“The concept of God is a self-referral phenomenon.”Thom Knoles
Does God exist? It’s a question that’s puzzled humankind for millennia and the answer, from the Vedic worldview, is sure to both surprise and delight you, even if you are a hardened atheist.
This is not your standard philosophical debate on the idea of God, gods and goddesses but a matter-of-fact exploration that will liberate you from any dogma surrounding the subject or any social indoctrinations that might be limiting your perception.
Most importantly, you’ll discover that experience trumps faith or belief when it comes to having a definitive answer to the question.
And if you need to listen to this episode two or three times to ‘get it’ that’s okay. In fact, as with all of Thom’s podcast episodes, we recommend it.
You can listen to God, Gods and Goddesses – Part 2 here and Part 3 here.
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God is a Self-Referral Phenomenon
Layers of Thinking
Who Are You?
How Do You Know?
Creating A Model of the World
The Unknown Becoming Known
Everything That’s ‘Out There’ is In Here
Agreeing With the Atheists
Something Greater Than One’s Own Individuality
Consciousness is Independent of the Brain
Everything is in the Eye of the Beholder
I Love You
And I Thought You Loved Me Too
Transcendental Being – The Only True Shared Experience
God, Gods and Goddesses
Removing Distorted Memories of Past Experiences
Fight or Flight
Premature Cognitive Commitments
Distorted Memories in Action
Less Stress, Improved Perception
The Soma Flows and Perception Grows
I See and I Smell
A Celestial World Reveals Itself
Seeing Gods and Goddesses
The World Is For Us As We Can Be For It
Your Local Neighborhood God
Does God Exist?
What is Supreme For You?
Albert Einstein and the Universe Are One
Established in Being…
Recognizing God (Without Faith)
Trust in Your Own Personal Experience
Jai Guru Deva
God, Gods and Goddesses – Part 1
[00:00] God is a Self-Referral Phenomenon
On this episode, I’m going to be speaking about gods, goddesses, and God. And full disclosure, I gave a 10-day retreat on this subject in India, not so long ago. Perhaps, in 2015 or so. So I’m well versed in the topic, and today will be some of the high points of that, perhaps some points added.
Our first point of reference has to be that of a very familiar theme in the Vedic worldview. And that is, there are three elements of the process of gaining knowledge: the Knower, the Knowing, and the Known. The Knower, is that self inside that is the experiencer, the observer, the witness. The Knowing, are the means by whereby perception occurs. And so we could look at sensory perception, we could look at intellectual discrimination, et cetera. And then the Known. The Known is whatever is the object that is being appreciated.
As with all things, the concept of God is a self-referral phenomenon. What do we mean by this?
In the Vedic worldview, there is no world “out there”. There is out there, only what you’re experiencing “in here”. That is to say, you cannot experience anything except what your state of consciousness allows you to experience.
[02:31] Layers of Thinking
So consciousness as a word needs here to be analyzed a little bit. What are you capable of being conscious of? What is the breadth of your consciousness? Can you detect the wind blowing in the background in Flagstaff, Arizona? Can you detect the tiniest movements nearby you? Can you detect layers of your thinking, the surface layer of your thinking, the secondary layer of your thinking, third, fourth, fifth?
Cognitive neuroscientists have identified at least 10 layers, which can be going on simultaneously in the human mind. And so what is the degree of consciousness that you have? How conscious are you? And typically the more conscious we are, the greater the breadth of experience.
Then we have to look at the capacity of sensory perception. Sometimes our senses without training, lack the acuity—if there were a word such as acuteness, it would mean that acuity acuteness—the acuity of clarity, of taste, touch, smell, seeing and hearing. So the ability to experience at the finest level.
[03:57] Who Are You?
So when we’re thinking about the subject of God, what we’re really thinking about as a first point of reference, is knowledge of the Knower. Who are you? What are you? What is your consciousness state? What is your capability as Knower to experience Self?
That is that layer of you that lies beyond the ever-changing facts of where your body was born, where your body grew up, the friends that you had, the things that happened, the things that didn’t happen, the fulfilled desires, the unfulfilled desires. These are all relativities.
