Recently, friends have been corresponding about “the mystery”. Can reality be known or is it destined to remain something of a mystery, greater than self-knowledge? My position is that we can know it when we are it. As we unfold who we are, we can unfold all the knowledge that comes with that.
Taking a Unity perspective, all form arises in the self-referral dynamics of consciousness. If an experience is taking place, even of an emptiness, it is taking place in consciousness.
By this I don’t mean because we’re conscious we can have an experience of an “outside” world. I mean that both the subject of experience (observer) and the object of experience (form) are arising in consciousness through its self-interacting dynamics. The Unified Field of physics is the inside surface of self-aware consciousness. The process of intention and attention draws form into being. Form never exists outside of consciousness.
We may then raise “if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” The issue with this line of thinking is the assumption that consciousness is local and confined to humans. Does the lack of humans mean bears and bees don’t get to hear it? Consciousness is vastly greater than a human brain. Forms arise in the whole and are shared.
To show the scale of it, we can talk about the layers of creation. Creation is nested in layers, one within the other. Consciousness becomes self-aware both globally and at all points within itself. We could say that consciousness looking in on itself creates a boundary condition and perceptual division but there is no actual division or separation. It is simply a condition of self-directed attention, just like when we read this screen, we’re not noticing the floor behind us.
The distinction of self observing within a boundary condition creates space, which may be infinite (infinities within infinities). The process of experience creates time. How we experience time thus varies by our relationship with the process of experience.
These layers somewhat align with the Koshas. The layers are expressed and recede in vast cycles of time described in the Vedas. Their calculation is based on multiplying up from more basic units like solar years, but as I noted in The Yugas, a calculation error crept in. Almost all sources are 360x too big (mistakenly converted to Devic scale) and most don’t go above the lifespan of Brahma, from which the lifespan of the universe is calculated. I’ve not found equivalent terminology in western traditions, so I use the Vedic words. Because nested space arises in consciousness, each layer includes the quality of time and that value of a life-cycle. Nested time means cycles within cycles.
The first layer arises when consciousness first becomes globally self-aware, when the liveliness stirs alertness and flows, curving back on itself to become self-aware. We might call this Atman (first kosha) or its lively surface divine mind. Godhead. Divine Mother. Holy Father.
From an impulse or thought within divine mind, creations (Genesis) arise. Some creations are very simple, some very complex. Ours is of the second.
The second layer is our creation nested within divine mind. We could call this the Shiva value which lasts for a Shiva lifespan (1/1,000 of the divine mother). This layer is what I call Cosmic on this blog. Narayana, the first born (the son), arises within creation. That leads to the cosmic body that contains and patterns all bodies.
The next layer is the Vishnu (a lifespan 1/1,000 of Shiva) layer, the sustainer and field of dharma. This is a stage within creation. It doesn’t have as distinct a boundary within creation but is a distinct stage of expression and of discovery. (we usually discover these layers in the opposite sequence, progressively larger)
Both together are Chittamaya Kosha.
The next layer is the Brahma (a lifespan 1/1,000 of Vishnu) or “creator” level. Many distinct universes arise here, each in their own nested space of self-aware consciousness. This is as far up the ladder many describe. This is the field of what I call Universal mind, the lively field who’s interactions are the 3 gunas. All experienced forms and phenomena of the world have their origins here. It is thus often called causal. This is Anandamaya kosha (the bliss body). Everything on this level is shared, in common. It is the home of Hiranya Garbha (the golden egg, seed form of the universe). It is also where the 7 chakras are first inserted which express later as our personal chakras in the Prana kosha.
How the universe expresses is then described several ways, depending on perspective. There is the rest of the mentioned koshas or sheaths. Some experience the 5 elements spiraling into form. Various philosophies describe it with various details.
Each form arises in nested consciousness. This is why, for example, we experience having a local mind with personal thoughts. And yet, there is a shared reality we experience relatively but commonly because our local awareness also exists within a larger awareness. We also share most laws of nature as they function on more universal levels.
This is the dynamics of local awareness – not separate from the whole, but nested in it like a bubble in soda.
This is also why Einstein’s space-time curvature works to describe the mass of objects. What is curving (back on itself) is consciousness. The resulting space reflects that.
Curving back on myself, I create again and again… — Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita
Forms we would call living have the energy structure of chakras to allow prana (chi, life) to move through the form and give it life. How expressed the chakras are varies widely, even within one type of life-form. (somewhat like most all life has a DNA blueprint for protein synthesis)
Creation is a very complex place. I’m sure there are a number of other ways this process could be described. But the basics are simple and repeat themselves, one within the other like a Russian doll. We’re the little one in the middle.