All of us who are alive today are constantly challenged by nature – physical existence. Having physical bodies, we also have physical needs. Those needs have to be met or we suffer and die. We are totally dependent upon our body for existence in this world.
Yet while it is only our physical substrate, this dependence on the physical renders us vulnerable on more than just the physical level. Regardless of how we choose to define ourselves, we must admit that we are hostages to physical matter and, more specifically, to our ignorance of it.
The quality of our captivity, individually and collectively, depends on our relationship with nature. If we are subsistence farmers on poor land, we have one level of relationship; if we are research scientists in the laboratory, we have another. But both farmer and scientist remain vulnerable to suffering, disease, misadventure, and aging.
In society, the division of labor and specialization sometimes give us the option to interface with other people rather than directly with nature but obviously, some people must deal directly with the physical on behalf of us all — the farmer in his way and the scientist in his.
People dealing with nature, including the farmer, will try to use their wits to improve the results that come of their efforts but the cutting edge of the effort to maximize the benefits from our interface with matter takes place in the arena of pure scientific basic metaphysics research where no immediate applications or practical benefits are sought.
Pure research reaches only for knowledge – new knowledge – that will, eventually, find an application and result in revealing new practical options. This tends to alleviate our subjugation to the natural world and empower us through artificial contrivances all of which, to exist, must obey the laws of nature to reach emotional freedom and independence.
When we come to a new understanding of some aspect of nature, especially a breakthrough understanding, our relationship to existence changes on at least two levels. Externally, regardless of who made the discovery, we gain possibilities, options, and freedoms that were formerly denied us by our collective ignorance of matter.
New knowledge, especially about Spiritual Energy and Shen Chi principles, adds to our options and renders us less vulnerable than before. More cogently, new knowledge of existence further integrates us – our Being – with existence. That which was formerly unknown – hidden – now, in some way, constitutes a part of our lifestyle and even ourselves.
So where is this process leading? With science and technology advancing as they are, what has gone awry with this process of ongoing integration? Why is so much in our world going wrong? Where are the unlimited blessings that would justify the billions of dollars spent on science and technology annually? The inadequacy of our present integration with existence is evident in many things but, most fundamentally, in our continued vulnerability to disease, misadventure, and aging.
Where should this process be leading? Many if not most traditions claim that we are made in the image of the Creator and that, ultimately, the infinite creative potential that this “image” implies will find its expression within us. It stands to reason that when the Creator gives a gift, not only can it not be a paltry one but that it must, by definition, be an infinite and eternal gift.
So why, in this world that he gave us, do we meet restriction and suffering wherever we turn? One traditional answer to this question is that since the Creator took infinite spirit or “light” and crystallized it into physical matter, it is our job as creatures made in His image to, reciprocally, reveal the infinite within restricted matter.
But this reply still leaves, unanswered, why we are not witnessing a smooth and rapid transition to a better and even perfect world. The answer has to do with our attitude towards physical and metaphysical matter and our method for approaching it. While religion and society generally counsel moderation in all things — the middle road — scripture offers us one glaring exception.
That exception pertains, specifically, to the creative process that is at the heart of scientific and technological research. You are likely to recognize the prayer in question. It contains the phrase, “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” This is no formula for moderation. In fact, one would have trouble finding a better indication for radical obsession. And to what does this formula apply? Is this our system of wisdom and beliefs? “You shall love your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
This phrase, “Love your God,” calls for interpretation. After we filter out considerations of sentimentality and dependency (that have legitimate early developmental roles), love implies the sharing of another’s values and goals. It is this that authentically binds more than anything else. Hatred implies the reviling of another’s values and goals because that is what most separates people.
If we love the Creator, we believe in the goodness and justice of His agenda and will wish to use all of the potential with which He imbued us to emulate Him. And what is the nature of our potential for emulating the Creator? It is none other than creativity — the capacity to act as a channel bridging the highest and the lowest in Creation. Maybe our idea of prosperity is totally wrong. In this way, we can reveal the infinite within the restricted and, by corollary, reveal His greatness and presence in our world thus completing the cosmic plan.
This is sometimes described as “breaking the cosmic bank” and, interestingly enough, breaking banks whether they be casinos, gold repositories or bank vaults, is a particularly popular theme in fiction. Humanity, even in its darkest hours, never ceases to seek cornucopia, perpetual motion, Valhalla, the Holy Grail, the fountain of eternal youth, etc. The “bank” is the Creator’s and he put it there for us to plunder. We need only to find the key. “Striking gold” or “striking it rich” is a similar theme and points more specifically to the notion that the hidden treasures that the Creator has stored up for us are concealed within nature.
