Listening to Stillness

by Alan McAllister, CCHt PhD-phys
published in Shakti Yogi Journal

shore of stillness

Winter is the time of year when the human body is designed to slow down, become still and turn inward. Allowing the impulse of the season to align with the natural rhythms of body and being one can drop into inner stillness. This is not only restful and refreshing, but accesses the spaces where inspiration, creativity, and being are sourced.

Like a pond that ripples on the surface yet is calm in the deep water; the practices of yoga help us to quiet the waves that disturb the levels of our being (kosas) so that we can see deep inside to the spiritual core of who we ARE.

Bringing stillness to each successive level of mind, the remaining waves are lower in frequency and longer in length.1 With longer wavelengths, the uncertainty of location of self grows and our awareness spreads out.2 Inside a very long wave, where the frequency approaches zero, there is also no time, as time is measured by the cycles of waves. Approaching physical stillness, we enter into a place of no space, no time, the place of Spirit; the void from which the creations of the manifest world arise, as in the aboriginal Dreamtime.3

Our physical bodies are comprised of atoms that are as internally spacious as the solar system, and which are spaced apart in molecules like suns in the central parts of our galaxy. By stilling our bodies, our emotions, and thoughts, we can become aware of this place of vacuum that fills most of our body. In this space the energies of our spirit and of Spirit reside and are available. The Void is accessible.

In the yogic traditions, it has long been taught that the timeless Void is the surface of Consciousness, the Life force that the physical universe is condensed out of, the sea of possibility from which all things manifest. Sitting in the Void with open curiosity, listening, we make space on the edge of unconditioned Being for inspiration and creativity to emerge. As Mirra Alfassa (Mother), describes “when you are quiet and vast, everything becomes limpid. And through that limpidity, you can see very clearly, you decide very clearly; everything falls into place and things organize themselves … The solution precedes the problem.” 4

It has been know for a long time in quantum mechanics that a “vacuum” is full of energy. Quantum theorist and spiritual philosopher, David Bohm describes the vacuum as, “what we call empty space contains an immense background of energy, and that matter as we know it is a small, quantized wavelike excitation on top of this background, rather like a tiny ripple on a vast sea. … it may be said that space, which has so much energy, is full rather than empty.” 5

This energy of the vacuum “is the zero-point energy of all the fields in space, which in the Standard Model includes the electromagnetic field, … and the Higgs field. It is the energy of the vacuum, which in quantum field theory is defined not as empty space but as the ground state of the fields” 6 Any quantum mechanical field has a minimum amount of energy (a single quantum, the ground-state) that is something more than zero. Therefore, physical stillness is never empty 7, and the minimal zero-point fields create a sea of ambient energy that is “110 orders of magnitude greater than the radiant energy at the center of the Sun.” 8

Particles and waves, energy and matter are manifested on the surface of this sea, where a foam of quantum particles dances in and out of existence. Occasionally one of these particles interacts with an already manifest particle and its self becomes manifest.9

Modern physics is aligning with traditional wisdom, that the manifest world emerges from a vast sea of energy, but we still need to look at the role of conscious attention. It is this attention, whether via a measurement in an external laboratory, or one’s awareness on the edge of inner stillness that mediates the birth of the possible into the actual.

The meaning of an act of measurement or observation is at the core of understanding quantum mechanics.10 Niels Bohr said “No elementary phenomenon is a phenomenon until it is a registered (observed) phenomena.” 11 JA Wheeler puts it this way, “Of the signs that testify to “quantum phenomenon” as being the elementary act of creation, none is more striking than its untouchability. … Until the active detection the phenomenon-to-be is not yet a phenomenon. … For a process of creation that can and does operate anywhere, that reveals itself and yet hides itself, what could one have dreamed up out of pure imagination more magic – and more fitting – than this?” 12

The process by which the manifest world condenses out of, or emerges from, the vast unmanifest energy of Consciousness is described by the Aborigines of Australia, as “the movement of consciousness from dream to reality is a model that describes the universal activity of creation.“13 in which “the conscious mind is like the things of this world: appearing and disappearing, alternating between wakefulness and sleep, between life and death”.14 This is echoed in Bohm’s conception of an “implicate order” that exists as a source template in the sea of consciousness and continually manifests to create the “explicate order” that we experience as the physical world we live in. 15

In quantum physics the specific process of observation by which one possibility is selected from many to be come an actuality is referred to as “collapsing the wave function”.16 This process, while known to take place is still mysterious in the sense of being hard to locate and the subject of much debate. Many physicists, by a logical elimination of other possibilities, have also come to propose that consciousness is a key ingredient in these creative events. 17

In the sea of unmanifest energy, all the manifest dualities exit in Spirit as unions, all the possible outcomes of an observation or event exist before one is selected by interaction with manifest consciousness. Allowing your awareness to visit the edge of this sea, to dip into it, you can bring attention to a specific possibility and choose to bring it into manifestation.

Giving our attention to the inner Void, in the stillness of our body/mind, we can access answers and possibilities. Giving them our attention and positive regard we partake in the processes of creation, by creating space for them to come into physical being. In human experience this is a place of knowing, where the deep aspects of ourselves move outside of space and time to tap into inspiration and pure creativity.

Stilling the human levels of body and mind, dive deep into the pool of Self and connect to the infinite sea of Spirit, woven through physical form, as it is in all of the manifest world. Know that our bodies, even our realities, are made up mostly of this stillness; the energy, the consciousness, on which the atoms of physical being are strung like bright beads. Listening at this deep level where all answers are available, it is a place to access new possibilities. Giving conscious attention to new choices based on new insights, call them forth according to your soul’s desire and wisdom.

(1) Infinite Mind: The Science of Human Vibrations by Valerie V. Hunt, Malibu Publishing, 1989.
(2) Uncertainty relation reference.. Heisenberg in Wheeler and Zurek
(3) Voices of the First Day, R. Lawlor
(4) Mind of the Cells, SatPrem p113 quoting Mother
(5) Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Bohm, p190
(6) Rugh, S. E.; Zinkernagel, H. (2002). “The Quantum Vacuum and the Cosmological Constant Problem”. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, vol. 33 (4): 663–705.
(7) Cole, K. (2000-12-14). “One Thing Is Perfectly Clear: Nothingness Is Perfect”. Los Angeles Times. p. ‘Science File’.
(8) Marcus Chown, Zero-point Energy, Cal Physics
(9) Quantum foam reference..
(10) Quantum Theory and Measurement, Wheeler and Zurek
(11) from N Bohr (1928), Wheeler and Zurek p184
(12) Law without Law, JA Wheeler, p189 of Quantum Theory and Measurement, Wheeler and Zurek
(13) Voices of the First Day, R. Lawlor, p37
(14) Ibid, p41
(15) Wholeness and the Implicate Order, D Bohm, p177
(16) Martin Ringbauer, Ben Duffus, Cyril Branciard, Eric G. Cavalcanti, Andrew G. White, Alessandro Fedrizzi, Nature Physics,2015.[]
(17) See Quantum Reality, N Herbert Chp 8, or Wheeler and Zurek

(© 1/2015)

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