The Holographic Universe

TOM Kenyon has written a fascinating article on the interconnectness of everything and the difficulty science has in finding a language for it. It is a bit long, but I’ve supplied pictures at intervals so if your left hand brain is struggling, the right might be able to provide a better perspective.

Our current methods of education are still largely based on methods from the Industrial Age – – reading, writing and arithmetic. Unfortunately, this way of educating does not prepare children for the demands of the 21st century, nor does it stimulate the brain’s unused potentials. You see, our brain does not switch on new brain cells until there is a stimulus from the environment‑either internal or external.

Research clearly shows that the critical time for brain development is the first two years, followed by a second period of five years. And yet, most children are left to their own devices during the most critical formative time of their nervous systems.

Then these children enter an outmoded educational system that stifles curiosity and discourages independent thinking. Most of us are the products of such “education.” And the result is that we use less than 10% of our brain’s potential.

There is another reason we use so little of our potential brainpower.

The Corpus Callosum
Neurologically, our brain is split down the middle. In some very real ways, we have two brains inside our heads. And these two brains experience the world in very different ways. While one part of our brain can talk, the other side is mute.

The left hemisphere (for most people) is verbal. It talks. It creates and interprets language. It performs this extraordinary feat through two small areas of densely packed neurons in the neocortex. These areas usually sit on the left side of the head around the ear. If these areas are damaged, one can lose the ability to speak and/or understand language.

The left side also perceives the world in a logical sequential way. It likes to have everything in its place.

The right side of the neocortex, however, sees things differently. For one, it does not speak. For another, it is not particularly logical. It is quite comfortable with paradox, the gray areas of experience. It is also at ease with things being out of sequence. It can spot the hidden patterns in things that seem out of place. In normal states of functioning, there is a certain level of coordination between our left and right sides. And what allows us to coordinate these two perceptual worlds into one whole world of perception is a thick band of nerve fibers in the central area of the brain called the corpus callosum. The more neurological connections presumably in the corpus callosum, the more communication there is between the right and left hemispheres. And co‑ordination between the two hemispheres allows one to think both cognitively and intuitively at the same time.

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There are very practical reasons for using both sides of the brain. Back in the ’60s, an employee of a Swiss watchmaker discovered a new way to tell time – the digital clock. Excitedly he took his invention to his superiors. They dismissed it. “This isn’t a clock,” they said. “It doesn’t even have any moving parts!” Their tunnel vision was caused by over dominance of the left hemisphere. They could not see outside their box. The digital watch was just too much out of the pattern they expected to see. A small company called Texas Instruments picked up the patent and the rest is history. Switzerland is no longer the watch capital of the world.

As we enter an ever more complex world, we will need to develop greater intelligence and creativity to cope with it.

Since the 1980s I have been intrigued with the use of sound and altered states of awareness to increase brain activity and intelligence. Under the auspices of Acoustic Brain Research, which I founded, I even created a series of audiotapes called Mind Gymnastiks. They are used to this day by hundreds of people to increase brain performance.

As I continued to explore the use of altered states of consciousness to increase intelligence and creativity, I was struck by similarities in people’s experiences. It was common to report a sense of connectedness between themselves and life in general. Some even used the phrase “the web of life,” as if all beings were somehow interconnected in ways that defied logical thinking. These insights were, of course, shared throughout history by many mystics and “explorers of mind” including indigenous peoples. A look at the descriptions left by these explorers of mind shows this quite clearly

The Holographic Enigma
While the mystical description of interconnectedness has a long history, stretching back thousands upon thousands of years, a scientific description of interconnectedness has only emerged within the last thirty or forty. It has been birthed from the science of holography, and is referred to as the Holographic Universe.

Today, holograms are quite common, but back in the 1970s when I saw my first hologram in San Francisco, they were very rare. I remember walking into the small darkened room of the Haight Holo‑Art Gallery and having my mind blown. The photos seemed to float out of their frames in midair. As I walked around the strange apparitions I could look into the crevices of the images and see things I could have never seen in a normal photograph. Intrigued, I began to study the physics of holograms. A fascinating illogical world started to emerge. As bizarre as it may seem, you can cut off any part of a hologram and the entire hologram can be seen in the piece! How on earth could this be? Well you see, holograms are made by exposing film to lasers, and lasers are comprised of coherent light. Every photon is lined up with every other photon. This is very different from everyday light in which photons are much more helter‑skelter. Every photon, so to speak, listens to its own drummer. But in lasers, there is only one drummer and all photons follow its rhythm and direction.

The methodology used to create holograms doesn’t really concern us here, so I won’t go into it. Besides most people could care less. They just like looking at the strange photos.

Now as I said, you can cut off any part of a hologram and you will see the entire hologram in that tiny piece. Every fragment of the hologram carries the entire image. Another way of saying it is that the macrocosm of the photo is held within the microcosm of every piece.

This is starting to sound more and more like the descriptions of mystics. When persons enter deeply profound altered states of awareness, there is often a universal experience of interconnectedness. And this seems to occur regardless of the context (or dogma) favored by the individual.

The following two photos – one showing a slice of a mouse’s brain (thank you, mouse) and another a part of the universe, show this holographic concept pictorially ~ in other words, the macrocosm within the microcosm.

Microcosm

Macrocosm

A Meeting in the Park

I recall an unexpected experience with the holographic universe in my twenties. At the time, I was walking through a park near my house. It was dusk and I was overcome by a deep sense of calm. To this day, I have no idea what set it off. I had just been studying for one of my classes at the university, and had decided to take a walk.

