The Great Mystery

‘Lake George’ – Georgia O’Keeffe, 1922 – WikiArt

Bernardo Kastrup is my newly invited guest on ‘The Dawn Within’. Bernardo is a Dutch philosopher and computer scientist who is reflecting on the questions related to mind and matter. His field of study is the nature of empirical reality — of the world we see — which our culture has defined to be fundamentally outside consciousness and made out of matter, with consciousness or mind being a product of that matter. Bernardo Kastrup is tirelessly challenging that idea through his proposition that ”reality is essentially mental” and that “matter is nothing more than the extrinsic appearance of inner experience.” 

Bernardo has worked for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Philips Research Laboratories (where the ‘Casimir Effect’ of Quantum Field Theory was discovered). His writings and essays have been shared in his website  Metaphysical Speculations’, in his ‘numerous books’, and in many ‘thought provoking videos on YouTube’. His ideas have also been featured in scientific or philosophical magazines.

As an invitation to discover Bernardo Kastrup’s work and ideas, I have selected here a short essay, a few excerpts, and a poem that I hope will unravel this great mystery that lies beyond the nature of our every day reality and world. I hope you will enjoy…

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I argue that we do not need to postulate a whole universe outside consciousness – outside subjective experience – in order to make sense of empirical reality. The implication is that all reality, including our bodies and brains, are in consciousness, not consciousness in our bodies and brains.”
~ From Bernardo’s article ‘My philosophy and quantum physics

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Explore Bernardo Kastrup’s work on the nature of reality… (READ MORE…)

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Being Alone

He who is always alone,
he is worthy of God
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~ Meister Eckhart

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The meaning of the word ‘alone’ in the Oxford Dictionary is stated as such: “having no one else present”. This sounds like a perfect definition of the Advaitic understanding, and an essential feature of the nature of consciousness, of our deepest sense of being. God is alone because he is all encompassing, and doesn’t have another reality by its side. He is alone in the sense that he is all one. This wisdom is fully apparent in the English word ‘alone’ which comes from Middle English ‘all one’. In the French word ‘seul’ though, this is very different. ‘Seul’ comes from Latin ‘solus’, as in ‘solitude’ or ’isolated’. The emphasis is on being one amidst others, not in being all one. So the sense of being alone can bring in both the feelings of loneliness, isolation, separation, insecurity, protection, but also the sense of being one, whole, self-sufficient, contained in oneself, and ultimately at peace. 

So which aloneness are we feeling to be? The one that will express our sense of lack, or incompleteness, or that other one which is the expression of our fullness, of our happiness?

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Continue reading these few thoughts on being alone… (READ MORE…)

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A Frame for Life

‘Sunset’ – Claude Monet, 1880 – WikiArt

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The Soul, which is eternal Spirit,
Standeth above Time’s sovranty:
Already in this present world
She liveth in Eternity
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~ Angelus Silesisius

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There seems to be an inescapable canvas that allows our life to take place and unfold in the world. This is the concept of time and space. It is the frame in which our seeming existence can spread its tentacles in every directions of our four dimensional reality. At least this is what thought tells us. This is our representation of reality. But is that truly so? 

Time seems to work vertically, allowing experiences and events to unfold one after the other, in sequences, allowing for birth and death, progress and becoming. It is intimately related to space, which works more horizontally, allowing objects and selves to move in different directions and places. And of course, time and space require that things and selves in the world are made out of matter and have all a separate, independent existence. Things and selves are like the set and actors on the stage of life, the never ending search for happiness being the script or the story, space being the place of the representation, and time the duration of the play that allows the story to unfold before the audience. As for the latter, it is composed of us all. We are all watching the representation of our existence.

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An inquiring journey into the concepts of time and space… (READ MORE…)

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One Rock-like Reality

‘Mont Sainte Victoire’ – Paul Cezanne, 1902-1906 – WikiArt

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If we think we are just a little body in a world, that very thought will put us in a position of extreme fragility. No wonder we are depressed, insecure, frightful, for ever claiming, hoping, dreaming, desiring, expecting. No wonder we feel we have to do something to sustain ourself, to make us viable, to give us consistency. I mean, what a depressing view to see ourself lodged in a little corner of a vast world. What poor little thing that makes us. And we go along with it. We bump our heads against that made up reality of ours, that was passed on to us like a poisoned gift. Have we only looked at it thoroughly? I mean outside any believed cultural or spiritual constraints. Have we only looked at it seriously, intently, to actually find the truth of it? There must be a truth hiding here. Maybe it is even in full view. That we only have to look wholeheartedly at what we are. If we look at anything with that kind of intensity, the false is bound to crack up, recede, and break down into a puny heap of sand. For truth is standing like a rock. It won’t budge whatever we do. It cannot be harmed. But the untruth is fragile, precarious, forever modifying itself. What a poor thing to rely on. So for once I looked. For once I didn’t let my eyes drift nonchalantly in another thought invented direction. For once I let my eyes stare at the matter as if it was a question of life and death. And suddenly it jumped onto my face. I mean this reality. This immensity that is staring me in the face. And that I pretended was so hidden that it needed, to be uncovered, a task Herculean, an appetite gargantuan, and a time in infinite amount. No. God, oh no! It is waiting for a sign from you like an enamoured lover is. She is waiting for your letting go, your total abandon. Your resisting will put her off. Your postponing will make him turn his back on you. But the back is of your own making. It is made out of all that is acquired and fleeting in you, of all that is believed and resisting, all that doesn’t wish to open itself, that is shy and hesitant, untrustful, and therefore untrustworthy of your own majestic self and presence. So don’t pursue it through time or space. Don’t expect your understanding to dawn in some future day, some future place. That will prevent it. Why should you feel that this moment is not ripe, not quite the time for it to be revealed? That it should be postponed, waited for, prayed about. That it can’t be now. It can’t be here. I’m not ready, give me some more time. This now is not the now that I need. I’d rather drop it for now, and catch up with it at some future, more suitable occasion. Don’t do that. For you yourself are the very occasion that you need. You yourself are the very moment you need. You yourself are the only one thing there is, and ever will be. Don’t run away. Abandon yourself. You-are-now-here-it. And see how our own little frightened self has suddenly grown to infinite proportions. Rest in this Self. Don’t move. Any movement will make you separate from it. Will make you miss her rock-like vulnerability. So give up moving too. Be the very love you were seeking to acquire. For what is expected is already here. Made only of you. And now just see what happened. Becoming has receded into Being. Amen.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)

