Friday, April 16, 2010

E=Mc2

In a book called NINE CHAINS TO THE MOON, Buckminister Fuller wrote an interesting chapter about "E=Mc2". He asked and answered the question, "What does this equation mean to the average person on the street?". The equation is a tight communication much like a Zen koan for awakening our consciousness to a deeper and more profound level of truth. This truth does affect how we "chop wood and carry water" (or nowadays, "work our job and pay our bills"). When Isaac Newton shared his understanding of physics, it was condensed into F=MA (force equals mass times acceleration). Through this our understanding of the interaction of forces, of cause and effect, deepened tremendously. In a sense, it was part of the law of karma. The three laws of motion being, (1) for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (aka balancing karma), (2) an object at rest tends to stay at rest, an object in motion tends to stay in motion (the law of inertia [aka habit force or vashana] with an amendment that the sublaw of friction eventually slows down a moving object and brings it to rest), and (3) objects attract each other in proportion to their distance from each other and their mass (the law of gravity aka how the samskaras attract their karmaic fulfillment). Isaac Newton was a student of the teachings of Jacob Boehme and seems to have mathematized the first three of the seven cosmic principles behind what Jacob Boehme had received in a mystical spiritual vision.

I found that there is a revolution in physics, first from Aristotle to Newton, and then from Newton to Einstein. The shift is parallel first to how Buddha created a more dynamic psychological model of the self compared to classical Hindu psychology. The second shift is parallel to the advent of the Mahayana Buddhist revolution, where the Theravadin teaching of "no self" is extended to include the nonsolidity of all material objects. F=MA does not become invalid in this shift, but is revised to become F=MvA (force equal mass with respect to velocity times acceleration). I did find it interesting that the Buddhist teaching of no self was understood by one of my college teachers who had a doctorate in Physics and Philosophy (with a Masters in Engineering). It seems that the mental discipline required to fully understand certain physics principles is similar to the mental discipline required to fully understand "anatta" (no self) and later on "sunyata" (emptiness). I remember the look of delight as he understood what was taught by the Buddha when I was explaining it. I remember him saying, "So the premise of having a self is not necessary to explain experience!"

When I contemplated the equation that Einstein left, that "energy equals mass times the speed of light squared". I found I had to reverse engineer it back to what it meant in nonmathematical terms. The main point is the matter and energy are interconvertable and essentially the same (aka "form is emptiness, and emptiness is no other than form" aka the Heart Sutra). What is interesting is that the speed of light or light itself is the constant in the equation. When I contemplated deeper, I came to the conclusion that "multiplication equals interpenetration" (which is a theme developed in the Lotus Sutra in the teaching of the 10 worlds). I also came to the understanding that "the speed of light squared" is light interpenetrating light or awareness aware of itself. When this awareness aware of itself is interpenetrating the body and sensory experience (form) and through this penetration feeling everything as a manifestation of energy (emptiness). The body is already energy and will be felt this way when awareness squared interpenetrates it.

As an exercise to feel this, see if you can first be aware that you are aware. Notice anything and then notice that you are noticing it. Feel this state. It will take time to be able to sustain this for even five minutes. It will sometimes collapse into being lost in thought (awareness of phenomena, not awareness squared aka experience equals awareness times matter). Then see if you can be aware that you are aware and also be aware of all the sensations in your body (energy). If you can sustain this for one hour, it is a lot of energy. But if we are honest with ourselves, we will see that we often collapse into "awareness times matter" (aka identification with phenomena).

This is a little technical. It translates what E=Mc2 means by assuming awareness=light=speed of light=c in this equation and assumes that c2=awareness aware of itself and resting in itself (aka rigpa). This awareness squared is then focused on the matter/body and converts it to a light body. There is an intermediate level in this process aka conversion where an energy body is felt within the physical body and all the meridians are opening up, feeling warm currents of energy moving within. This would be the beginnings of the matter body shifting into a light body. The key is that it already is that (when c2 aka awareness aware of itself and interpenetrates the body). Mc2 is already E.

4 comments:

