On articles here like Foundations, Creation- in a Nutshell, and The Big Picture, I’ve described the fundamental structure of existence and the origins of everything. However, this is highly abstract. A few years ago, while briefly teaching a grad class on the subject, I used a simple illustration. I’ve been intending to do the same for the blog.
In essence, before anything, before even existence or consciousness, there is two what might be called principles or tendencies in That, the silence. They are alertness and liveliness. The tendency to liveliness stirs the alertness and it becomes aware – not of anything, just pure awareness. Further stirred, awareness begins to flow within itself. This is illustrated on the left above. Of course, this flowing is more like water than a rigid line.
The flowing curves, then curves back on itself. On the right, there is recognition. Awareness becomes aware of itself. Existence becomes conscious. And from that self-interacting recognition, all of creation arises. This is not a theoretical or philosophical idea. It can be experienced directly.
“Curving Back on Myself, I Create Again and Again” –Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita
“Look at these worlds spinning out of nothingness. That is within your power.” –Rumi
This process happens both globally in creating what is called Atman or the cosmic Self (the koshas), and locally at every point within itself, in the origin of every distinct perceiver.
On the right, you’ll notice I’ve lettered the points. These are described a number of ways in various traditions.
a subject or observer, b object of observation, and c process of observation
You can also substitute experience for observe. In Sanskrit, these are rishi, chhandas and devata
You can also describe the a and b points as Shiva and Shakti or as Prakasha & Vimarsha from Tantra. Note how it’s clear even in such a simple illustration that they are non-separate. All is one, reflecting on itself.
The process of becoming is illustrated by another key detail on the right. The subtle distinction of self-recognition that takes place on the right (a-b) creates a subtle value of space. Space arises from the boundary condition or “edge” created by self-awareness. As awareness becomes self-aware at every point, space is also nested.
What we call mind or the unified field is that lively inner surface of self-aware consciousness. In other words, mind is the boundary condition of space.
That process of experience (c) determines how we experience time. Time is not a dimension of space but rather of how we’re experiencing. Notice also how c looks just like the left, flowing attention. Another way this is nested.
Hopefully the illustration sheds a little light on who we are and how we come to be.