“A flower cannot be by herself alone. To be empty is not a negative note… A flower is empty only of a separate self, but a flower is full of everything else. The whole cosmos can be seen, can be identified, can be touched, in one flower. So to say that the flower is empty of a separate self also means that the flower is full of the cosmos.” ………Thich Nhat Hanh
In my teachings of the interconnectedness of the self with the fullness of the Macrocosm, one of the slides I show is the most beautiful picture of the Milky Way Galaxy adorning the sky over the Colorado desert and the short definition of the Japanese word yūgen (幽玄), a term that Japanese artists and poets have used to signify a deep emotional response of relatedness with the Universe. This is expressed by the great Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, in the quotation above. As I am deeply interested in human consciousness and the possible approach to comprehending the nature of its all-encompassing attribute through which humanity is in the present evolved state through science, especially physics and biology, I try to closely follow the thoughts and writings of leading scholars who have an integral approach in their research though they are investigating very narrow domains in their own respective fields.
World's smartest Physicist and String theorist, Edward Witten said: “I think consciousness will remain a mystery. Yes, that's what I tend to believe. I tend to think that the workings of the conscious brain will be elucidated to a large extent. Biologists and perhaps physicists will understand much better how the brain works. But why something that we call consciousness goes with those workings, I think that will remain mysterious..”
I am able to resonate with his thinking as I believe that String theory is a strong candidate for unravelling the fundamental working of the universe. It needs eleven dimension but we live in a four dimensional domain and our consciousness is conditioned in this framework. We have no access to the any reference framework that lies outside our four dimensional world. This is n undeniable fact.
Even in our four dimensional world view we are still struggling to unravel certain observation as to why, in any closed system entropy keeps increasing and why the arrow of time always points to the future. There are as many debates as there are deep thinkers in the academia.
Buddhism has always insisted on the limited capacity of the human mind when it is extended to grasp any deeper reality other than those that we perceive through our sensory organs.
Whenever any radically creative work is attempted, any concepts which are already available to the perceiving mind becomes an impediment.
Seymour Cray, the founding researcher of Cray Supercomputers, always believed that any prior knowledge is an impediment to radical new thinking, hence when an advance version of Cray supercomputers enter the design stage, completely new resources are put together with the proviso that none of the older design information should be consulted. This has enabled the most advance computers using a ground breaking architecture upgradable to 100 petaflops (100,000,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second) per system.
The potentiality of the void is grasped at the individual level then the potentiality of the entire cosmos is opened to us.
“Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.”
Therefore benefit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.” ……….Verse 11 of Tao Te Ching
The universe evolved from the void and its macrocosmic functionality was contained in that very void from which it evolved. This understanding is sufficient to understand the futility of seeking any causality within the current framework of evolving consciousness. As the full potentiality of comprehension is inherently built into our consciousness, a transcendence beyond our limited rational consciousness operating through our mind is the need of the hour.
Imagine a cup that has an infinite capacity and totally transparent but appears to the person who is holding it as very limited because the portion that he wraps his hand around only gives him the feel of the presence of the cup. This false perception will lead him to refuse any nourishment beyond his apparent boundary.
It is only through our expansion of awareness beyond the limiting structures of our ego and seeing the interconnectedness of the entire cosmos that we can perceive that the entire universe evolves from our subjective perception.
For each of us to be meaningful in our existence, the subjective experience of all objective reality from the tiniest of organism to the galaxies, should be seen as an integral nature of our own existence.
This leads us to the experience of yūgen which is an inner emotional experience beyond the limiting mind.
Love to you all.