We have as our first point of reference, the Knower. The Knower is the Self. The ultimate Knower is the Field of Being or pure consciousness. Without that in its fullest most fledged reality, the sensory perception phenomena are also going to be somewhat limited. So if we have limited sense of Self, limited Knower, we’re going to have limited sensory perception.
[05:15] How Do You Know?
Knowing. The knowing is the capacity to bring in knowledge, using the mechanisms of knowing. And those are not restricted solely to the five senses. We may also look at intellectual discrimination because when the five senses deliver something, it is our intellectual discrimination, which allows us to tell the difference between one thing and another thing that may appear to be very like it, but in fact, different from the first thing in several ways.
Knower, Knowing, Known.
Let’s put God for the moment, in the area of Known. So whenever we look at the knowing of anything, first point of reference, Knower. Second point of reference, clarity and acuity of sensory perception. Third point of reference takes care of itself. Whatever it is we think is out there is in fact nothing but a model for what is “in here” inside the self.
In the field of cognitive neuroscience, we’re very familiar with this concept. We have visited this subject in previous talks, but I want to review it just for a moment.
[06:33] Creating A Model of the World
Our brain, from the time that we are born, begins the process of taking the raw images, the stimuli that come through the senses, into the mind, and the brain begins to create for them models.
When a neonate, that is a newborn infant, looks up at his mother or her mother, he or she sees a kind of pastiche of color, relatively little detail, not because the cerebral cortex or the senses of perception are themselves in any way dull, but because there hasn’t yet been sufficient regularity of stimulation of the brain of the neonate in order for its brain to have created a consistent model for what it’s seeing.
When we have a consistent model, that is to say, when we have a world constructed around us where things behave mostly according to our expectations, a wall is there, a floor is there, the sky is out there, the wind is blowing, the trees are moving, et cetera, et cetera, our brain explains all of these stimuli around us using the models that our brain has created to explain the world in which we live.
And we start to become functionally interactive with our environment, provided that we’re moving around in an environment from which we’ve had regular stimulation.
[08:08] The Unknown Becoming Known
But those forms and phenomena, which have not yet stimulated us regularly enough, our brain doesn’t really understand what they are. And it may pass them off as something else that is already in an existing model, or it may simply ignore them or leave a question mark and move on.
And so in order for us to have a model for a thing, a form or a phenomenon, our brain has regularly to have been stimulated by that form, by that phenomenon. That means we have to have had the acuity of sensory perception that can deliver that form, that phenomenon on a regular basis.
And then also, we have to have had the state of consciousness, that is the Knower—now, we’re looking at Knower, the first point of reference—that is broad enough to be able to take in that information. So Knower, Knowing, Known, all these things go together.
The Known actually, is whatever your brain has modeled. So we’re absolutely convinced that there are people out there, there’s someone out there, there’s something out there, there’re walls and things, there’s an objective world.
[09:24] Everything That’s ‘Out There’ is In Here
The fact is neither a cognitive neuroscientist, nor indeed a quantum mechanic—these are the people in physics who deal with the most successful theories of modern science that have to do with the way in which consciousness and expectation precedes manifestation of matter—neither a cognitive neuroscientist nor a quantum mechanic would agree that there is an objective world “out there”.
What’s out there turns out to be your state of consciousness. And so for us to say, “Well, is there a God out there?” Is there a God out there? Well, everything that’s out there is “in here”.
“Is there a God in here? Is there such a thing as a supreme intelligence, resting somewhere inside one’s own consciousness that gives the appearance of being not only inside you, but also outside you because your outside is totally inside?” And this is the point that I’m making.
So God, like everything else, our knowledge of God, is a self-referral phenomenon.
[10:35] Agreeing With the Atheists
For those who insist that there is no God, that is to say they insist that there is no supreme intelligence that has a particular look or a shape or a form that is verifiable or measurable by modern scientific methodology, those who might refer to themselves as atheists, generally speaking, their use of the word God has to do with a concept of organized religion to which they’re opposed.
I’m yet to meet an atheist who is not upset with organized religion as in fact their primary objection. Their objection to the concept of God is an objection to the way in which organized religion has foisted ideas of God on to a frightened populace, and the way in which the concept of God is used for creating fear-based administration and achieving compliance.
