AWARENESS AND PERSPECTIVE--A DEEPLY INTERTWINED SYSTEM

Getting Started

This is an exploration about what it means to be Human. But to talk about being Human is to talk about the Universe, because, as the Overview says, Everything Is Connected. And to talk about the Universe is to talk about structures and principles and histories and plans, time and space and consciousness and many other interwoven concepts. The problem quickly arises: Where To Begin? If everything is inter-connected, what do we talk about first so that later things are clear? Where is "Step 1" on a circular path?

There is no single "best" answer to these questions. Basically, the only way to start is to dive in somewhere. So, in this exploration, that's what we're going to do. We are going to start with The Universe. Then we're going to talk about Human Beings, about Humanness. Then we're going to jump around a bit. No matter where we start, there will be some things presented in this section that may not be fully understood until a later lesson. Please be patient with us, and with yourself.

And realize also that, in the end, some things may never be fully understood. After all, humans have been asking the questions: "Who Am I?," "Why Am I Here?," "How Did I Get Here?," "How Did The Universe Get Here?," "What Is The Point Of It All?" for millennia upon millennia. The more we learn, the more we realize there is to learn.

But for now, let's Dive. 

THE UNIVERSE
The Universe is multidimensional.

What Do We Mean By "Universe"? For the momentU, we will define the Universe as "All That Is." This includes everything in our 3-dimensional experience—from stars, planets and the space between them, to animals, plants, minerals, elements, atoms, subatomic particles, and so on. It includes all matter and energy, all fields and forces, all structures and forms, plus all the laws that keep all these other things in operation.

But the Universe also includes things beyond our 3-dimensional experience—things like spirit, spiritual energies and entities, and spiritual laws. It includes the so-called "subtle" energies and bodies, which relate to our thoughts and thought forms, our memories, dreams, wishes and feelings. It includes planes of existence and levels of being that are quite different from what we have come to think of as "everyday reality".

CONSCIOUSNESS

For purposes of this exploration, we will also define the Universe as something that is Conscious. That is, the Universe is considered to be Alive, Aware—even Self Aware—and always Learning. Going further down this path, everything in the Universe is also considered as Conscious, Aware, Alive and Learning. This means every being, every atom, every star, every planet, space itself—everything.

Unless you have come in contact with this idea before, you may not find it intuitively obvious. Science, for example, thinks only of biological things as being alive, and only some of those things as being conscious.

But that's okay. Scientists and philosophers down through the ages have argued (and are still arguing today) about the very definitions of Life and Consciousness, and about what "proves" that something has them. Mystics have simply assumed everything does. This course invites you to walk with the Mystics. But it also affirms that to be Human is to Ask Questions and to ponder over the possible answers.

For purposes of this exploration, we will also define the Universe as something that is Conscious. That is, the Universe is considered to be Alive, Aware—even Self Aware—and always Learning. Going further down this path, everything in the Universe is also considered as Conscious, Aware, Alive and Learning. This means every being, every atom, every star, every planet, space itself—everything.

Unless you have come in contact with this idea before, you may not find it intuitively obvious. Science, for example, thinks only of biological things as being alive, and only some of those things as being conscious.

But that's okay. Scientists and philosophers down through the ages have argued (and are still arguing today) about the very definitions of Life and Consciousness, and about what "proves" that something has them. Mystics have simply assumed everything does. This course invites you to walk with the Mystics. But it also affirms that to be Human is to Ask Questions and to ponder over the possible answers.

And so, on to the next question:

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY "MULTIDIMENSIONAL?"--PART I

As we said in the Overview, the Universe is also defined as being Multidimensional, as is everything in it. What does this mean?

Being multidimensional means having many levels that can be experienced and explored. From the point of view of Consciousness, it means having different perspectives, different levels of discernment and understanding.

