Monday, 6 June 2016

Creating the Experience

We have seen in the previous articles, some strange property of the Presence is responsible for the birth of the Self. By "property" I mean its ability to be either as a static witness or just as existence. When it assumes the form of a witness, it experiences itself as Self, otherwise it remains as Experiencing. It means, it can become two, while being only one, quite paradoxically. The two being the experience and the experiencer. But it does not stop there, it wants to become many.

We now explore this even stranger aspect of the Presence, which is the Experiencing. Its not merely a random process of modulations happening in the Presence, it has some interesting properties. Not only does Experiencing form impressions on the Presence, it also self-organizes itself in the form of various structures [8]. It’d be equivalent to say that the Presence self-organizes itself. Or in other words, it creates. The structures thus created are the Creation.

Change - the mysterious illusory force
It is our direct experience that Experiencing is not static, there is Change. In fact if there were no change, there wouldn't be any experience at all. So in my view change is synonymous with experience. When you experience, all you perceive is change. Change is as fundamental as Presence.

How is it possible that any change or activity or modulations even happen in something that is empty nothingness? I have no answer for that. The best answer I could find was that change is an unknowable, it cannot be reduced to anything else. Mind cannot find any explanation or cause for it. Change is, and that's all we can say about it.

We encounter a paradox here. Self is essentially changeless, it is nothingness and nothingness cannot change. Can it? Still we experience change. Hows that even possible? It is beyond the grasping power of Mind (at least for me). The only way that can happen is when you consider change as being unreal. Unreal meaning, it is, but it is not. Just as there are images in the mirror, but it is just a static mirror, images are illusion, they are not really in mirror. In other words, all change is an illusion, its not really there. This is traditionally called Maya.

Its is also called Prakriti (Samkhya), Shakti (Shaivism), Kundalini (Hatha Yoga) or Energy of consciousness (or just Energy, New Ageism). Perhaps there are many more names in all world philosophies. Behind all those fancy names is our simple friend - change. It is very much here, present now in our everyday experience. Do not make the newbie mistake of thinking it is something magical and far out there thing. Its ordinary and very-very mysterious at the same time.

Considering that change is illusive, it is quite something. All that is manifested, all universes, past, present and future, everything that is a thing is because of change. Its the most powerful thing, most interesting thing in entire Presence. Its the only thing that we can experience, simply because it enables experience. In physical world we experience change is many forms - motion, light, energy, work, forces, fields etc. Matter is just changing nothingness. In mental world change is all mental processes - thoughts, memories, imaginations, perceptions, emotions etc. All nothing but non-physical changes in nothingness. Change is the metaphysical mother of Time, both subjective and objective time. Who'd have thought nothingness could be so interesting !

Anyhow, once you let go of the question - why there is change, you can take the next step and find out its implications, its effects, the how of it all. A change sets up a series of changes, there is never just one event, there is always a propagation of events that continues infinitely. This is our direct observation. The train of changes occurs in infinitely possible varieties. This is by necessity. Some trains of changes eventually form repeating chains, cyclic events. They have a lower entropy than mere random change. Such chains of change are being called a Process in this blog. Obviously, processes are infinite in number and extent, but the most interesting one's are those we can know, rest are unknowable and hence boring...(at least for me).

The Fundamental Process
The process that is responsible for all the organization that is happening will be called the Fundamental Process [2]. What it does is, creates information out of pure randomness. In other words it reduces the Entropy. It favours complexity and organization to chaos and randomness. Why does it do that? It doesn’t "do" anything really. The process happens by necessity [3]. Anything that is organized prevails compared to the randomness, the latter results in no Experiencing.

The Fundamental Process feeds on itself. Meaning, any structures that are capable of creating more structures or augmenting themselves are favoured. Obviously, this is also by necessity. The structures that do not re-create or repair tend to get destroyed or do not progress further in complexity. Thus, the Organizing or structuring is a natural outcome of the Experiencing. No one, or no-thing is “doing” it. There is no intention or will or cause for it. It happens because that is what must happen.

It seems there is an opposite process that’s going on in parallel, the process of destroying the structures, or an automatic increase in entropy. Everything that arises, falls… sooner or later. There is Impermanence. If you see it closely, the Fundamental Process is the Experiencing itself, seen as a creative process from a biased or selective perspective. We choose to see it as self-organizing, when actually there is not much happening, its all perpetual Experiencing, perpetual impermanence, because the Experiencing cannot stop, else it won’t remain Experiencing, it becomes pure Presence once it stops. The structures rise and fall on their own, and when they rise, we can choose to see them as arisen because of the Fundamental Process.

One metaphor to understand the Fundamental Process is that of tiny whirlpools, that form on the surface of running water, as impermanent structures, when seen broadly, there is nothing but water flowing downhill. The energy in the water sometimes makes its parts flow in opposite or circular way, there is no creation as such. The whirlpools are structures with a lower entropy compared to the water surrounding them, and so (selectively) appear to be formed by some process. They don’t last, but the flow never ceases.