I couldn’t agree more with my atheist friends about that kind of objection one might have about the concepts of God.
[11:47] Something Greater Than One’s Own Individuality
But now we’re speaking in the Vedic worldview, what is God? The answer to that has to be another question… What are you? What is the nature of your own consciousness? Because in every consciousness, there is something that is deemed to be supreme, something that is deemed to be the greatest, greater than one’s own individuality. One’s own individuality. Whatever is greater than one’s own individuality. Even an atheist would have to agree that there is something that is greater, more significant, more important than one’s own individuality.
Whenever in these few cases, where such states exist, where someone says, “There is nothing greater than my own individuality,” then I’m going to say just fine. Then we have to agree that according to the Knower inside there, inside you, you are God yourself. If you are the supreme intelligence of everything that you can see around, perhaps the cleverest person in the room, in any room in which you find yourself, perhaps you haven’t visited too many rooms yet and come across the intelligence levels of somebody who has a greater intelligence than your own.
And so I’m not poo-pooing atheism. What I’m saying is atheism almost invariably has to do with an objection to the behaviors of organized religion on earth.
And we need to make a distinction between that objection and objections about the sheer concept of there being intelligence outside the realm of the human brain.
[13:36] Consciousness is Independent of the Brain
It’s a very interesting fact that the vast majority of Nobel laureates and the vast majority of famous scientists were not atheists. They could allow for a concept of an intelligence that exists a priori, exists as a fundamental fact of the universe in which they find themselves. And I’ll include in this, a couple of scientists who have had a big influence on me. One of those is Albert Einstein, with whom I never had the chance to study because I was far too young when he passed.
The other is Sir John Eccles, E-C-C-L-E-S. Sir John was an Australian neuropsychologist, neurologist, philosopher, Nobel laureate, and a great and deep thinker. His writings, some of them very technical if you’re not in the field of neuroscience, but others, written for the lay public, include his concept of consciousness as being a phenomenon that exists independently of materialism, and that there must be layers of consciousness, that the human condition is not a condition that humans themselves came up with. That there is, in fact, a very good reason, and with plenty of evidence, to assume that consciousness is not a body-dependent phenomenon.
And in fact, one of my great inspirations from Sir John was exactly that phrase that, that consciousness is not a product of the brain, but the brain and its behaviors are products of consciousness.
Consciousness exists prior to the brain existing. Consciousness exists after the brain ceases to exist. The brain from Eccles’ point of view was something closer to a transducer or a radio which could pick up a particular spectrum of the underlying consciousness field.
[15:55] Everything is in the Eye of the Beholder
Most quantum physicists also agree that consciousness is a thing that exists independently of matter, that matter is a product of consciousness. Again, cognitive neuroscientists and quantum field theorists in quantum mechanics have a lot of agreement in this area. That the idea that there’s an objective world out there that all observers would agree absolutely are the characteristics of that objective world, this is folly.
You know yourself that if two people know a third person, one of them may have known that third person for 30 or 40 years and lived with that third person. The other is meeting that third person for the first or second time. These two observers, who are observing the same third person, are observing from their perspective, a completely different person. The slightest nuance to the one who’s known that third person for three decades, the nuances of the way they move one eyebrow, or a slight flare of the nostrils, or faint expression, or faint little flutter of the eye, or change in gesture, et cetera, a change in voice tone, would indicate a world of meaning to someone who’d known that person for 30 years.
For someone who had met that person only a few times, in the first instance, probably none of those subtleties of the behavior of this third person would ever have even been noticed.
And so if two people make a report on a third person, the one who has known the third person for the longest would probably have many, many pages to write. Whereas the one who’d known the third person for the least amount of time, would be able to only report a few paragraphs.
[17:49] I Love You
So is there an objective world out there? The answer is no. What’s out there is you. What is out there is the consciousness state that you’re in. Can two people agree upon what’s out there? I would say, we have to use the word modicum. There’s a modicum of agreement about what’s out there. We have all experienced with people that we love dearly, something akin to the following, which I’m going to use as an analogy, and something to which many of you might be able to relate.