For example, imagine that you are climbing a mountain. When you start out, the ground at the bottom of the mountain is very close. You can see tiny pebbles and little bits of grass and wildflowers growing among the stones. When you look up toward the peak, maybe you can't see it at all because it's lost in mist. There may be a slow drizzle coming down, and the sky is grey and the air is warm and sticky. Now you start to climb. Very quickly the tiny pebbles at the bottom and the little bits of grass and flowers become too small to still be seen. Instead, you are seeing the details of the rock face on the part of the mountain you are climbing. The air gets colder. You climb through the mist into brilliant sunshine. Clouds now lie below you, so now you can't see the bottom of the mountain at all, but you can suddenly see the top. There is something built up there. It's a white palace with a bunch of bright colors along one edge. You keep climbing. You reach the gates. You can see that the bright colors are people dressed in beautiful clothing. Now you can see the people's faces, the fine details of their garments and jewelry. And so on. Each step in the climb changes your perspective of the whole. What you were conscious of, and even what you were able to be conscious of, at the bottom of the mountain is different from what you are conscious of at the top. When you come back down, you experience both the top and the bottom differently for having taken the journey. Your consciousness has been "expanded" to include more information.

Now imagine that same mountain as seen from much farther away. Imagine you are on the surface of the moon. Now the entire mountain looks about as big as the little pebbles did when you were at the mountain's base. Now imagine you are on the surface of the planet Neptune. Now the whole Earth looks smaller than a pebble. You can't even see it without a telescope. Now imagine you're standing on the rim of the Milky Way Galaxy. Where is the pebble Earth? Where is the Sun?

Now imagine going in the other direction. Imagine you are back at the base of the mountain, and you get smaller and smaller until you are looking at the mountain microscopically. You can see the shimmering planes and points of crystals of the various minerals that make up the rocks. Now imagine getting smaller still. You see the vibrations and waves of energy that make up atoms, subatomic structures. Go smaller still. Now you are in the space between subatomic structures. It seems as big as the Milky Way did. It's just a matter of perspective.

This is one example of different levels of awareness, different kinds of perspective. This is an example where you change your "point of view." But you can also move in other ways. For example, instead of changing your point of view, you can change your point of reference, your identity: imagine that instead of looking at the pebble (or the flower or the mountain or the atom) from different vantage points, you entered it, and experienced being that pebble (or flower or mountain or atom). How does it feel to be the substance of rock, to be the substance of flower? What is the difference between being an atom of the mountain and being the whole mountain? Imagine being the flower, the rock, the atom and the mountain all at the same time. That's a stretch in perspective! Add the mist. Add the whole sky. Add yourself as the mountain-climber. Each new level stretches you some more.

But these examples are still more or less "intellectual". You are reaching in with your mind. But being multidimensional means you have other potential ways of investigating and exploring. You can also reach in with your heart. You can experience not only how it feels being a flower, but what the flower as a being feels. How does the flower experience the sun? How does the flower share itself with a butterfly drinking its nectar? Or an animal or bug that eats up the entire plant? Does lettuce love being made into a salad? Does a dandelion enjoy blooming? When you reach in with your heart, you can experience Empathy, Compassion. This stretches you in a different way again. Or you can reach in Intuitively. You can suddenly Know Flower. There may be sensations, ideas, emotions you could never put into words because human language has no words for them. You can gather information and gain insights in ways that your mind does not understand, yet you, as a whole multidimensional being, do.

And you can reach inside yourself and gather information too. You have worlds within, waiting to be discovered and explored. In this sense, there is an entire "universe of you".

All of this is what we mean by "Multidimensional".

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY "MULTIDIMENSIONAL?"--PART II

But there is still more. Each level of awareness involves different levels of energy, different qualities of experience, different "rules" of Being in order to stay at that level.

Go back to the mountain. Imagine you are at the bottom again. It's hot and rainy. You are comfortable wearing a thin cotton wrap and wielding an umbrella. Now you're at the top. It's sunny and cold. You're freezing in your thin cotton wrap, and you have no use for the umbrella. Now imagine you're inside an atom of the mountain's minerals. You don't notice the weather at all. Weather is meaningless at this level. But, when you're experiencing as an atom does, you notice energy pulses and rhythms that are indiscernible when you are focused on being a mountain-climber. These are simplistic examples in a way, but do you see how the "rules" change at the different levels?

