Seeing God

God, i.e. that ineffable Ground of all things to which the word alludes, can surely be seen and realized. This ground is not found as long as one is seeking it in the form of an object of consciousness, for It is Itself the source of that objectifying subjectivity that animates all things from behind the veil that is the seeking subject.

God is not found by seeking, for It is the finding itself: It is the will by which one seeks and the light in which one finds. The revealer of all things Itself remains forever concealed.

However, God, the Ground, can be seen and realized though in a manner incomparable to ordinary cognition subject to the trifold differentiation of the knower, the known, and the knowing. Compared to the seeing that sees God, our everyday seeing is sheer blindness.

Knowledge, whether discursive or unitive, has a form proportioned to its content. As knowledge of the relative world is itself relative, knowledge of God, the absolute and the infinite ground of reality, is absolute and infinite knowledge. Since the supreme principle of all things transcends the conditions of time and place, the consciousness that apprehends it is also unconditional; it is an eternal and universal knowledge that brings instantaneous and infallible liberation.

In seeing God, one does not acquire new knowledge but rather realizes the Ground, in the form of a shocking recognition or perhaps a transcendental and permanent déjà vu, as one’s true Self, an essential self stripped of all relative content, of individuality and personality, and in general of conditional existence.

The seer of truth is truly immortalized which by no means implies a prolongation of individual existence but rather freedom from individual existence as such, for he/she has realized within himself the identity of immanent time with transcendent eternity. In light of this supreme realization he comes to know that what is real in him has never stepped into the river of finitude and temporality but that he has been all along but witnessing all this from the throne of infinitude and eternity.

Seeing God is the self-realization of the Unmoved Mover.

In the words of our Sufi master Bayazid Bastami, “I went from God to God, until they cried from me in me, ‘O thou I!’”

Hell is the Other

The man of today is drowning in the ocean of subjectivity, in phenomena, falling for his own shadow, falling a second fall. By continuous feeding of our little desires we have made a mistress out of them; mental and physical needs become more subtle, and we have developed a consciousness for them; we have become too conscious of every disturbance, and we struggle to suppress it one way or another, like a madman trying to calm the waters by pressing down upon waves. But this growth of desire has no end, a shoreless ocean it is; it opens up indefinitely like a fractal.

We are so mesmerized with the dance of forms that we can’t remember our exalted station. Man is a frail and fragile creature, a transient phenomenon; but what is within him, or what animates him, is immortal and indestructible. It is the androgynous perceiver of all the states of reality. It perceives all points of view at once; It sees through all eyes: It is the beholder of every now and then, of every here and there. It is what it is; “I am that I am.”

This universe is a one-man universe. There is no one else in it but you; there is no “other.” It is like when we reenact a situation or lost opportunity in our head, playing all sides and conversations by ourselves! This world, this diversity of subjects and objects, it is one of those situations in the mind of the Solitary One. And you are that One, the One without a second, the only One; and there is nothing like it.

If you see the success of others, why jealousy! In them, in their hearts, it is you; their gaze is your gaze. So their achievements should make you better and happier; their success is yours and their failure too is yours. Who else is in this world!? When you judge you judge only your own perceptions. If you are true to yourself, if you are objective at all, you must realize that you see nothing but your own perceptions. So, if the world is hell for you it is the hell of your own perceptions; and if it is heaven, it is the heaven of your own perceptions.

The otherness of the other is just another perception. The other is a manufactured reality, a notion, an alien interpretation read into the Current of Forms. I am all alone; I am the only reality. The diversity of subjects and objects, giving rise to the illusion of multiplicity, has its cause in a greater and higher intelligence beyond the mind. Being one and alone, It perceives within itself an apparent diversity, much like when a single mind can perceive such diversity in a dream state. As it is in the nature of light to shine, it is in the nature of consciousness to project, to make an image of its ideas. So the reality of the image is not to be found in the image itself but in the consciousness that projects it. All we perceive is light; world, diversity, is an interpretation: “The face of Truth is concealed by a golden vessel.” (Isha Upanishad)

In this world there is no such thing as equality. There are greater men as there are lesser men. What shines in them is the same; the difference is only in what they reflect of that Intelligible Light. The difference is in the degree to which they reflect in the outside world what is reflected within them. It is the matter of concentration and utilization. The psycho-physical constitution of a man, and indeed of this modern people, is such that the intelligence shining in him is mostly dissipated by mundane curiosities and irrelevant information; the attention is leaking out every which way.