Let’s take the word love. “I love you.” Someone ventures to say after having felt deep feelings of attraction, adoration and other phenomena in their own consciousness about another person. And they feel as though it’s a very adventurous thing to say. The other person might say, “Oh, thank you for saying it. I’m so glad you said it first because I’ve been experiencing the same thing. I also love you.” And both of them think, “Oh, we love each other.” Then we start using this word love and bandied about in many other areas, “I love pepperoni on my pizza. I love those shoes. I love this. I love that. I love pepperoni. I love shoes. I love you.”
There’s going to come a point where this concept of what this word love indicates has to be examined. And usually that point comes in the regular exigencies of living daily life and sharing bathrooms and toothbrushes and things with somebody, where the two people have been saying how much they love each other. Somebody will behave in a way that the other will consider not to be love.
[19:47] And I Thought You Loved Me Too
“I thought you loved me,” says someone.
The other says, “But I do love you.”
“Well, when I talk about love, it would preclude all those behaviors that I heard from you this morning.”
The other one says, “Well, when I talk about love, it wouldn’t preclude those behaviors. Those are the behaviors that live within the realm of love from my perspective.”
“Oh, so you don’t love me,” says the first.
“But I do love you,” says the second.
“Well, that’s not what my definition of love is.”
And the second is saying, “I guess we have a different definition of love.”
And then the two of them have to look back over all the times they’d said love to each other, and see if in fact, two people have actually had an identical shared experience.
[20:32] Transcendental Being – The Only True Shared Experience
By the way, it’s highly unlikely that any two people ever have had exactly the same one shared experience. In the Vedic worldview, this is coming from Adi Guru Shankara. Shankara was the great master who lived about 2580 years ago, in central India, and one of the great masters of the tradition that brought Vedic Meditation to the modern day.
Shankara says there’s only one experience that two people can have, which is absolutely shared and identical. And that is the experience of Transcendental Being. If individuality goes flat, that is to say, think of a wave, a curved wave, settling down, settling down on the ocean, and then it settles down to a point where it’s about to go flat. At the moment that it goes flat, there’s transcendence. Consciousness knows itself, Being as experiencing Being. There is no relativity.
Two people emerging from that experience of transcendence might be able to say, even though they would describe it differently, “We experienced the same thing.” Why? Because they were the same one thing. The oneness is an Absolute experience. The problem with it is, it can’t be shared in the world of relativity. Because in the world of relativity, that oneness that has bifurcated, the symmetry of it has broken.
[22:08] God, Gods and Goddesses
All right, let’s use some of these ideas and relate them to the proposition before us, God, gods and goddesses.
What’s out there? Well, what’s out there is what’s in here. Everything that’s out there is in here. Everything that you think is outside of you is actually inside of you.
Is there something perceptible as being a Supreme Being? Let me take you through some of the classic experiences that have been had by thousands of meditators. I’ve taught about 40,000 people the technique of Vedic Meditation in my career, spanning about 50 years. And there have been many other people who I’ve met, who’ve had a similar track of experience and it goes something like this.
[23:00] Removing Distorted Memories of Past Experiences
As a result of meditating regularly, one’s body is able to rid itself of accumulated stress. Stress is the residue of the overloads of past experiences that one’s body has held on to as distorted memories. And these distorted memories and distorted importance of these memories is retained in the cells of the body of someone.
When you learn to meditate, as your mind settles down to that least-excited state regularly twice a day, your body also follows into its own least-excited state. That least-excited state of the mind generates a least-excited body state, a state of deep rest and relaxation.
When the body goes into a state of deep rest and relaxation, the body is able to let go of stresses, let go of deep impressions that were made in the past, but which no longer have any relevance as triggers.
[24:07] Fight or Flight
Stress tends to have this capacity, which we call in neuroscience, premature cognitive commitment. That is to say, the way in which our brain has made a commitment to the danger meaning of certain colors, sounds, and other kinds of perceptible thresholds.
Let’s say, for example, that I’m eating a strawberry. And while eating the strawberry, my iPhone rings and somebody on the other end gives me some news that I didn’t expect. It turns out that I had grossly inaccurate expectations and now my expectations have been shattered and I have to adjust.
