I am the center of the universe, of that I have no doubt. I am “here,” clearly, and everything else is “there.” “Here” is where I must be snuggled closely with whatever I might be, I have no intimacy with out “there.” Although sometimes if I close my eyes, and plug my ears, I still see pictures, and hear words and sounds. I wonder, “are they here or are they there?”
There are times, rarely, when the “there” and my “here” seem to approach one another. I refuse to concede the supremacy of anyone else’s “hereness” or even that another “here” other than my own can even exist. I am, after all, the center of the universe.
God, I am inclined to believe, made the universe. Perhaps God made me as well, but I am not 100% sure about that! I am not too sure about anything, actually. Can I truly trust memories and perceptions that might not even be my own? There is too much “thereness” in the universe for my taste.
So who is this God fellow anyway, and why do I believe he exists? I believe God exists because that’s what people have always told me, and because some people wrote it down in some books. I never saw him, nobody can point him out to me, or show me where he hangs out. He’s supposed to be everywhere and know everything and be capable of doing anything. How does he do that? Nobody can explain it to me.
Still, the people say he’s there, and that he made everything, and it’s even written in the books. It must be true, then. Lots of things must be true. The people get mad at me if I don’t say yes to what they say. I find it better, then, not to say anything. To prevent trouble, I am willing to believe all of them, especially if they are nearby, sometimes, or none of them when I close my eyes and stop my ears. Those internal words and pictures, they don’t always correspond with what the people do and say. It’s all out “there” really, and doesn’t concern me too much.
Today I discovered something, it’s called a 7-11! I was exploring the world, out riding a bicycle. I had discovered this bicycle on the patio of the place where I slept, I think it is my apartment. It’s probably my bicycle, it feels familiar, but who knows? Everyday there are new discoveries, and it’s very difficult for me to separate the new from the old. I don’t trust “my” memory, I am not sure it is mine at all.
I was happy to discover this place. It’s not far from the place I think I live at. I was thirsty, and decided to go in, it seemed to allow that. So it became less “there” and a lot more “here.”And I also discovered that not only is there food and drink and lots of other things inside the store, like hats and tampons and lottery tickets, but people are in there too, and they will let you take what you want, if you give them money. Money is strange, it has to do with this piece of plastic I discovered in a wallet in my pants pocket. Apparently, I did something for a computer, and somehow it made this plastic card magical, where people inside stores like the 7-11 that I had discovered seem happy to swipe it in their machine and let me have their stuff. I vaguely remember something about banks and cash, and “capitalism, ” so I guess that is what you call context. I saw other people using paper and pieces of metal instead of plastic. It’s pretty confusing.
I seem to be running on some kind of program that helps me do things or figure out things or remember things like I’m supposed to, without hurting myself or anybody else or causing too much of a disturbance. So I knew to take my drink outside, and drink it there. I knew to throw the cup away, I didn’t want to carry it anymore anyway, and found myself back on that bicycle again.
As I rode down the road, there came back those internal words and pictures again. They are sneaky, they always want to plague a quiet mind! And with my eyes open, too! I like to enjoy the sky and traffic and trees and whatever. I discover new things to enjoy every day. It does not matter what I may have discovered before, because that was a different “me,” not “here and now” any more but “there and then.”
“Now” is really the same as “here.” “Then” is just a different kind of”there.”
These internal words and pictures, let’s call them what they are, “thoughts” and “memories.” I know what words mean, it’s part of the my functional programming. I can’t really explain it, though, even to myself. These thoughts and memories always try to intrude on my “here and nowness.” I sometimes wish they wouldn’t trouble me so.
Does it all have something to do with God? Does anything have to have anything to do with God? Is that why God made the universe, to bedevil me with useless thoughts and memories? Are the universe and God the same thing? Then where’s the throne and the great white beard? If God is “there” it doesn’t really matter. I am “here” and God is “there” and of one thing I am certain, when it comes to God, it ain’t me, I ain’t no God.
But the thoughts and memories, so close to “here,” sometimes seem as real as or more real than anything else in the world. They get stuck in loops, and I keep having to think and remember similar patterns over and over again, bits of music, emotional complaints, unlikely plans and impossible fantasies. That sort of thing.
