I’m reading this great book entitled ‘My Big TOE (Theory of Everything)’, by Thomas Campbell, and I highly recommend it. It is written by a hard-headed physicist who learned all sorts of weird stuff about Astral Travel and the Non-Physical Matter Reality (NPMR, in contrast to Physical Matter Reality, PMR), with Robert Monroe, the daddy of Out of Body Experiences (OBEs).
I like it, not just because of its content, but also because it’s written by a physicist, and so it has the scientific rigour we need with all this stuff. There are too many New Agers out there peddling auras and crystals, and a lot of it is regressive magical thinking.
He speaks about how belief and dogma is not going to get us anywhere (whether it be in science or spirituality), and that only the quality and depth of our consciousness is what matters. A new belief or idea is not enough. (e.g. ‘It’s all One’, ‘there is no self’, etc., are good enough as notions, but one must realise it in consciousness for it to have any real value.)
One sentence struck me:
‘An individual’s quality cannot be increased one iota by any single belief, or by accumulating information about anything, or by doing good deeds that are not properly motivated, or by talking to others or reading books’
Now that really covers all the unsuccessful attempts I have made over a lifetime to crack the conundrum, and confines those efforts to the bin. And I suspect that goes for most people.
So what’s left?
The inner glance, the pause, the turning around of the arrow of attention 180º, whenever I think of it, as often as I can. That’s the last thing left to do, and the last thing I want to do. I don’t have to ‘meditate’ to do it, although it helps to put some time aside for the task. It doesn’t take time to do it either: it’s a timeless instantaneous glance back at what John Sherman calls the ‘me-ness’ of me, that ordinary sense of myself that has been there unchanged since I was a child. What Douglas Harding calls the ‘No-thing-ness’ that I am at centre, at zero inches from myself. What the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) says is ‘Nearer than my neck vein’.
In one of his later poems, ‘The Circus Animals’ Desertion’, Yeats talks about looking for new creative inspiration:
Those masterful images because complete
Grew in pure mind, but out of what began?
A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder’s gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start,
In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.