Suppose in that moment, with a strawberry still in my hands and the taste of it still on my lips, I don’t have enough adaptation energy to interact with this new change of information in a way that is successful. So I fail to interact adaptively. What happens is, when we fail to interact with change adaptively, we react. Instead of interacting, we react, and we react in a way which is a maladaptation to the change.
The maladaptation means that our body goes into an autonomic,just think that word means automatic, an automatic or autonomic behavior known as the fight/flight mechanism. If we don’t like the change, we may try to fight it. It’s like an enemy has appeared and you want to kill it. Or if you can’t fight it, then you try to flee from it.
[25:30] Premature Cognitive Commitments
And there are various ways we might do this physiologically, literally running, or we might go into a kind of inner catatonia to get away from the demand. “How can I make this demand not a demand? Either fight it, kill it, or run from it, get away from it.” And when we have fight/flight reactions to changes of expectation, then the maladaptation is recorded. But the interesting thing is that our brain doesn’t just record the situation. It records all the input that was there at the time of the situation.
Supposing that you were in your favorite crystal shop, and they were burning some sandalwood incense in the background. And you had a stress reaction, because someone’s dog that was supposed to be a service dog bit you on the knee, while you were examining a crystal. Your brain will not only memorize the dog, the bite, and so on, but the smell of the sandalwood incense.
If you are talking on the iPhone with your strawberry in your fingertips, and you got a change of information, then your brain is going to memorize this flavor and look and smell of strawberry. These things then become premature cognitive commitments. What does that mean?
Premature meaning our brain prematurely makes a commitment to an otherwise innocent perception, a color, a flavor, a smell of incense, whatever happened to be around at the time that we had the overload of experience.
[27:31] Distorted Memories in Action
So these are stored in the brain and in the body and in the central nervous system – this is the larger brain, the central nervous system – as distorted information, distorted memories that have in fact no relevance for the present moment into the future after the event is over with.
Somebody might offer you a strawberry and you may have utterly forgotten intellectually about you having a strawberry in your mouth when you got bad news over your phone years before. Nonetheless, you taste the strawberry and your brain says, “Oh, this is that dangerous thing.” And it begins to react to that.
Or you walk into someone’s home and they’re burning sandalwood incense. And though you’ve forgotten intellectually that sandalwood incense happened to be the predominant smell at the time that the weimaraner dog bit you on the knee, you get a bit jumpy and sweaty handed and dry in the mouth, and you have no idea that it’s the sandalwood incense doing it. You might even tell people, “I love the smell of that incense.” And you may have no idea why you’re feeling like you’ve lost your appetite, you’re dry in the mouth, your hands are sweaty, and your heart rate has increased. You might think that you’re coming down with a virus or something.
[28:53] Less Stress, Improved Perception
And so a premature cognitive commitment is the legacy of a stress reaction. When we meditate regularly, these chemical substrates of the memory of stress in the cells are as if peeled away layer by layer with regular daily practice of meditation. And as this happens, our sensory perception starts to become more and more what should have been normal.
Our capacity to experience through our senses with greater and greater accuracy, our brain’s capacity to operate at its full computing power because it’s no longer overloaded with all this irrelevant information about dogs and sandalwood and strawberries and iPhones, and our brain’s CPU, its computing capability, expands considerably. Our creativity, our intelligence, our modeling capability, and the subtlety and acuity of our perception grows and grows.
As meditation continues to progress, we use a mantra in Vedic Meditation, this is a sound that has no intended meaning, but whose mellifluous characteristics draw the mind deeply into the subtle states of consciousness that precede transcending into the state of Being. And as the mind of the meditator who’s becoming increasingly free of stress grows and grows in his capacity to experience the subtlety of the primary medium of experience in meditation, the mantra, the mind also begins to be able to experience other subtle phenomena.
First of all, in the eyes-closed state during meditation, and later, as the senses adapt to and make regular and stabilize this acuity of perception, the ability to detect subtle phenomena in the eyes-open state, outside of meditation. As this grows and grows and grows, this ability gives us access to regular stimulation by extremely subtle, extremely faint, perceptible phenomena.
