One of our major themes so far in the book—one shared by physics and mysticism—has been unity: the fundamental unity of consciousness and all of existence. In his compelling book The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist (first published in 1974), Lawrence LeShan (below, left) highlights the similarities between the worldviews and philosophies of these three diverse groups, demonstrating that they are all essentially describing the same interconnected, harmonious conception of reality as one another, while having arrived at these perspectives via very different paths.
In general, we mere mortals tend to perceive from the perspective of the serializing intellect, in that we identify things as being discrete, separate, and distinct from one another. We notice the differences between things and classify and categorize them. Our perspective is one of fragmentation and apparent separation. We usually tend to consider that the most important aspects are the ones clustering around the unique and individual end of the spectrum,[i] the things that allow the analytical mind to discern between one thing and the next.
What LeShan found, and amply demonstrated, was that mediums and clairvoyants or “sensitives,” during moments of higher sense perception (as clairvoyant Barbara Brennan refers to it), would completely reverse this state of being and perception. Likewise, the perception of time is altered. In ordinary states of awareness, time appears to flow one-dimensionally, with events occurring one after the other, linearly.
In the clairvoyant state (in time-space), all events exist simultaneously. All events are, they do not happen,[ii] and they are thus accessible to the clairvoyant’s perception. Hence, “predictions” that mysteriously and unexpectedly come true are merely a matter of observation in the clairvoyant reality.
This view of time is of course compatible with contemporary physics, which has revealed our perception of time to be little more than a figment of the imagination. Utilizing the time-space concept we can see, for instance, that delayed choice–style experiments—or those done by Vlatko Vedral and others—are not as baffling as they seem. In time-space the initial quantum/wave state of a system still exists to be modified, even if in space-time we have “moved on” and left initial conditions “behind” and made more measurements. A 3D time-space affords the ability to modify what we think of as the past by acting on its ever-present wave state in time-space. This is why a second measurement on a particle can influence its original measurement traits; the wave function in time-space never goes away or “collapses.” From the perspective of relativistic physics, events, regardless of when they happen from any particular perspective, just are. They all exist. They eternally occupy their particular point in space-time. There is no flow. “If you were having a great time at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1999, you still are, since that is just one immutable location in space-time.”[iii]
Bearden says that “mass” is a “frozen 3-spatial [3-dimensional] intersection of the space-time entity. It is exactly comparable to a frozen frame in a movie film. The individual frame never has any existence except at a frozen moment in the slide projector.”[iv]
The metaphor Brian Greene employs in explaining the illusion of time-flow is that each moment in time is a “slice” of the whole space-time “loaf.”[v] Each slice (moment) exists for all time, much as it does in the occultist’s Akashic record, though it is only “lit up” or animated by the activity or projection of consciousness for an instant, as the intellect serializes the unbroken whole of existence into “linearized” moments, using its purpose-designed faculties.
To really illustrate his point about the similar fundamental outlook shared by mystics and physicists, LeShan listed 62 statements from both groups 31 from each group) without assigning ownership to them. The sentiments expressed by the two groups in their descriptions of reality proved to observers (which included mystics and physicists) to be virtually indistinguishable, with mystics faring slightly better in distinguishing (perhaps as a result of more developed intuitive capabilities).[vi] The point to remember here would be that the mystical experience is not a conceptual one, it is a direct immersion in what might be considered the ultimate reality. As Einstein noted, “Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world; all knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it. Propositions arrived at by pure logical means are completely empty as regards reality.”[vii]
In this sense, to a mystic, those without personal experience or insight have no firsthand knowledge of Reality. This is not a matter of condescending judgment, merely honest observation.
LeShan discovered in his research that Bertrand Russell (above) had researched the mystic’s conception of reality in his own time and found that during the “mystical experience,” four characteristics were present that all mystics agreed upon:
- There is a better way of gaining information than through the [physical] senses.
- There is a fundamental unity to all things.
- Time is an illusion.
- All evil is mere appearance.[viii]
What struck LeShan was that he had found Russel’s analysis of mystics after completing his own analysis of the Clairvoyant Reality as described by clairvoyants, and that the two groups were talking about the same thing. He said the identical nature of the two perspectives was overwhelming; they had each concluded that there was an ordinary way of looking at reality and this other way, “and they agreed completely on the nature of this other.”[ix]
The one major difference LeShan found between the mystic and the medium was their respective attitudes towards “paranormal” abilities (the siddhis). LeShan observed that mystics—particularly Eastern mystics—report that the psi faculties naturally emerge as a result of their merging increasingly with the underlying unified Reality. However, fascination with these abilities ultimately leads away from the most desired psychological changes (liberation from attachment, desire, and repulsion, primarily).[x]
All mystics would surely agree that a compulsive preoccupation or complete fixation on the siddhis rather than one-pointed seeking of pure truth and transcension of the illusion of “separation consciousness” (tightly bound up in the human ego) is counterproductive for anyone, but especially for the aspiring mystic.
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