What is reality? Most people would say that it's the logical, physical world that we can see, the tangible objects around us. But aren't abstract concepts like love and truth as real as taking your thumb and forefinger and pinching your arm? Your short-lived pain is real, but perhaps only arguably so. How about Spirituality, is that real? I believe the majority of the planet's inhabitants would say that it is. But there is a significant number of people who would draw the line somewhere above.
Because we disagree at some point, someone has to be wrong. Either the pragmatists are right and reality borders at the physical realm, or the believers are right and it encompasses much more than we can see. Perhaps both sides are wrong and it is something which we have not even begun to comprehend. At this point I would like to challenge my readers to examine whether their own version of reality is or isn't the truth, keeping in mind that there was a time when entire societies believed that the Earth was flat and the stars were pinned to the sky, and after that came a view of the solar system with the Earth at its center. So society tends to distort its view of reality to match the changing group consensus. While it may be axiomatic to some that the mystical and logical are separate, it's my objective to show their connection using a relatively new theory from physics, called String Theory.
Personalities cloud interpretation; our past impressions taint our present experiences, and so we get closer to reality by dropping our egos. This is easier said than done, and it is the goal of Yoga: Cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. Without superimposing thought patterns onto each moment the yogi lifts away the illusion. This unveiling of the truth forms the basis of most religions, regardless of whether you believe the goal of ceasing the mind's chatter is to allow for autonomous thought or to become a conduit for a higher power.
Shaivism is the oldest living faith in the world.¹ Shiva, God, or whichever name you wish to give Him (or Her), has created this world out of Himself, in order to create ignorance, followed by the rediscovery of the truth.
When the world is viewed through a mirror, the only thing truly seen is the mirror itself: Shiva uses Himself to manifest the world - all we're ever seeing is Shiva. Trika Shaivism is a branch of Shaivism which began in the 9th Century A.D., it further breaks down the constitution of reality as Shiva-Shakti-Nara. Shiva is the creator, Shakti the creative force, and Nara, the individual's consciousness. But all three spring from the same primordial consciousness-energy. Most of the religions of the world profess that each of us is also God, a chip off the old block so to speak, yet it's unfathomable to many that a human could actually adopt the consciousness of the Creator and harness His infinite powers.
Trika Shaivism concurs with String Theory in saying the cornerstone of our reality is a vibrational energy. The premise of String Theory, is that the very smallest, sub-subatomic particles are not really particles at all. They are completely weightless vibrating strings. To visualize one, stop the clock and imagine a starting point, an ending point, and the two are connected by a string. Sometimes the string begins and ends at the same point, making a loop. Now start the flow of time past the string, it leaves a path, either a road or a tube. Furthermore, the string is free to vibrate, and different vibrational modes of the string represent the different particle types.²
Vibration is the product of movement in different directions, also known as spatial dimensions. A straight line is 1 dimensional, and a point can only move along the line. A plane is 2 dimensional, a point on the plane can be moved from side to side, across the width or the length. By stacking infinitely many layers of these sheets atop one another it creates depth, a 3rd direction, or dimension in which the vibrating string is free to move. Also, our string cuts a path forward through time resulting in a 4 dimensional space-time for the string to exist in. Good enough for you and me, but not for the string which, as observed in Quantum events, needs more freedom of movement, like changing mass or electric charge. In fact, the string requires 10 or even 11 different dimensions in order to satisfy the mathematical models. 10 dimensions?!! Why aren't these extra dimensions a part of our reality? Or are they?
Another thing that String Theory jibes with is Einstein's unfinished work. You'll remember Sir Isaac Newton who, after watching an apple fall, explained how our Earth revolves in an orbit around the Sun with a law of Gravity. Einstein improved upon Newton's work with his Theory of Relativity which says that gravity is a curvature of space that reacts at the speed of light. So if the sun suddenly disappeared, all the planets would stay in their orbits for a short while before they felt the loss of gravity and shot off away from it. Together with the Law of Relativity, Newton's law of Gravity holds true to all objects large and small. Well, all except for subatomic particles. When one tries to predict behavior on a quantum scale, different forces like electromagnetism and strong nuclear force take precedence. Shouldn't there be a Theory of Everything, an origin for the laws describing both worlds? That's what Einstein spent the rest of his life trying to solve, unsuccessfully. Every time he tried to do the math he'd get nonsensical answers.
What the combined String Theories, or "M" theory concludes, is that gravity is a string particle called a graviton. One particular characteristic of the graviton is that it is a closed ended string; it is a loop similar to a donut. Remember that the other kind of a string has two ends, anchored at points in 3 dimensional space. Since the closed ended graviton isn't anchored in our 3d space, theoretically it is free to pass into other parallel space-time dimensions. Hey, now all of Al's old math equates!
The thought of a 5th dimension sends the mind reeling, but understanding more dimensions is like using a camera. When you take a snapshot of something, the photo becomes a flat image representation of that object. You have reduced 3 dimensions onto a 2-d graphic. In Calculus, this is called taking a derivative. Also, the moment you snap the frame, the passage of time is frozen and recorded by the photo, taking a second derivative. Two of the dimensions were stripped away to simplify the rendering of that object. A video that's broadcast to a TV screen keeps a 3rd dimension of time in the recording by displaying 2 dimensions like a photo, plus it changes with the live action.