So look here, while riding my bike, I have discovered a wonderful new thing! There is this place where a lot of cars are parked, and some wooden steps down to a great sandy stretch, and look, beyond, beneath the sky spotted with bright white clouds slurps a vast blue-ish green-ish expanse of noisy water, foaming at its edge with the sand. It’s my greatest discovery of all time, today, I’ll call it the Atlantic Ocean! That’s what it is. I want to go there, further down the beach, but first I must set aside the bike. My bicycle-related programming tells me I might want it later, so I lock it with the chain wrapped around the seat post. It’s God’s will, I suppose, that the bike should be locked.
After only a few meters plod along the shore, those pesky thoughts returned. I feel strangely susceptible, why not let them have their way for a change?
I wonder “what am I?” I know the answer to that, I am not anything, I am “Self.” So, “why do I look the way I do?”
Look? I only look like anything to eyes that see in a certain way. My eyes aren’t the eyes of the “Self” they are the eyes of the body. The body is a manifestation of “thereness.”The “Self” doesn’t “see,” it reflects, but the reflection is the action of the object being reflected. The body ultimately produces the eyes to perceive, but the perception of itself is dependent on a visualization capability, strongly linked to cognition and memory. “Self” doesn’t do anything.
Cognition and memory are functions and processes. They facilitate the realization of fundamental desires laid down in objective physical structures which are nevertheless physically unperceived, because they exist at a quantum level and do not directly interact with photons or electrons or much of any other kind of matter. These quantum scale structures can be referred to as Sparks of Consciousness.
Therefore, it is the Sparks which energize in some way other Sparks to aggregate and affect matter and energy, which itself consists at the most fundamental level or layer of quantum Sparks, in order to realize some desired end, through a space-time process.
Humans have given the name “Yoga” to a variety of systems or technologies which intend to integrate a category of consciousness associated with the so-called “mind” with the quantum Spark of consciousness referred to as the “Self.” Organic conscious cognition necessarily is constructed from a multiplicity of Sparks, which are held together only temporarily. Personality then is a temporary construct, as is any physical form, including the thinking mechanism, the brain.
Humans of course have an anthropocentric perspective on the universe. Only humans, it would seem, should strive for self-realization in any religious or sociocultural system, including Yoga. Animals, plants, minerals, the atmosphere, the very earth itself, and the radiance of the sun, are trapped, enslaved, imprisoned, pounded, poisoned, and in every other way mistreated to accomplish the goals of what is perceived to be human consciousnesses. But all matter in this universe is composed of the Divine Quantum-scale Sparks, and the human condition is extremely short-lived and precarious. Human-centric perspectives, while seemingly effective in the short-term, can be considered to be destructive and chaotic, increasing entropy and reducing order, and they perpetuate themselves through a loop of contempt and selfishness in regards to non-human entities of any type.
Consciousness exists at all levels throughout this universe, because the Sparks permeate all matter, energy, space, and time (MEST). Even chemical processes manifest consciousness. Rust, for example, can be described in terms of oxidation. The element of oxygen “wants” to combine with other elements, such as metals. The resultant oxides have their place in the universe, and humans could not live without them. We don’t have eyes to see it, but the oxidation process, the rusting, is a delicate dance, producing lovely and colorful transformations in matter, perhaps from the perspective of the matter involved. It wants to grow, it wants to extend, it wants to reproduce itself. Is rust necessary for life? Is it a kind of life?
To humans, rust is undesirable, it “ruins” metals aesthetically and structurally, from a viewpoint that all metals, all matter in fact, are merely materials put here for mankind’s use, to be treated without respect or gratitude .
Think about microscopic life forms. The atmosphere is so full of bacterial and fungal and other biological microparticles, it is mind-boggling. It is a virtual biosphere of unthinkable magnitude and importance. We breathe microorganisms, they cover our epidermis from head to toe, they breed, reproduce, live, and die in our food, our water, on everything we touch. Fungi, for example, is well known to be an essential ecological component. Decay is absolutely required for an ecosystem to exist. Google it! Nutrients get locked into organisms, sometimes in nondigestible forms, and in order for other organisms, important organisms, to survive there has to be biodegradation.