Perhaps you played this game as a child: you took a circle of paper and colored blue and yellow spirals onto it. Then you put a pin through the center of the circle and attached it to the eraser end of a pencil. Then you spun the circle, and watched the colors of blue and yellow blend so that your eye saw green. When the circle wasn't moving, it was blue and yellow, but when the circle was spun fast enough, a new "level of reality" emerged. If you could spin such a circle faster still, the colors might turn to white, or the whole paper might even become invisible. Similarly, there are levels of awareness that you can't even experience until you "move" fast enough (or slowly enough)—until you "vibrate" at the right "frequency," until your consciousness "resonates" with the energies at that level. Getting your human physiology to be able to vibrate or resonate at different levels is something that usually requires practice.

In the beginning, resonating at a single new level may be all that you can do, and may require all your attention. Moving to a different level of awareness, you must drop the previous level. For example, when you are learning how to walk, you have to put all your attention on moving one leg, then the other. If something distracts you, you fall down. But once you've fallen down enough times, something "clicks" and suddenly you can walk and do other things at the same time, like clap your hands, or talk to a friend, or (on a hurried morning) put on your coat while eating your toast while telling the dog to stop bothering the cat while remembering you have to pay the phone bill today. In the same way, there are levels of awareness that intrinsically involve being aware of many other levels at the same time, and you cannot experience those levels until you can hold such multiple awarenesses yourself.

There are levels at which you might not even be able to understand what you are seeing or experiencing at all, because you have no frame of reference for it. We can imagine, for example, the emotions a cat or a dog might feel, because we have long experience with cats and dogs, and because they have eyes that look a lot like ours and we can project our own feelings into the imagining. But do we have any idea what the emotional state of an asteroid might be? Or an atom? Or vacuum? Not really. If you arrive at a level where everything is the color "wzyxl", do you understand? Maybe you do while you are there, but later on, you may not be able to remember how it looked. You lose your frame of reference when you leave the level.

This can happen, even when you are exploring someplace "familiar," like the inside of yourself. You may suddenly be very surprised at what you find inside. You may be disturbed. You may think, "But I'm not like that!" But you are. Once you start exploring dimensions, you discover you are much more complex than you thought you were, and that you have much in common with things you may never even have thought about before.

This is why such exploration usually increases your sense of connectedness to other beings, to other things. And why it often increases your sense of compassion, why mystics speak of "seeing yourself in others, and others in yourself", and why—again—you might be told "You are the whole Universe and the Universe is You."

Such ideas may sound paradoxical, and that's okay. In fact, one more thing that it's important to know about being multidimensional is that paradox is part of the system. Each expansion of understanding alters previous understandings you may have had. Each expansion of awareness requires you to reframe previous awarenesses. And sometimes that process leads into strange places. You will not be able to go further until you learn to "flex," to "bend," to allow for possibilities you previously believed totally impossible. Some people call this "surrender." It can feel very uncomfortable—physically, emotionally, and mentally.

In fact, being multidimensional can sometimes be utterly infuriating to the logical mind. This includes your own mind, as well as others'. Patience is required to see you through.

We will have a lot more to say about dimensions and multidimensionality in later sections. But right now, there are two more important things to say:

Love is the energy that connects.

and

You chose to come here.

LOVE

Patience, compassion, "seeing yourself in others and others in yourself"... these are common embodiments of the energy of Love. Experiencing and exploring multidimensionality requires and supports increasing your own levels of love energy. This makes sense, because—as said above—Love is the energy that connects all things. So as you "stretch" your consciousness to connect in different ways, to perceive from different perspectives, to experience different aspects of your own and the Universe's multidimensionality, you are really increasing your ability to love and connect with love.