As sun shines equally on everything, pure intelligence too shines equally in every being and animates it; but the receptivity of the spirit to this light always depends on our spiritual/intellectual orientation. If your mind-body complex is consuming most of your intelligence, then you are moving toward intellectual dullness and stupidity. Here lies the difference between literacy and knowledge, between mere information and true wisdom: Literacy doesn’t make noble men; it doesn’t impart virtue. Books don’t make men; it is men who make books. We see more crookedness, arrogance, and awkwardness in the merely literate than the illiterate. While literacy concerns itself with the letter, or the most superficial reading of it, knowledge is concerned with the spirit behind the letter, i.e. the transcendent and immutable meaning of things.

The imperative has always been the same: Know thyself. Know, first, that by knowing which everything else is known.

We produce informed but not wise men. We produce readers but not seers. We produce sterile beings. It is by the admission of our scientists and philosophers that “the more we know we realized how little we know.” That this knowledge, this outward curiosity, adds not to knowledge but to our ignorance. Then, how can it be called knowledge when by possessing it we feel less knowledgeable. Simple is the answer: This cannot be knowledge in the true sense of the word if it does not remove ignorance and instead multiplies it. That is why the more we fill ourselves with this world-knowledge, the more empty and arrogant we become. This is the difference between knowledge and literacy; in the latter we accumulate letters, a pile of names and forms, something even a tiny flash-drive can do; while in knowledge we accumulate nothing; we only peel off the many layers of ignorance; we add no more conceptions but stand behind all conceptions. By reaching the ground of Being we stand under everything; then and only then can we say we truly understand.

In true knowledge we add nothing but subtract everything until the true Self shines, until its beams emerge from underneath a pile of forms and letters. Literacy makes a man heavier, less flexible, less immortal; but knowledge, i.e. knowledge of universal principles, makes a man light, more flexible, and closer to immortality. At the summit, when the last veil, i.e. your human cover, drops and His face, your true Self, is beheld, then immortality is realized. And it is the immortal man who hovers over the surface of the waters, the waters in which the literate man of today is drowning to his demise.

Some make their own truths, and some let themselves be made by the truth: To be made is to be hammered.

 

Summary of Vedantic Metaphysics

The student: What is the cause of this world?

The master: Ignorance.

The student: What is ignorance?

The master: It is confusing the seer with the seen.

The student: What is the seen?

The master: Everything.

The student: What is the seer?

The master: You are the seer.

The student: Who is confused?

The master: No one.

The student: Then, why is there ignorance?

The master: There is no ignorance.

The student: So how come there is a world?

The master: There is no world. What from afar appears to be the world from near is realized to be the Truth. “The face of Truth is concealed by a golden vessel.”*

The student: But I can see and hear the world!

The master: That Truth is that very seeing and hearing by which you find yourself  wrapped in a world. The seen and the heard are naught; they are like the waves in the ocean, just water like the rest of it. Only water is real; wave is mere name and form, i.e. conditioned emptiness.

The student: Who am I then?

The master: You are the unconditioned Reality, the Knower of that emptiness. You are the answer to your own question. Don’t seek; see!**

The student: Whatever.

The master: Exactly. At once drop all notions and be happy; you are already perfect: You are unconditioned Reality. Notion is condition.

*Isha Upanishad

**Swami Vivekananda

Metaphysics & Geometry

Metaphysics is the science of the universals; it is the science of essences, i.e. realities that are universal and unchanging,i.e. do not depend on time or any particular degree of manifestation. Metaphysics is not the same as speculative philosophy or theories of creation. Metaphysics is and is true whether or not Big Bang Theory of the Hypothesis of Evolution are true. The subject matter of metaphysics proper is the Truth as perceived by the so-called Divine Mind. Metaphysics is not a human knowledge but is the content of the Divine Intellect or Pure Intellect. Metaphysics is not invented or learned; it cannot really be taught; it is only discovered, i.e. remembered, by a Seeing that is altogether other-worldly and absolute. This science, contrary to all other human sciences, is not done by speculation or experimentation but through intellection which is a transcendental, and by no means mental, activity of the spirit.

Metaphysics is about Truth Itself and not what men and women, whether saints or philosophers, have thought or said about the truth. Metaphysics is about the architectonics of reality as a whole, i.e. totality, as opposed to empirical science which consider reality only insofar as it is sensible and measurable by minds and men. We cannot say, for example, that metaphysics is other than physics though it is also not identical with it. Metaphysics encompasses all other sciences and is their very ground, but the nature of its relation to human sciences is always misunderstood; this relation is best understood only within the framework of an analogy, of course until the attainment of metaphysical realization which is the same as the Liberation. So, we offer the following analogy that we hope clarifies the nature of the relationship between metaphysics and empirical reality or empirical sciences:

Consider a video game in which your avatar, i.e. your embodied character inside the game-world, is put in a world similar to ours and its mission is to explore this world and find its natural laws. Basically, in this game you are a scientist that has to use the tools of the game to find the most general regularities of that world, things such as  gravity, electricity, etc. Now, if we want to transpose the idea of metaphysical knowledge into the context of this game, what element of the game should we choose? Let us begin by saying that metaphysics is not anything of the nature of a fact or a piece of knowledge within the game-world and can be sought and found in the same manner that one seeks and finds the facts of a world. It is not something that our scientist can find by means of exploring inside the world game.