As I climbed a small hill, I could see a river of cars on the street below. Their headlights were lit, and in the dimming light they looked like a kind of moving Christmas tree.

Suddenly I could sense the drivers in a way that defied logic. I felt their hopes, their desires, their dreams, and their fears. Many were heading home after work. Some would come home to an empty house, some to their waiting families. As my heart swelled from the enormity of the perception, I also noticed that the air was filled with some kind of energy. These types of experiences were new to me back then, and I had no language to describe it. But it felt like love. It felt like every atom of the world was shimmering with love, and in some inexplicable way that love was trying to reach out to everyone, to all beings. It was reaching out to me, to the strangers driving home in their cars, to the birds in the trees, even to the field mice in the grass, and to the crickets chirping in the twilight darkness.

This went on for about an hour, I think. And then the feelings of interconnectedness began to fade. I walked back home, still under the sense of calm that had started the whole thing. But my mind was stirring. How on earth could something like love be in the very atoms of the universe?

I was pondering this when I came to a very odd threshold. I happened to be standing in the dark underneath a large oak branch. The other side of the tree was bathed in light from a street lamp.

I was in the dark, and the other side was in light. The moment felt eerie, as if somehow the mythic world and this one had temporarily met. As I crossed over from the dark into the light, I distinctly heard a voice speak to me – “You can never go back.” I was stunned. I looked to see if someone was standing beside me because the voice was so vividly real. There was no one there. I walked home in silence.

I have since come to know that odd all‑encompassing love to be quite real. The ancient Greeks called it agape, or divine love. It continually emanates to all beings from every corner of the universe. For those who have eyes to see, it can be seen. For those who have ears to hear, it can be heard. But most of us never enter the deeper states of awareness where it can be experienced directly.

Now let me be clear here. That last paragraph is my own opinion based upon thirty‑some years of personal experience with altered states of consciousness. As an explorer of consciousness, that is my experience and my belief. But it is just a belief. It happens to be shared by other Argonauts of the Mind, but it is certainly not a scientific fact or even a premise. There’s no way to measure love, and measurement is the benchmark of science. Without quantification there can be no scientific inquiry.

I have belabored this point because I am in tricky territory. I am straddling the world of science and the world of mysticism. I do believe that science and mysticism will one day fully meet each other, but the methodologies are so different between the two, it requires a different kind of approach than we are used to.

But regardless of what the synthesis between science and mysticism finally looks like, we can, I think, look at some common territory.

My experience, mentioned above, was a classic mystical encounter. Practitioners of virtually every spiritual tradition on the planet have reported it. Even though the descriptions are often quite different, the essential insights of these diverse traditions are the same – there is an essential interconnectedness between life and the cosmos. How this interconnectedness is interpreted varies according to the spiritual tradition, but interconnectedness shows up in virtually all types of mystical experien

In his book The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot discusses the scientific basis for this type of mystical experience. It is great reading, and I strongly suggest it to anyone who is interested in such things. If the theory is correct, we are all part of the universal hologram, an indispensable piece to the cosmic puzzle. Not only this, but because we are holographic by nature, the whole cosmos is inside us. This is indeed one of the fundamental teachings of most perennial philosophies and mystical traditions. In some inexplicable way we carry the cosmos within us. And the exploration of one’s own consciousness eventually takes one into the cosmic realms of existence. We are like mobius strips. On one side of the strip we are isolated individuated primate humans. Yet at the same time we exist on the other side of the strip as well. On that side of things we are part of the whole. We are One with all life and the entire cosmos is inside us.

Such things seem illogical to our usual ways of thinking. But in altered states of consciousness, we can dip our toes into a different kind of world, a world of extraordinary paradox.

I suppose it is because I have worked so extensively in the area of brain research, but I think that a lot of mystical revelation (like interconnectedness) is triggered by changes in brain state. …

Another part of the mystery, in regards to brain function, came into focus when I came across the recently published work of Andrew Newberg, M.D., author of Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief. Using advanced neurological monitoring devices, Dr. Newberg was able to identify an area of the brain that seemed to be crucial in mystical experience. He and his associates looked at brain activity in various meditators. Some were Christian mystics, some were yogis, some Buddhists, etc. Dr. Newberg collected meditators like some people collect baseball cards. He gave each subject a button. When they touched into the deepest state of meditation they were familiar with, they would push it.

This marker would be set against the “real‑time” readings of the brain to see if there were any commonalities in brain states. And there was. Regardless of the tradition, spiritual lineage or methods of meditation used, the same area responded.

This common point in the brain was identified as the orientation area. This neurological center is responsible for orienting us in space. When we walk across the room, for instance, the orientation area co-ordinates sensory information to help us avoid bumping into things. During such moments the orientation area is very busy routing sensory signals. Its cells are very active.

But during states of meditation, the orientation area went to sleep! Its cells were simply not processing sensory information. It was, in other words, no longer attending to the perception of external space.

I think that this radical shift in the orientation area is probably due to a shift in attention. By design, meditation is a process of attending to internal space. One lets the perception of external space drop away. And what’s left are experiences from the source of internal space itself – the mind.

I had mentioned earlier that diverse mystical traditions universally report experiences of interconnectedness. And such feelings are often accompanied by changes in perceived space.

The phenomenon of perceiving the holographic universe (or mystical interconnectedness) seems to be intimately connected with changes in perceived space – and time, for that matter.

Meditators also universally report the feeling that time becomes profoundly altered during their inner journeys. One client, for instance, experienced the birth, evolution and death of the entire universe with its attending sense of endless time. When she opened her eyes and looked at her watch, however, only about fifteen minutes had passed.

The full article by Tom Kenyon is here

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