmoving. Eventually, like as in the forest, the sun will rise and show us the way home. Sometimes while we wait for the sunrise, we realize our eyes have adjusted to the dark and we see the path, oh so faintly but that’s all we need, and we can make slow progress.

In the end, there is no path, no progress, we are already home but it is sometimes useful to trick our minds into turning back on our flashlights.