Since the structures are a result of Fundamental Process, which is a Process, meaning a series of changes, the structures are essentially a change, they are not static, they are impermanent by necessity. Its change after all, so they arise and then something else arises, destroying the old, creating the new. Now you know why everything in this creation is called false (Mithya) and why it never lasts. Change, by definition, cannot remain static, nothing lasts, and since change is illusory, its not really there, the structures are illusory too.

This realization alone has the power to liberate you from the immense suffering that is caused when you try to hold on ever changing phenomenal stuff, people, relations, objects, bodies, minds, knowledge and all that. Everything gets destroyed in this sea of change, the only thing that never changes and is eternal is Self - the real you.

An example of the Fundamental Process is the process of speciation via natural selection, it is a tiny aspect of the Fundamental Process. From the evolution of the DNA molecule to the complex life forms, it is just the Fundamental Process acting on the physical world and creating structures. Another example is emergence of human personality via mutual interaction of mind and environment/people/societies/ego etc. We, as we appear in the physical world, are nothing but one structure organized by this Process. (and impermanent , sadly :-) )

The Fundamental Process is responsible for creation of the Mind, brain, body, the world, universe and everything else that can be experienced objectively. These are just structures. The inherent necessities in some structures puts constrains on them, and they evolves algorithmically. That explains the mathematical conformity of physical universe. Physical universe is a structure that is rule based (algorithmic) and probabilistic (statistical), and is so very predictable, except at tiny scales when statistical rules break down and it again appears as the Presence (sort of indicates it). It is debatable if there are other meaningful non-physical structures or “other universes” or even stranger things like disembodied Minds. Nothing in the Fundamental Process prevents them from existing, however, if it is not your experience, then they are as good as non-existent. Explore the possibilities, they are infinite [4].

The stream of human knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality. The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of this realm.
— Sir James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe (1930), p-137.

The Mind as a collection of Contents

As we saw earlier, Contents appear in the experience. These are then structured in the form of Knowledge (it is an organized form of experiences, no experience means no knowledge). Knowledge pieces that fit together give rise to understanding, yet another structure [5]. Impressions form Memory, one more strange thing for you to ponder. It has a “temporal” quality.

The self-organizing proceeds even further and gives rise to a mega-structure called the Mind, which is a collection of contents and organizing processes [9]. (A good analogy is a computer having data, memory and programs to process/organize/use the data). As a fractal clone of the Fundamental Process, knowledge feeds on itself, that is, more knowledge leads to even more knowledge and stronger processes in order to organize it even further. For example, the knowledge of logic and rational thinking leads to a better structure of the existing knowledge and also empowers one to gain more knowledge. The knowledge of mathematics aids in better understanding of physics. Knowledge of human behaviour leads to better relations.... and so on.

The Mind is truly a great gift. In my experience, there is nothing as complex, marvelous and beautiful as the Mind. It is vast, and it is very useful. If you are on a path of knowledge, you are mostly concerned with Mind and its workings. Without Mind, there is no knowledge, no understanding and no exchange of knowledge. It is great, but it has limitations. It can be easily seen, experienced, so it is an object (after all it’s a product of the Fundamental Process). As an object it is impermanent, it lasts for only for a little while, and so it becomes even more important to make full use of it.

Since knowledge is a form of impurity [6], and the Mind is full of it, the Mind itself can become a veil for the Self. The Self hides behind the Mind, and assumes it is Mind! Well, that's the bad news, the good news is that if trained and developed properly, it is the Mind that takes you back to the Self. It has the ability to reveal the Self in all its glory. Once you are back, the Mind becomes a wonderful vehicle for Experiencing.

Beyond Mind, Universal Mind and Human mind
My definition of the word knowledge is - a structure formed when experiences are organized automatically. What organizes the experiences? Its a part of consciousness I choose to call Mind. It is huge, creator of everything, still a tiny part of consciousness. How does organization happen? By the agency of auto-processes, such as evolution. E.g. winds carving a mountain into a particular shape. Universes evolving out of just a soup of atoms. I call that process the Fundamental Process .

Why are there any auto-processes? Because there is Change. Change is fundamental, we can directly experience it, nothing is static. Once there is change, things start emerging. Some change organizes itself by feeding on itself. This forms structures. It is also directly experienced. Its not a theory.

That was a brief summary of Mind and what lies beyond it. To avoid the confusion between Mind and human mind, I use the prefix "Universal", sometimes. So Mind = Universal Mind, and mind = human mind. We will now see how they are related.

Universal Mind has all the knowledge. Why? Because it has experienced what can be experienced. It has organized it all. However, it may still get new experiences, because experiencing never stops. It may get trillions of new experiences every moment. This is universal learning process, so it keeps learning (gaining new knowledge). That knowledge is learnable kind. The known unknown. It gets the experience and converts the unknown to known. It goes on forever. All that is manifested, including us the humans, is nothing but Mind.

So why do I say that some things are unknowable even for the universal Mind? Because the Mind can only know what gets organized, what remains is unknowable. Mind gets only an interpretation of things that got organized automatically, not the things itself. Some things may be impossible to experience and so the Mind will never know them. Which means even the Mind has some ignorance. Only pure consciousness has access to everything, it is absolute.