Recognize, too, that this means there is no judgment about dimensions. It is not "better" to be at a "higher" dimension. It may be "bigger," it may allow you a broader perspective, but from the point of view of the universe, all dimensions are worthy of exploration, all dimensions offer something important to the whole. Love extends through all things, even things that may seem empty, like the vacuum of space.

FREE WILL

The term "free will" is bandied about a lot in our culture. Within the framework of a multidimensional universe, "free will" means you have the right to choose what level of consciousness you will focus on, and, accordingly, the rate at which your consciousness will develop.

Free Will means you have the right to experience the consequences of your choices—painful ones as well as pleasurable ones. Free Will also means you have the right to choose to tie yourself to the Earth experience and subordinate yourself to its limitations.

This includes using your Free Will to become human in a particular culture and family, which then impose conditioning onto your consciousness. In a truly Free Will environment, every action is done by choice, and every interaction by mutual choices. Nothing happens that you haven't agreed to. This means in a truly Free Will environment, there is no such thing as a victim. This idea is often hard to comprehend, and even harder to accept. Free Will always goes hand-in-hand with Responsibility. To take on such Responsibility requires a great deal of Courage. Only the free and the brave live on planet Earth at this time.

We will have more to say about Love and about Free Will as this exploration proceeds.


NOTES, REFERENCES AND ADDITIONAL READING LIST

We list a lot of "classics" here—books and films that left a definitive mark in regard to their subject matter. If you want to explore further, these are among the best places to start.

Consciousness
For more on consciousness, try:

  • "The Secret Life of Plants" by Peter Tompkins & Christopher Bird (1972). This is a classic book that offers fascinating support for consciousness in non-animal life here on Earth.

What Do We Mean By "Multidimensional"?—Parts I and II
For explorations of multidimensionality and stretching your consciousness, try:

  • "One, Two, Three, Infinity" by George Gamow (1947). This is another classic book. It tackles the concept of Infinity in all its intricacies, and gives one of the best explanations ever of how Time can be the 4th dimension to a 3-dimensional lifescape.
  • "Infinity and the Mind: The Science and Philosophy of the Infinite" by Rudy Rucker (1982). This book offers a great look at infinities in Time, Space, Thinking and Perception, including the infinitely Large and the infinitely Small.
  • "Powers of Ten"—a short film by Charles & Ray Eames (1989). This classic film shows the impact of shifting perspectives by showing the same scene magnified or reduced by powers of 10 every 10 seconds.
  • Any of the books or DVD's of Alex Grey's artwork ("Transfigurations", "Sacred Mirror", et.al.) give glimpses into the multiple levels that surround us in our everyday activities.
  • Similarly, many of the artworks of M.C. Escher contain mind-stretching images of "impossible" geometries hinting at dimensions beyond the 3rd.
  • "Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" by Douglas Hofstadter (1979). Although ultimately centered around mathematics, and especially "Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem", this book also presents images, concepts, and clever dialogues between two characters named Tortoise and Achilles (and later assorted other characters) on the nature of mind, thought, intelligence, and the universe, all of which stretch the consciousness of anyone reading it, and giving glimpses of other dimensions of awareness. The referenced "Incompleteness Theorem" has the significance of mathematically proving that there must be more to reality than what we experience in 3 dimensions.
  • "Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions" by Edwin Abbott (1952). This is yet another classic book, a novel, that explores a mythical realm that has only 2 physical dimensions (like a sheet of paper) and the beings that live on it (circles, squares, triangles, and so on), and what happens to them when they are suddenly and unexpectedly visited by a 3-dimensional being (a sphere). There are several sequels to this book, written by other authors extending the concept.
  • Though now somewhat "dated", examples of multi-level experience—albeit within pure 3-dimensional reality—can be found in the old "Magic Eye" books. Each magic eye picture contains a stereoscopic image hidden within a pattern of colors or lines. Focusing your eyes in a particular way enables the hidden image to suddenly leap out. The image was there all along, but you could not see it until you adjusted your awareness to the right level.
     

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