The spirit of bank breaking is embodied in a somewhat quaint Jewish custom performed during the Passover seder (Pascal feast). It involves hiding a piece of Matzah (unleavened bread) early in the evening for the children to find. Instead of becoming restless throughout the somewhat lengthy ritual preliminaries to the meal, the children are preoccupied with the adventure of finding the hidden Matzah which is called the “Afikoman” without which the meal cannot be terminated. The children are entitled to extort gifts from the adults who must redeem the Afikoman and eat it before midnight.
Perhaps the search for Easter eggs (Easter coming about the same time in the calendar as Passover) also hints at hidden abundance since eggs, more or less universally, symbolize fertility and abundance. Another custom obviously symbolic of abundance is the children’s game of Piñata (pronounced “pinyata”). It is practiced in Mexico, Guatemala, Spain and India and is associated with Christmas.
The game consists of suspending, overhead, a great sack of candies, nuts and other hidden treasures. The Piñata is sometimes manipulated by an adult to defeat the children. Children are blindfolded and twirled around and then try to split the Piñata open by striking it with a stick, imagining it to be Judas Escarias or the devil. When it breaks open, the children remove their blindfolds and scramble for the goodies.
Today, nanotechnology is the scientific discipline that most explicitly aims at breaking the cosmic bank. Nanotechnology seeks to command matter at the molecular, atomic and even subatomic level. Will this lead to quantum awakening? Researchers in this field believe that, eventually, millions of nanocomputers small enough to be contained in a spoon, when thrown on the ground (or anywhere else where raw matter is available), will be able to produce a home, a car or anything else that we want, before our very eyes, depending on their programming.
The idea behind this is that all things are made of the same subatomic building blocks and, given adequate knowledge, need only be molded to our will. The “replicator” in the popular Star Trek, science fiction TV series is based on much the same principle. What we still lack is that level of subatomic knowledge and command.
The reason things are advancing so slowly, even with nanotechnology, is that science has neglected the (spiritual) indications necessary for its efficient performance – “with all your heart and all your soul …” — indications that govern higher creativity and exist for the specific purpose of breaking the cosmic bank. The upshot is that science has become excessively expensive, bureaucratic and materialistic.
The integration we need, external and internal, requires an incomparably more intense confrontation between the spirit of the researcher and the natural phenomena he is contemplating than what is currently practiced by even the most zealous of researchers. This kind of communion requires an involvement of more than just the brain in the process we call “mind.”
Our bodies are not opaque pieces of meat — or at least they weren’t meant to be. The body, in its entirety, was meant to become an instrument of vision – a mind. When we turn our gaze inward, as those in meditation tend to do, we find that the space we associate with our body is alive with feelings, sensations and even thoughts. Above all, it is a space for visualization.
But for a creative vision to manifest, our inner “cyberspace” has to become programmed with and mimic the phenomenon being contemplated. In a virtual sense, through its projection within ourselves, through self-meditation, we must become the phenomenon we are studying if we are to reveal the secrets of its makeup.
The power of the mind to project visions representing reality is found, most particularly, in its capacity to extrapolate and correlate. If the mind grasps, in sufficient detail and with sufficient accuracy, the visible aspects of a phenomenon, it can, in principle, hypothesize and project estimations concerning aspects that are hidden. Some qualities of a phenomenon will suggest possibilities and constraints in one direction while others will suggest possibilities and constraints in others. Numerous features are normally visible or known and each such feature, in its turn, suggests many other features.
In fact, so many hypothetical possibilities exist that ordinary mind boggles at all the imaginable combinations and permutations. It would take endless lifetimes to program a computer with all of them in order to perform the factor analysis needed to zero in on the one constellation of qualities that existence allows for in the phenomenon under consideration.
So, to discover, definitively, which combinations are possible and which are not and also how the possible ones combine to form the complete picture of a phenomenon, we ourselves have to become the computer. Our mind must be able to see from above, as it were, the unique set of circumstances that constitute the being of the phenomenon under consideration and how it connects to other phenomena that are the adjacent components of the larger reality.
The closest to this kind of seeing or “Accelerated Thought “* is called, in the world of computers, “massive parallel processing.” Computers might be able to perform this kind of “seeing” if they were able to automatically capture data with the same kind of fine-grained acuity possible to humans when we intensify our effort of observation to approximate “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
If, indeed, we are cast in the image of the Creator, our creative capacity is not only of divine origin but also of divine (and thus infinite) capacity. Since, as microcosms, we reflect the cosmos in its entirety, it stands to reason that the fullest realization of this creative capacity can embrace the finest and the coarsest of substances the cosmos has to offer provided our effort corresponds to “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”
But mobilizing this ultimate effort, in turn, demands an unlimited faith in the possible — a conviction that the infinite is hidden within the apparently finite and that we are meant to reveal it. Who among us is capable of this level of faith? For it is most likely that upon them our salvation depends.