[31:13] The Soma Flows and Perception Grows
Moreover, the body of the meditator begins to produce more and more precious products of the process of digestion. You know yourself if you ate perfectly delicious, organic, well-prepared food, but you were stressed, then your body can turn that perfect food into toxins. Likewise, a mind and body that are stress free, can even take food which is toxic, and eliminate the toxins from it, and turn that food into nectar. So food that is like nectar to begin with can be turned into toxins by a stressed physiology. Food that is even toxic can be turned into nectar by a physiology that is freed of stress.
As we continue to grow in our consciousness state, through the regular practice of Vedic Meditation, our body begins to produce finer and finer products of digestion. The finest product of digestion, that comes from being in the highest-consciousness state as a result of regular meditation has a name in Sanskrit, and that name is S-O-M-A, Soma, Soma.
Soma is as if a celestial, meaning super fine, biochemical, it’s a biochemical that is produced as a result of digestion. When Soma begins to flow more and more freely in the physiology, then the senses of perception become increasingly acute. With this greater and greater acuity, the mind and the brain begin together to experience, through the senses, very, very subtle phenomena, phenomena which perhaps are right on the level of being quantum mechanical.
[33:17] I See and I Smell
Now, let’s stop for a moment and say this. It has been demonstrated in perceptual psychology and perceptual and cognitive neuroscience, that the human eye is capable of detecting phenomena in light that are on the scale of one photon of light. A photon is incredibly faint. When you look at the faintest star in the night sky, the very faintest star is creating waveforms or packets of photons of about 90 photons per wave. So the very famous star that you can see with a dark-adapted eye in the night sky is about 90 photons.
But a person whose eyes are dark adapted in a lab setting, and particularly someone who’s practicing meditation regularly, could perceive, with special equipment detecting this, stimuli as faint as one photon. One photon is on the level of quantum mechanical phenomena.
The human olfactory nerve can detect a molecule of vanilla and identify it in a volume of air that is the size of a gymnasium. If that molecule of vanilla happens to come into contact with the olfactory nerve, one could say, “I smell something like vanilla around here.” A molecule which is just made up of a few atoms. So human physiology is in fact capable of extraordinarily subtle perception, of extraordinary subtle phenomenology.
[35:00] A Celestial World Reveals Itself
As we go back to our initial assertion, if you are stimulated regularly by something, your brain will begin to model it, your brain will begin to create a model for it.
As meditators, perceptual capability grows and grows and grows and grows. It’s natural for their brain to begin to develop and to create models that explain what it is that they’re seeing, tasting, smelling, hearing, touching. There is a world that opens up to the meditator.
That world is referred to in the Vedic terminology, in the metaphysical terminology of the Vedic language as “celestial”. Celestial means the finest in the relative world, the first things that emerge out of the unmanifest Unified Field. And the celestial turns out to be a highly-ordered layer or set of phenomenology.
The celestial has to do with the genesis of cascades of laws of nature. When you experience how the laws of nature cascade one into the next, cause and effect, something happens, it creates an effect. That effect becomes the cause of the next phenomenon, which then produces another effect. That effect becomes the cause of a new phenomenon, which has another effect. This is what we call a cascade. A cascade of cause and effect of laws of nature, which are known laws of nature.
How is it, for example, that you drive your diesel truck and you end up with global warming? Well, if there are tens of millions of diesel trucks being driven about, and the carbon goes into the atmosphere, and this changes the way that the earth retains the heat that’s coming from the sun, then you have global warming. This is a cascade. A cascade from one thing which is a cause or a proximate cause, and the knock-on effect of all of the other things that then become causes of the next phenomenon.
[37:24] Seeing Gods and Goddesses
When someone has super subtle perception, they can sense the genesis or origin of the cascades of the laws of nature that are explaining everything that goes on around them. What happens is our brain stylizes these origin concepts and perceptions. It stylizes them and turns them into personalities.In this we have gods or goddesses.
Our human brain is designed to see faces. People will often look up at clouds and go, “Do you see the face? Do you see that face? Oh, look, there’s a face?” Would a dog see a human face if it looked up at a cloud? The answer is no, it wouldn’t. It’d probably see a dog face if it’d even saw the cloud at all.
Our human brain is designed to arrange faces and forms that are anthropomorphic, from subtle phenomena that it looks at. This is how a newborn baby looks at its mother’s face and looks at all the colors and the forms and everything, and constructs a model for the mother’s face.