Traditionally, the universal Mind has been personified and iconized in many ways. Ishwara (in Yoga/Samkhya), Brahma (Vedas), Devi (Mother, Shaivism) and perhaps a few names in western philosophies. Its the creator, because knowledge is essentially creation - structures in consciousness. What we know manifests, what we don't remains unseen. The discovery of universal Mind as all powerful creator spawned a variety of religions and practices that focused on pleasing it for worldly gains and even for knowledge and liberation. It can be possible and worship of creator(s) is all about that. It took a personalized form, got anthropomorphized. Do not make this newbie mistake, Mind is not a super-person that just sits there to fulfill your wishes and whims, nor does it zaps you with bolts if you make mistakes. It is essentially us, since we are essentially Self, and Mind is nothing but a manifested Self.

We humans get a little slice of Mind, because we are a limited expression of consciousness for the time being. We are a tiny part of creation, a tiny whiny structure that lasts for a few eye blinks. But we are essentially the same as whole. A fractal clone, if you will. So we as an individual experience an individual mind, and have access to its ground - the pure consciousness. After all, we are made out of consciousness.

The structures that we call "I", "myself" - body, brain, mind, a collection of memories and processes like thoughts, emotions and all that, is a product of evolutionary change. In other words, we are just parts of Mind. Its a special and complex structure, because we express consciousness actively, we have ability to say - "I'm consciousness".

As a fractal clone of Mind, our mind also organizes experiences, and we call those structures "human knowledge". So for example, we know via sensory perception and also via non-sensory perception (memories, logic, imagination, thoughts, ideas etc). This is learned knowledge. We constantly learn and convert the unknown into known. However in a very limited way.

What happens when we learn about the Universal Mind and consciousness? Magic happens ! Now we can ask questions, and answers that are already a part of universal Mind start appearing. As the layers of ignorance that limit us into a human only mode start disappearing, we get more and more of knowledge directly. All knowledge falls on your feet.

However, there still remain unknowns and unknowables. Mind has those limitations, and mind is even more limited. My own knowledge and experience ends here. But we can speculate a bit -

What will happen when all (most) of ignorance is destroyed by the slow process of gaining more and more knowledge?
One thing we can predict is that, human mind will gain all access to Mind, it will become Mind that is already there. We become the ultimate creator. Its not a new creator, we just dissolve boundaries of our limitations and access the vastness of creation - a product of Fundamental Process. So we know all there is that's knowable.

What happens when we hit the wall in this seeming infinite Mind too? We emerge out of it and see our self as pure consciousness. Here it is meaningless to use the terms "we" and "I". Its all one. Consciousness sees itself as consciousness.

This can be called ultimate liberation. Traditionally, its called Atman merging with Paramatman (vedic view), or achieving Budhhahood (Buddhism). (Literally, Buddhi means Mind, Buddha means Beyond Mind.)

Human Mind v/s Brain

The self-organization is also responsible for the formation of the brain, the body that hosts the brain and a physical world that hosts the body. Well, very odd claim this one, isn’t it in reverse – physical world-body-brain-mind-consciousness(Self)? It’s a good question and an important question. The short answer is – it doesn’t matter how you see it, its all one [1]. The processes in physical world leading to the Presence are same as the ones leading to a physical world starting from the Presence. (Its none other than our old friend the Fundamental Process). Your point of view decides the causal direction [7]. That direction is not one sided, it is only your perspective that defines the direction. For now, I’ve decided to start from the Presence, because, as we have discussed before, that is the only place where one can start from. Start from where you are, the solid ground of the Self, the most certain of all experiences.


[1] The long answer will probably take up many pages. So I may write it down as another article someday.

[2] I’m grateful to Thomas Campbell for his teachings on the Fundamental Process. I’ve borrowed the phrase as it is. See :

[3] If something happens by “necessity” it means that there is no possibility for anything else to happen. It is automatic, requiring no agent, no cause. It happens because that is what must happen.

[4] There are many ways to explore such possibilities, tuning out of the physical world by discarding the sensory inputs is one of them. More on that, and on questions like – what is real?, later….

[5] I’m using “organization” and “structure” interchangeably. They mean the same thing in this article – something of a lower entropy.

[6] See previous articles for this discussion.

[7] If you prefer to take the other perspective (physical->mind), it should not cause many problems. However be prepared to answer questions such as the birth of the universe from nothing and the problem of Qualia (including consciousness) that seem to arise from nowhere.

[8] The Presence and Experiencing is traditionally and metaphorically described as a couple with various terminologies like - Purush and Prakriti (Samkhya), Shiva and Shakti (Shaivism). Obviously, the offspring is this whole creation. In philosophical terms it is Being and Becoming, or in New-age-ish terms Consciousness and Energy. Perhaps the meanings are open to interpretation, but in my view, they are all similar.

[9] I admit that the use of word "Mind" here is somewhat confusing, but I couldn't find any better word. So Mind with a capital M will be defined as the universal structure or universal Mind, and mind with small m is individual mind, a collection of thoughts, memories, imaginations, perceptions, abilities, and other processes. What's the difference? Not much, except mind is a tiny fractal part of Mind. Mind contains mind.

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