Humans easily forget that they are part of an ecosystem. What do you suppose will happen to the human race if we start completely relying on artificial food production, artificial energy production, artificial air and water production, and degrade and destroy the system that has sustained all life for hundreds of millions of years?
Observe the growth of a mold spore, how it develops and expands. The mycelia extend gracefully over the substrate, gradually converting the substance into its own being. Like rust, there is a colorful and frankly lovely transformation. The mold wants to grow, and expand and reproduce, and in so doing it performs an ecological service. The biochemistry itself is almost musical.
Humans hate molds because they are toxic and stinky and ruin food and objects. That may be, but mold is a powerful and potent life force, and it would be better and more effective to try to understand and gently manage than to attack with even worse chemicals and treatments.
Do rust and mold deserve a Yoga of their own? Is it possible that inorganic matter and microscopic life forms have consciousnesses of their own and desire to integrate with “Self” on their own levels?
It is easy to understand how mankind and womankind never learned to appreciate the potential divinity within nonliving material and microscopic yucky germs. It’s not in the job description. Nonliving matter is to be used and discarded when no longer useful. Germs are to be obliterated and shushed out of the house and body. Natural history is something to be appreciated on a macro scale.
So what about our larger life forms, the ones with brains? Is it possible that they have Divine Sparks, that not only do they subconsciously want to integrate with “Self” on fundamental chemical and physical levels, but they actively strive to do so on a behavioral level?
It would be horrible to imagine that any animals were empowered with consciousness, when you consider the contemptible and repulsive manner we treat all species other than Homo sapiens. Yeah, there are the pets such as dogs and cats. They get spayed and neutered and bred and brainwashed, never being allowed to lead natural lives, or raise families, or be themselves. And they’re the lucky ones. Imagine being a chicken. You are condemned to being locked in an uncomfortable horrible wire enclosure where you cannot even stand comfortably due to the lack of an actual solid floor. You will never see a chick grow to maturity, you will never develop a social relationship, as the tens of thousands of your colleagues, all mindlessly clucking and defecating and that’s about it are all every one doomed to an awful fate. It may be better a little for the egg layers. It’s still a horrible life.
Try to consider what the fate of a chicken’s soul might be, after so much trauma. No, it’s better not to think about it. It’s better to think “no, animals don’t have souls. We wouldn’t treat any creature with a soul in such a monstrous manner.”
Or a cow, or a pig, or a turkey, or a sheep, or fish whether in aquariums or farm tanks.
Do animals have consciousness? Just watch them! Yes, it’s obvious that all mammals do, see how the behave, interact, play, observe. What about others? All the vertebrates, and indeed even invertebrates with brains indicate signs of fundamental personality differences and individual behavioral quirks that might lead one to conclude that if such a thing as consciousness exists it might be a common characteristic of animals with brains.
Observe a cockroach, if you can tolerate it. Even I don’t want them around, notwithstanding all my sympathies. It is part of my anti-bug programming, I suppose. According to Wikipedia, about 30 of the 4,600 or so species “are associated with human habitats.” They are part of our socioecological network! Or we are part of theirs. They have been around for hundreds of millions of years, have relatively sophisticated social lives making use of chemical pheromones and complex antenna contact. And if you ever wanted to squash one you know one thing for sure. They obviously want to live and survive and feed and reproduce and be with others of their own kind. Look how they behave! After a while, you get the feeling there is some creepy kind of intelligence going on, a passionate will, a chosen path to follow. Is there a Yoga for these creatures, and do they already follow it!
Pesky thoughts, so many horrible, time-consuming thoughts hurt my brain. Here’s the beach, and here’s the ocean, and I never even paid any attention to any of it for the last hour and a half. I don’t care so much though, because it’s all “there” and “then.” After a deep breath, and a bit of muscle relaxing, the thoughts quiet and I am “here” again. The waves and the breeze and the sun shining in a blue sky. There never was anywhere else.