#3823 - Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz
- #3823 - Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - Editor: Jerry KatzThe Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlightsStanley Sobottka summarizes his view on quantum theory and nonduality given on Open Awareness Study GroupDear Friends,
As my tenure on the OASG comes to a close, I would like to summarize,
and perhaps correct, what I have said about quantum theory and nonduality.
Physics in general, and quantum theory in particular, began as the study
of objective reality, i.e., a reality that exists whether or not it is
being observed. Classical physics had no problem with this approach.
When classical physics proved inadequate to the task of explaining the
results of certain experiments, quantum theory arose. It was
spectacularly successful in explaining these results and many more, too.
Then a few physicists began to ask, is this all that quantum theory
means--the explanation of experimental results? Does it have any
ontological value, i.e., can it tell us what objective reality _is_, not
just what it _does_? This is what an _interpretation _of quantum theory
is supposed to do, to describe what objective reality is. So a few
physicists worked very hard to come up with an interpretation in terms
of an objective reality....and failed. But the failure was that there
were too many contenders, not too few, and there was no way to determine
which one, if any, was correct. Furthermore, most of them pretend that
the quantum wavefunction, which is a probability wave rather than a
physical wave, is an objectively real object rather than being simply
the mathematical formula that it is. However, rather than this being
cause for despair, it actually can liberate us from the prison of
objective reality. As long as we believe that objects are real, we will
find it difficult to escape the belief that we are objects, and
consequently to feel separate from all other objects. The failure of
physicists to find an objective interpretation of quantum theory has the
potential to liberate us from this fatal belief in separation.
So now that we don't have to believe in the existence of separation,
what is left? We are free to believe in the absence of separation.
Better still, we don't have to leave it to mere belief, we can _see
_that there is no separation. This is where the teaching of nonduality
comes in. There are many statements of nonduality, e.g., consciousness
is all there is, love is all there is, there are not two, there is only
oneness, etc. These are useful to begin with but the statements
themselves don't take us very far. To believe the statements is to make
nonduality into a religion rather than accepting it as a teaching.
Instead of belief, what is necessary is a clear, direct seeing of truth.
The essence of direct seeing is to see that there is no separate me. If
there is no separate me, there is no separation.
How do we see that there is no me? Simply speaking, we just look for the
me. If we don't find it, then we look for what-it-is that sees that
there is no me. We might think that then is the true me. In that case,
we just take another step back and look for what-it-is that sees that.
We might think that we will have to keep on stepping back forever but
that proves not to be the case. Once we see that there is no me, the
next step, the step of seeing the witness of no-me, is likely to be the
last one because the seeing of the witness likely dissolves the witness,
and then there is only pure awareness.
What if we find a me in the first step? The process is the same as
above. We step back and see what-it-is that sees the me. If we find the
witness of the me, we take another step back and see what-it-is that
sees the witness of the me. That seeing will likely dissolve the
witness, leaving pure awareness.
Even if we can find no me and no witness of no-me, we might still feel
that our awareness is confined to the skull. In that case, we look for
what-it-is that sees that awareness is confined to the skull. If we see
an awareness that is confined to the skull, we immediately see that what
seems to be confined awareness cannot be true awareness. Again, as we
step back and look for what sees this, we might find a witness of
no-confined- awareness. Once again, we step back to see what-it-is that
sees the witness. In so doing, the witness again dissolves into pure
Once we see that there is no me, no witness of no-me, and
no-confinement, all separation dissolves. This seeing might have to be
repeated many times for it to be a continuing awareness of no
separation. It is very helpful to realize that both the apparent me and
apparent confinement are just arisings. Since all arisings rapidly come
and go, the me and confinement are never permanent, even for a short
time. There are many times when there is no me and no confinement but we
are not aware of it because we are not at the moment suffering from
separation. Consequently, we can save our practice times for the times
that we are suffering.