Within the context of our game, metaphysical knowledge can be compared not to any natural law or any fact of the game-world but to the programming code that is behind the very phenomenon called the game-world and has made that world possible. Our scientist cannot find this underlying code by exploring inside the game-world and experimenting on its phenomena; he himself and all his explorations, etc. are nothing but the manifestations of the programming code underlying the game. To access metaphysical knowledge, i.e. the code in this analogy, the avatar does not even have to look outside himself or to move around, for this knowledge is, as it were, inside him, i.e. known by realizing that “there is a game” and then trying to transcend it. Now, how a game can be programmed so to make such our scenario possible, and whether it is possible or not, is entirely irrelevant here. The point of analogy was only to show the radical nature of this science of metaphysics and its relation to all other empirical sciences which can know only what is inside the game and not what is behind it. Even the methods of inquiry are radically different: In empirical science we explore and experiment, but metaphysical truths, i.e. that programming code, is not susceptible to such methods of investigations; the only way of accessing such knowledge is to somehow exit or transcend the game, or more precisely, to wake up rather than to look out and explore.

It is natural that the methods of inquiry inside the game, methods designed to find empirical facts and natural laws, can in no way help one even become aware of the possibility of a programming code behind the game, let alone finding that code. All such methods, all empirical sciences, are sciences of phenomena, but metaphysics, being the science of essences, i.e. the science noumena as opposed to phenomena, has nothing to do with phenomena but the meaning behind them. In other words, metaphysics studies the metaphysical roots of phenomena. Therefore, the failure of empirical methods in becoming conscious of the possibility of metaphysical knowledge, let alone discovering it, is only a failure and a shortcoming and doesn’t mean that there is no metaphysical foundation, or code, behind the game, a code that is different from the facts and natural laws inside the game simply because these laws are themselves manifestations, or projections, of that very code. One cannot use these methods to prove or deny the existence of a program behind the game, and this indicates the futility of all attempts at denying that there is a metaphysical foundation behind all things. The ultimate proof of metaphysical truths and realities is metaphysical realization, and this realization has been known and done and is not something up for discussion or refutation. As we have said many times, those trying to deny metaphysical knowledge, which by the way has nothing to do with god or religion but encompasses them, are like blind men trying to dispute the reality of a rainbow. A true metaphysician, i.e. a Jivan Mukta, never bothers trying to prove to anyone the possibility and reality of metaphysical truth; he can at best show the way for the seeker of truth to see and realize for himself that which is never a matter of opinion or speculation of any kind: The only proof of the Face is the face Itself.  

Now, what does all this have to do with geometry? Well, as we said metaphysics is the science of universal and immutable truths, realities that are unchanging, and hence do not depend on time or any becoming whatsoever. Thus, all theories of creation, modern or traditional, religious or secular, are only human theories and speculations and at best have symbolic value, for they all presuppose a becoming of some sort. In metaphysics, there is no becoming. Creation is a human fact; from a metaphysical, i.e. transcendental, point of view, creation and becoming are absurd and unreal concepts. But since we find ourselves as humans in the midst of a world of becoming, our thinking is conditioned by it and can understand things mostly in terms of being and becoming. At the same time, because of the transcendental nature of metaphysics it can only be understood through analogies until the point of metaphysical realization in and through which all metaphysical truths are grasped immediately and intuitively and with absolute certainty.

A proper and successful analogy is that which is based on a fundamental but common feature present in both sides of the analogy. Since immutability and the absence of time and becoming is the most fundamental and definite characteristic of metaphysics, the most appropriate analogical means for its expression should be another science that is devoid of the concepts of time and becoming. We know that all empirical sciences such as physics, biology, etc. are in fact about change and becoming, so they cannot possibly provide enough ground for a successful analogical method of communicating metaphysical truths. Of all the sciences accessible to man, the only one that is devoid of the concept of change and time is geometry, and in general pure mathematics. There is a direct correspondence between most propositions of geometry and abstract algebra, and this to the extent that we can even say geometry and abstract algebra are only two different ways of expressing same mathematical truths: In abstract algebra we are dealing with abstract symbols and their relationships but in geometry we are dealing with spatial relationships, so it is like abstract algebra only with the advantage of visualization. For this reason, geometry is a little more suitable for communicating metaphysical truths because it allows some space for visualization which is a great tool in all learning.