In the subtle world, in that celestial layer of experience, one is experiencing super-subtle phenomena that have very important effects and stimulating cascades of the behaviors of laws of Nature. And our brain conceives and constructs a celestial world filled with beings, filled with beings. And that state of consciousness which is referred to in the Vedic language as “God Consciousness”. It doesn’t mean you have the consciousness of a Supreme Being. It means you have the capacity to experience at the subtlest level and your mind and brain have created from that world, personality.
[39:30] The World Is For Us As We Can Be For It
You know how people do this with their pets? “Oh, my pet thinks this. My pet thinks that. My pet is upset that I’ve had an argument with my boyfriend. My goldfish is grieving because it sensed the vibration of a bad conversation I had on the phone just now.”
This is the human mind constructing from the world of living things, emotions that a human might have, but projecting them onto that living thing. It’s highly unlikely that a goldfish or a dog or a cat is actually going to be experiencing something that the human is experiencing. It might be picking up your pheromones, your skin-released airborne hormones of sadness. And for some of the mammals like cats and dogs, that is actually a smell that’s detectable as the sadness smell.
And so, Julie is sad today. So the dog is on the lookout and feeling sad and giving Julie a few more licks. Is the dog actually aware that Julie got upset because Bruce said something callous over the telephone? Well, if we take our projection into that level, we again reaffirm and confirm that what we think is out there is actually in here. The world is for us as we can be for it. There’s no world out there except us.
[40:57] Your Local Neighborhood God
So in God Consciousness, what is out there? What’s out there is what’s in here, your capacity to detect how cascades of laws of nature, how cause and effect connects like dots connecting all over the place. And it’s natural for the human brain to anthropomorphize that, to turn that into the beings of the celestial world. And those beings, gods and goddesses, because there’s masculine and feminine perceptible absolutely everywhere, must have some being, which is the supreme amongst those beings. And that phenomenon is detectable by the senses.
Would you experience the same Supreme Being if you were someone who grew up in the Kalahari, a Kalahari bush person? As someone who is a Dane, who grew up in Denmark, in the snowy hills of Denmark? Would the Kalahari bush person and the Dane, experience the same Supreme Being? Highly unlikely. Would there be characteristics that each of these could talk about, that would verify and validate that what they’re experiencing is indeed for them supreme? Absolutely.
There are shared characteristics, but when you get down to the detail, we find that there’s a difference. And this is explanatory of why it is that concepts of and descriptions of celestial beings and deities, to use the English word, are different throughout all of the literature, whether it’s sacred literature or simple literature of reports of subtle experience of humans.
[42:57] Does God Exist?
What we’re really experiencing there is there are common themes, there are motifs of phenomenology about what God is, or gods and goddesses are, and there are similarities.
Someone who is very good at detecting similarities, looking at all of these experiences in an interdisciplinary way, will be able to find many similarities. But we will also find differences that correspond with cultural, geographic, elevational, and other phenomena that came to bear on the formation of the human nervous system.
So does God exist? Well, the answer is, do you exist? If you exist, there’s something supreme for you. What is supreme for you? Somebody who is a rabid, anti-religion atheist might say, “Only science exists.” Well, then you are a scientician. You are someone for whom the laws of nature and their measurable form is for you, God.
[44:07] What is Supreme For You?
Don’t worry about anything. Nobody’s going to make you do anything, just because we refer to it as supreme. There’s always something supreme. What is supreme for you?
For someone, supreme might be their infant, for the moment, until the infant grows up and becomes a teenager or an adolescent. For someone else, something that’s supreme might be the car they just bought.
For someone else, something supreme might be a range of subtle experiences that they have deep inside themselves, that explain every form and every phenomenon and every cascade of the laws of nature, that they see all around them, something that brings them a sense of certainty and knowingness. The value of knowledge always is an action that it can produce.
Do you have a greater range, repertoire of behaviors and responses if you’re in God consciousness than you have if you’re in, say, car consciousness? That’s a rhetorical question and I hope my laughter helps you understand what the answer would obviously be.
The greater the breadth of capacity for perception, the greater the capability to put together and connect known things in a way that gives you a greater understanding.