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Website:
Paul Cezanne (Wikipedia)

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The Starry Night

‘The Starry Night’ – Vincent Van Gogh, 1889 – WikiArt

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Van Gogh was depressed
A lonely heart in an asylum,
So he painted a starry night
And made it bright.
He said ‘The night is so alive
And more richly coloured 
Than day.’
The flame of his pain
Became a dark cypress
That rose on to the skies.
The grim is found in the defined;
The light and the spacious,
Say the precious — in airy sky.
There is a wide expanse
Below Van Gogh’s window,
An even larger one shining
Behind the iron bars of mind.
The darkest mood embraced
Turns into soft and tender mist;
Let it clear up, reveal a sky
Lit up by countless twinkling stars.
There is no mind, no gloom inside
That doesn’t rest on happy ground,
So he painted a starry night
And made it bright.
There is peaceful living under heaven
In a village with some shiny windows 
But more is meant in illumination.
Among the shadows, the murky
Does run a light so clear and vast,
Whirlpools of joy, luminous streams,
A saraband of radiant beings.
Even the quieter moon bragged 
And clothed itself in gleaming apparel;
There is glory in a silent night
And fireworks concealed
In the obscure.
There is a sea 
Beneath the hectic waves
And an eternity
Amongst the fainted lights of day,
So he painted a starry night
And made it bright.

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Poem by Alain Joly

Painting by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

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Websites:
Vincent Van Gogh (Wikipedia)
The Starry Night (Wikipedia)

Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

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The Price of Immortality

‘Evening’ – Caspar David Friedrich, 1824 – WikiArt

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Death doth not trouble me. 
‘Tis through that door I come
Unto the place which long 
hath been my spirit’s home
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~ Angelus Silesius 

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There is one thing in life that is haunting us. This is the fact of our certain death. And yet, considering that we all know that we are going to die, most people don’t actually worry that much about it. How come that people who believe that they are solely their body can stay so cool when waiting for a certain death? They should be terrified. This should come as some unbearable news. But it’s not. Even though we don’t look forward to dying, we nevertheless take the news with a remarkable composure. We don’t mind that much if you ask me. Why is that? 

Is it that we have deep down the intuition of our immortality? If I say ‘I’m going to die’, how does it feel? Am I saying the truth? Do I really know this for certain? Or am I casually repeating something that I have learned and has now become a deeply ingrained belief? But this being said, don’t let us be mistaken. Most of the time, we push death far away and numb ourself to its dreadful reality. And the fear of death is conditioning and bending our lives in the most ruthless manner. What a paradox it all is! But in that paradox lies the whole riddle of life and death, of suffering and happiness, of love and God. Death is a portal to our true nature. One that is inescapable. Who is it that is going to die? Or rather what is it? Let’s have a look at it…

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An exploration of the nature and meaning of death… (READ MORE…)

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Ablaze with the City

Look they are here
Roaming along the street
My wandering thoughts
Among the fallen leaves
The abandoned litter
And a creaky bicycle passing by

Listen it is here 
Visiting among the trees 
A random feeling 
Among the neatly parked cars 
A stray panting dog
And birds flapping above my head

See and feel it now
Ablaze with the city
The aliveness of being
Gently taking its place
Down from the cobbled alley
To its soaring among the clouds

You had a sweet friendship with it
Amongst the busy crowd
You felt its warm embrace
And its soft company
Between the blast of a horn 
And the gust of a passing truck

As you crossed the avenue
Meeting glances from the cafe
It rose to a presence so vast
That you felt enlarged with it
Like a long standing friendship
That burst into a sudden love

You knew it was home
Where you wanted to be
As the first large drops of rain
Began tapping against your coat
You opened your heart to it
Disappearing within its space

Now the whole city was glowing
And the few happy rays of a sun
Sent rainbow lights amongst it all
There was a hum and a throbbing 
It was the life surrounding you
The whole place, the whole of it, was you

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

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