Notes on consciousness

  1. If there are three observers at 0 c, 0.5 c and 0.9999 c, their observations of the universe would be different. This is relativity. If observers see the same universe differently, then how can the universe be said to have a single nature?
  2. If a universe cannot have a single nature that it can present consistently to all observers, then there can be no unified theory of everything. If there is nothing fixed to refer to, then there is no standing ground for a theory. To arrive at the theory of everything, experience of constant existence at all frame of reference would be necessary. Interpretation of an observer at 0 c of the experience at 0.5 c, may not necessarily be true for the observer at 0.5 c.
  3. Thought experiment: Can relativity be applied on to quantum fields? If the large hadron collider is moving is at 0.9999 c with respect to the observer, would the experimental results still be valid?
  4. There are two different states of unconsciousness:
    • Death state of unconsciousness: Atman/Soul has left the body and reengagement with mind/body is not expected. Person is truly dead and appears so.
    • Pre-death state of unconsciousness: Atma/Soul has not left the body and reengagement with mind/body is possible. Person appears dead or in a coma to the world but is not truly dead.
  5. In between the two states of unconsciousness, pre-death and death, exists the clue to understand the bare essential functioning of the soul/atman. In this free state, the soul remains closer to its pure form, without having the need to engage the constructs of mind or the sense organs or the world outside or the need to look for a different body to live-in next.
  6. Like a person is standing at the door step of the house from where he can go inwards or outwards, the soul is free to engage the mind in the subtle body and go inwards into a given body and its experience or abandon the current body and seek another body more suited to the current evolved needs of the subtle body. If the current needs are zero, there should be no need for another body.
  7. When the soul decides to “go inside the house” by engaging the mind and the current body, the rules for extent of such engagement must be set. The sages (gyani) who study the soul (not so much the world) say that this engagement must be limited for it doesn’t matter how big the house and how deep one goes into it, the exit must happen. The scientists (vigyani) who study the world (not so much the soul) say this engagement must be maximum, for this one freak opportunity to learn the world should not be wasted. The sage says do not engage, for engagement creates karma and births. The scientist says engage with all your might or else your only go at life would be wasted.
  8. The scientists says, the universe is eternal but consciousness comes and goes. The sage says, consciousness is eternal and the universe comes and goes.

So, what are you? Are you a blip of consciousness that will be forever extinguished at death? Or are you eternal consciousness that will repeatedly come and go into the playground of universe till you learn to destroy your ego and burn your karma?

What is your world view? A fixed universe with random meaningless blips of consciousness and life forms? Or an eternal consciousness soul that craves for varying experiences in a semi-real universe?

Whether time is long or short and whether…

Whether time is long or short, and whether space is broad or narrow, depends upon the mind. Those whose minds are at leisure can feel one day as a millennium, and those whose thoughts are expansive can perceive a small house to be as spacious as the universe.

-Hung Tzu-ch’eng (1593-1665)

When practitioners of Zen fail to transcend the…

When practitioners of Zen fail to transcend the world of their senses and thoughts, all they do has no value. Yet, when senses and thoughts are obliterated all the roads to universal mind are blocked and there is no entrance. The primal mind has to be recognised along with the senses and thoughts. It neither belongs to them nor is independent of them. Don’t build your understanding on your senses and thoughts, yet don’t look for the mind separate from your senses and thoughts. Don’t attempt to grasp Reality by pushing away your senses and thoughts. Unobstructed freedom is to be neither attached nor detached. This is enlightenment.

Huang-Po

Senses, mind, intellect, body and soul

Kaṭhopaniṣhad explains the differences in role of senses, mind, intellect, body and soul with the help of the model of a chariot:

ātmānagvaṁ rathinaṁ viddhi śharīraṁ rathameva tu

buddhiṁ tu sārathiṁ viddhi manaḥ pragrahameva cha

indriyāṇi hayānāhurviṣhayānsteṣhu gocharān

ātmendriyamanoyuktaṁ bhoktetyāhurmanīṣhiṇaḥ (1.3.3-4) [v21]

The Upanishad says there is a chariot, which has five horses pulling it; the horses have reins in their mouths, which are in the hands of a charioteer; a passenger is sitting at the back of the chariot. Ideally, the passenger should instruct the charioteer, who should then control the reins and guide the horses in the proper direction. However, in this case, the passenger has gone to sleep, and so the horses are running away.

In this analogy, the chariot is the body, the horses are the five senses, the reins in the mouth of the horses is the mind, the charioteer is the intellect, and the passenger seated behind is the soul residing in the body. The senses (horses) desire pleasurable things. The mind (reins) is not exercising restraint on the senses (horses). The intellect (charioteer) submits to the pull of the reins (mind). So in the materially bound state, the bewildered soul does not direct the intellect in the proper direction. Thus, the senses decide the direction where the chariot will go. The soul experiences the pleasures of the senses vicariously, but these do not satisfy it. Seated on this chariot, the soul (passenger) is moving around in this material world since eternity.

However, if the soul wakes up to its higher nature and decides to take a proactive role, it can exercise the intellect in the proper direction. The intellect will then govern the lower self—the mind and the senses—and the chariot will move in the direction of eternal welfare. In this way, the higher self (soul) must be used to control the lower self (senses, mind, and, intellect).

Nothing truly stops you Nothing truly holds you…

Nothing truly stops you. Nothing truly holds you back. For your own will is always within your control. Sickness may challenge your body. But are you merely your body? Lameness may impede your legs. But you are not merely your legs. Your will is bigger than your legs. Your will needn’t be affected by an incident unless you let it.

-Epictetus

Put Mind at Ease

One day, Buddha was walking from one town to another with a few of his followers.

While they were traveling, they happened to pass by a lake. They stopped to rest there and Buddha asked one of his disciples to get him some water from the lake.

A disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake.

As a result, the water became very muddy. The disciple thought, “How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!”

So he came back and told Buddha, ”The water in the lake is very muddy. I don’t think it is suitable to drink.”

After a while, Buddha again asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water.

The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the mud had settled down and the water was clean so he collected some in a pot and brought it to Buddha.

Buddha looked at the water then looked up at the disciple and said, “See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be and the mud settled down on its own. It is also the same with your mind. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time and it will settle down on its own.”