[45:39] Albert Einstein and the Universe Are One
I enjoy very much reading some of the remarks of Albert Einstein, who when asked, “How did you know that space could curve itself around a mass?”
And then he corrected the person and said, “Actually, the mass appeared as a result of space curving itself. But yes, go ahead with your question.”
“How did you know?”
He said, “My fundamental cosmic sense.”
He said, “The Universe cannot behave in ways that I cannot understand.”
Basically, what he was saying is, “I and the Universe are one.” We have the capacity within ourselves to sense how the laws of nature work. And they don’t just extend to the chirp of a bird outside, or the blowing of the wind, but to the way in which space itself behaves. Space is a fabric that can curve and can cause light that travels through it to change its direction and curve. These are wonderful concepts from Albert Einstein.
Somebody would eventually have come up with Einstein’s cognitions within the next 200 years, if Einstein hadn’t done it first. But he was somewhere between, some people argue who are a little bit more narcissistic, 80 years ahead. Others who are a bit more realistic, up to 200 years ahead of his time.
Why was that? Well, you have only really, and I put it to you, you have only to look at a photograph of his face and those eyes to see that he was having an experience that was different to that being had by the average person. He could find how the laws of nature work deep inside of him.
Was he in God consciousness? Maybe not. Maybe he was in a state of consciousness approaching that.
[47:32] Established in Being…
But knowledge of the Self, and we’re going to come back to this now, knowledge of the Knower, knowledge of the Known, that is to say, the senses of perception, the capacity of the intellect to discriminate and differentiate and put things together that the senses deliver. So clarity of sensory perception, automatically generates the Known. Knower, first point of reference. Knowing, second point of reference. Known, automatic or already there.
And so if we want to answer the question about is there such a thing as God, we have, first of all, to establish ourselves in Being, which we can do through the regular daily practice of Vedic Meditation. And then having established ourselves in Being, the nervous system spontaneously cleans itself up, begins to function at a higher and higher level, greater and greater and more and more acute perception of subtler and subtler phenomena.
With regular stimulation by those subtler, subtlest phenomena, our brain begins to treat itself to the ability to model and to create consistency in that layer, which we would call the celestial layer. And therein we have the appearance of certain patterns of how these super subtle or celestial laws of nature function. There are patterns that emerge. What are the laws of nature of the subtlest layers of creation?
[49:12] Recognizing God (Without Faith)
And so then, there’s much more that we can talk about in this. I have created a course for people who practice Vedic Meditation entitled: Recognizing God. It’s an intentional display or play on words, Re-cognizing God. Recognizing. And to recognize God, we have to have two things: a larger intellectual framework, and new sets of experiences from inside.
The Vedic worldview does not present to you something in which you have to believe in order to have an experience. This is not a faith-based proposition, that if you believe it, then you’ll see it. It’s that if you develop the sensory capability to experience, then naturally, you will trust in what it is you experience yourself.
After all, that’s supposed to be what faith is. That you trust in the experiences that are regularly generated by you, by your own experience. Faith-based propositions say, believe really hard even though you can’t see anything, believe really hard even though there’s no actual evidence for it, look for evidence in ways that demonstrate that you believe, and then eventually, you might see something.
[50:35] Trust in Your Own Personal Experience
The Vedic worldview takes the absolute opposite role and position. If you’re not seeing anything that’s different to what other people see, don’t develop any belief or any trust in that. Go by what you’re experiencing.
But let’s say this, it can be demonstrated that there are people who experience something different to you and gives them greater capability, allows them to suffer less, making a greater contribution to the phenomenon of a group effort, that’s society, a greater social contribution. If you’d like to investigate, and to what it is those people report that they’re experiencing, there are systematic techniques of getting there [Vedic Meditation].
Moaning about God, crying in the name of God, suffering in the name of God, all of these weeping and carrying on all about God, these are not the systematic behaviors that yield the experience of the celestial.
We want to have a celestial experience. We have to get right down to where’s our fundamental consciousness, what’s happening with our flesh and bones and blood in terms of our physiological perceptual capability, and then let’s see what happens in that category of the Known.
So I think we’ve probably opened up that subject sufficiently today, and we’ll end at least this part of it there.
Jai Guru Deva.