  1. Footnote1: The understanding presented above was felt during a deep retreat that I had done about 27 years ago. During this retreat I spent one month, after some preliminary physical yogas, just concentrating on being aware and nothing else. No deliberate conscious breathing, no breath awareness (except as part of being aware of all sensations in the body), no thinking, no moving, no mantras, and no sitting posture. I was laying down in Shivasana (corpse pose) and was concentrating on being aware of the sensations in the body. The main point that allows this meditation to work is to feel the difference between being lost in thoughts, emotions, and sensations (awareness times matter) and keeping awareness alert and alive without identification with thoughts, emotions, and sensations (awareness squared times matter). The second state converts "mass" into "energy". This conversion is felt as relaxation, where all the tensions in the body are released, and as warm currents, and then later as emptiness, a feeling of clear pure space (hollow body). I could feel my mind wandering often and needing to return to "just being aware" many many times. After a while, awareness times matter felt like a hazy daydream versus the crisp alertness of skying down a slope. It took some concentration to be awareness squared, but later on the concentration was seen as a form of tension that could be released to "just be". This kind of meditation is a pure "not doing" of anything. On this level, unenlightenment is seen as an effort and enlightenment is natural. I remember my neck being very tight and just being aware of this tension and pain. The neck kept relaxing and opening until it melted into emptiness. At some point, attention was seen as a narrowing of awareness and this tension was relaxed. It was then possible to be aware of all the body sensations simultaneously, including sounds as a body sensation (ear drum sensation). At one point all the muscles relaxed completely and the neural tensions were felt. They were like highways of light running through the body and highly responsive to any thought. My body would often jolt when a single thought was identified with (awareness times thought versus awareness squared times thought). Eventually this neural tension dissolved into emptiness and I was beginning to completely cut through the mass of the body. I could feel another level emerging where a floating feeling was present. But some energy being was pulling me out of the physical body. I panicked and the meditation stopped. The month, too, was over by then and ordinary outer life duties were needing to be attended to. I realized later that the energy being was just trying to help me, but I was relatively new to these things happening in meditation. Energy beings are nonviolent, patient, and compassionate, the slightest resistance and they step back and give us space until we are ready, willing, and able to go forward again. We are surrounded by a lot of help when we are ready to open up and allow ourselves to be helped. It was only about 20 years later that I got that "awareness squared" is "the speed of light squared" (though when awareness goes radiant it is everywhere simultaneously, not just speeding through the galaxy, or at least that is how it feels) and that awareness squared interpenetrating the body mass (as thought mass, emotion mass, and sensation mass) is what converts it to energy (the unity of appearance and emptiness). If you rewrite E=Mc2 to Bl=BmA2, where Bl=light body, Bm=body mass or karma body or ordinary physical body, and A2 is awareness squared, then you can derive Bm>Bl (ordinary body converts to light body) when (1) A>A2 and (2) Bm>A2Bm. First we need to be able feel "awareness squared" and then have this feeling infused completely into every cell of the body and all levels of material phenomena, including the subtle materiality of thoughts, emotions, and sensations (A2 times Bm).

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  2. Footnote2: In the Fourth Way or Sufi tradition, and within the Uttara Tantra in Tibetan Buddhism, A2 (awareness aware of itself or awareness squared) is arrived at through a sequence. The first is Av1 (attention version one) where you direct attention to any material object, thought, or emotion and hold it there. The second is Av2 where you shuttle attention between subject and object. This is the main self remembering exercise in the Fourth Way path. One person described this as holding Av1, but taking a portion of the attention and following back to the inside of the head (if you are looking at a tree). You concentrate attention on the object (tree) and then notice what your thoughts and emotions are, and then notice the tree, and then notice what your thoughts and emotions are. You shuttle back and forth, without getting stuck on the tree or on any thoughts or emotions. You do not resist what you notice in your thoughts and emotions, and you are not so stuck or wrapped up in them that you cannot immediately leave them and touch the tree with your attention. The purpose of looking at the thoughts and emotions is not to process them yet, but only to establish a certain quality of attention. When we are identified, our attention is locked into what it sees and is not fluid enough to stay mobile between different foci of attention. The exercise is done until a person is able to sustain a feeling of both subject and object simultaneously. Av3 is where one "drops subject and object". Av2 feels both subject and object. Av3 notices the pure noticing, the space that has both subject and object, and focuses on the space itself. Av3 is relatively easy to do if one passes through Av2. You notice the space and feel it filled with awareness. Av3 is noticing awareness or noticing noticing noticing. From this space, you can keep when objects pull attention and lead one into a worldly drama of attachment, identification, and resistance. You instead let phenomena unfold without clinging, self, and resistance. There is still one more transformation yet to happen before "awareness squared" is really reached. This is to drop all sense of duality, the way thought structures experience into subject, verb, and object. This is a deeper stage of dropping subject and object. It is dropping the illusory sense of self, the ego structure, at its deepest root. It is the feeling of an observer standing apart from what it is experiencing, rather than interpenetrating experience without getting lost in experience. There is no observer, there is only the observation. We are the observing itself. This last shift releases awareness from being stuck in any thought, including the most subtle thought of self or "I". We can, after the shift, use the word "I" and even reference it like "self=awareness". But what matters is actually shifting out of "thinking" completely and into "awareness". Thoughts can be present as long as no one is thinking them. They will then spontaneously dissolve (aka Mt>E, matter as thought converting to energy in the presence of awareness squared). Av4 is, therefore, awareness interpenetrating awareness in its purity aka A2. Av3 is really the same, but it still has impurities or traces of thought matter that we are still stuck in. We usually cannot leap from "awareness times matter" (Av0 or identification or stuckness in matter as thought, emotion, or sensation) to "awareness squared" (A2) in one step. It sometimes happens when our mind is silent and we are looking at a sunrise in nature or something very beautiful, or some poem unlocks us from matter, and suddenly notice noticing. These are really Av3, because usually some impurities are present, but are not enough to cloud the experience of innate enlightenment (awareness) shining through. A deeper enlightenment happens when the pure knowing side of awareness grounds in the pure being side of awareness.

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  3. awarness squared x awarness squared (yub yam) =?

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  4. Dear Deb, This is actually a very interesting question. The equation may need to include M=body (plural) in some form. It may actually be the bodies squaring on an energy level. Something like A2BmxA2Bf=Lb2. I have feeling that the equation would need to expand some to make more sense, like having four levels of matter (thought, emotion, sensation, and form) and two aspects of awareness (being aspect and knowing aspect). Energy squared, though, feels right, energy interpenetrating energy (light bodies interpenetrating). This would be very alive and dynamic.

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