The photo and the video each take the original and reduce it into a copy, compressing a complex 4 dimensional event onto a simpler film or screen. So who's to say that the reality we know isn't just a representation of something much more detailed? Perhaps "you" are merely a simplified version of a higher dimensioned being. If gravitons can pass out of our 4-d spacetime along some gravity axis, then perhaps meditation, prayer, and devotion can summon spiritual particles from worlds where they are more plentiful.
If our world of 4-d spacetime is really derived from a higher dimensioned reality, like a photograph, couldn't there be an infinite number of copies made? It's almost inconceivable that there could be other versions of us in coexistant universes. To borrow again from math's concept of calculus, an integral measures the volume of a solid by summing up the areas of layers of whisper thin slices stacked atop one another. In order to find the volume of a ream of paper you measure the area of just one sheet and then multiply that by the number of sheets. If you add up all the whisper thin slices of spacetime then the volume of our existence is the sum of all our parallel universes. These parallel lives are integrated into a spiritual whole, and each life is a derivative of that spirit. Perhaps you are just an infinitely thin slice of your true self. Now that "chip off the old block" imagery takes on new meaning. One scientist completed experiments using laser light interference which he claims proves the existence of other universes. Those interested may wish to read The Fabric of Reality : The Science of Parallel Universes -- And Its Implications, by David Deutsch.
In Vedic philosophy, the chakras are centers in the body that correspond to the physical plexuses and control the flow of a spiritual energy, such as survival, self-expression, love, and impartial vision. Every one of these 7 energy centers has a vibrational frequency with a corresponding note on the diatonic scale. When there is discord within our body, it is the result of one or more chakras vibrating out of tune. Sound plays an important part in healing as it sets a correct pitch with which to realign our chakras, hence the power and the passion of music.
This concept of realignment was described in 1665 by the Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens who called it "the sympathy of the clocks ." Huygens noticed that whenever he finished building a new clock and set it on the wall with the others, eventually it would soon swing in unison with the pendulums of the other clocks. This later became known as the process called Entrainment. Examples surround us, from the way we mimic each other's speech patterns, yawn contagiously, or lock strides when walking with another person. Fireflies tend to light up as a group, and crickets build their individual chirps into one large drone.
The Yogis describe entrainment by saying that while the cell is autonomous and is most often directed by its own "cell mind," it is influenced by a "group mind," and the group together is persuaded by the higher regions within the body, following a chain-of-command with the ultimate authority being conscious thought. For instance, you can take deep breaths and exhale slowly, this will in turn make the heart slow down; lowering blood pressure has an effect on cellular activity. Control the semi-automatic processes and you will have control over the automatic processes, too.
As a massless vibration, a string should be subject to the same laws of entrainment that govern other vibrations and cycles. Therefore, harmony or discord within the chakras can bring about changes in the vibrations of strings themselves. In this way the body can be seen as a series of cascading entrainments down to each and every vibrating string, with the origin or highest governing power being the Individual's Consciousness.
Trika Shaivism now becomes a metaphor for String Theory and Entrainment:
"... the Goddess, Spanda Shakti dances back and forth in pure delight between two points, becoming this very Creation inside and out. The individual soul also performs this act of creation on a daily basis in a limited way."³ Spanda Karikas 1:1
While bound to the confines of the mind, one's world is limited. But once the Yogi becomes established in the superdimensional realm of the Spirit Consciousness, the very building blocks of our universe become subject to the will, summoned from their boundless source. Pragmatists would say that our attitudes are shaped by the experienced world. But the opposite is true too: The reality we experience is shaped, literally, by the individual's consciousness. We are each able to control, and even manifest, the reality in which we live.
1. World Cultural Center, Inc. "Kashmir Shaivism. Learn More About Kashmir Shaivism And The Great Siddha Master Abhinavagupta." Spanda Yoga Meditation (2004-2005). Retrieved March 2, 2005, from http://www.spandayoga.org/shaivism.html
2. Herdeiro, Carlos. "M-theory, the theory formerly known as Strings." Cambridge Relativity (1996). Retrieved March 2, 2005 from http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/gr/public/qg_ss.html
3. World Cultural Center, Inc. "Excerpts From The sutras On Creation." Spanda Yoga Meditation (2004-2005). Retrieved March 2, 2005 from http://www.spandayoga.org/creation.html
© 2005 by Jason Neely.
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The Spanda School of Yoga Science, Inc., "Welcome to SUPREME MEDITATION. We offer programs in Meditation, Meditation Intensives, Yoga, Meditation and Chanting programs, How To Meditate Course, Weekend Meditation Retreats, 1-Day Meditation Courses, Free Weekly Meditation Programs in Connecticut, New York and the Tri-State area - Meditation Meditation Intensives Meditation and Chanting Programs The Siddha Path Bhagawan Nityananda 1-Day Meditation Courses Weekend Meditation Retreats Free Meditation Programs Chanting and Meditation Supreme Meditation Intensive Supreme Meditation In Connecticut and New York Siddha Maha Yoga Trika Shaivism Kashmir Shaivism Programs in Meditation In The Tri-State Area." Spanda Yoga Meditation (2004-2005). Retrieved March 2, 2005 from http://www.spandayoga.org [edit 9/15/2010] Website address changed to http://suprememeditation.org/