Thus, we believe and we can show that metaphysical truths, which are entirely independent of the concepts of god, creation, divine, etc. but are at the same time the very source and ground of all these concepts and realities, is best conveyed through geometry. And it is no surprise that geometry has always been considered a sacred science and present almost in all esoteric schools such as Pythagoreanism, Platonism, Neoplatonism, Eastern and Western religious esoterisms, and also in Freemasonry. For example, the letter G at the center of the symbol for Freemasonry consisting of square and a compass, traditional tools of architecture, stands both for God and Geometry, in which God is viewed as the Great Architect of the Universe who creates by means of immutable and intelligible relationships, i.e. geometrical forms. We only add that geometry is not to be seen as identical with metaphysics, and we should not think that in reality there are points and circles; but geometry and its concepts are used as the best symbolic means of expressing intelligible realities that are beyond any spatial relationships. In other words, geometry is the reflection of intelligible truths in the plane of human mind which can understand things only in terms of the conditions of time and space. The reflection of the sun in the pond is not the sun but can tell much about the sun, at least about its form. Metaphysics too exposes the universal forms by which truth can manifest Itself, the Truth Itself and in Itself remaining always unmanifest and only known by being it, a mode of knowledge accessed upon metaphysical realization, i.e. Supreme Identity.

It is outside the scope of this article to delve into geometry and show the metaphysical truths that are reflected in it. Our goal was only to show, firstly, the radical nature of the science of metaphysics and its relationship to all other spheres of human knowledge, and secondly, to suggest the best way of approaching this science, which is done through geometry. We hope that in the future we can devote a few articles to some aspects of metaphysics using geometrical truths. The main problem that makes metaphysics difficult to understand for the average mind is that metaphysics is not a science for everyone and requires a very refined and objective intelligence not deformed by the assaults made against the mind by the universal compulsory education. One needs to know some abstract algebra and be very well familiar with geometry, particularly the theory of functions, power series, Taylor Expansions, etc. in order to perceive the subtle metaphysical truth reflected in these forms. However, metaphysical truths, which is a way toward liberation and Supreme Identity, is not the only way. Religion and spiritual disciplines have the same end in view. While metaphysics is the way to Truth for the born philosopher, religion is a way for everyone, even the last man. The spiritual man if he succeeds may come to see the Face of Truth, but the metaphysician if he succeeds comes to see the Whole of Truth.

We end this piece by mentioning the simplest of all metaphysical truths whose reflection is found in the geometry of a circle:

Where there is a circle there is also a center, as no circle can exist without having and belonging to a center. A center, a singular point, however, can be without belonging to a circle. But what is a circle really? A circle is nothing but the expression of its center in terms of spatial relations. All the points on the periphery are the outward projections of the central point. In other words, a circle is nothing but a dimensionless point in expansive mode: Circle is the expression of a point. Or, when a point utters itself, the circle is that utterance.

Note that in expressing itself the center has not become, or turned into, a circle; the center doesn’t become the circle or cease to be the center; the center just is, and it is all that there is, for the circle is nothing but the center in its expansive mode: Circle is only a point’s dream. In reality, there is no expansion or contraction; there is only expression, the sound, The Word.

As every circle has a center and is nothing but a homogeneous expression of that center, every world, i.e. degree of manifestation, has an origin and is nothing but the homogeneous expression of that origin. This origin is exactly what is known as God in all spiritual traditions of the world.

In more abstract terms, a circle is the Taylor Expansion of a dimensionless point. Here, there are no two realities but only one reality with different names. To see and understand the exact logical and ontological relationship between the center and the points on the periphery of the circle consider this analogy: In life you are one person but with different roles or relationships. Say you are a man; to your wife you are a husband; to your son you are a father; to your father you are a son; to your employer you are the worker, and to your employee you are the boss; you can also be an uncle, a grandfather, a nephew, etc. As a father your relationship to your son is different from your relationship to your wife as a husband, etc. All these names, i.e. son, father, boss, husband, cousin, etc. which are different roles and relationships pertain to you, one and the same person. All these names designate different relationships that can be potentially established, or activated, within one and the same person; some of them may be only potential, for example you are only potentially a father when you have no kids, but once you have a child you have activated that potentiality which was within you all along and was nothing apart from you. Now, the logical and ontological relationship between you and all these names, i.e. relationships, is the same as the logical and ontological relationship between a central point and all the other points on the periphery of a circle spanned by that central point. Therefore, there are no many points; there is no becoming. There is one reality and multiple expressions, the expressions being only potentialities within one and the same point which is the basis of all Reality.   

 

 

 

Theosis

The three stages of spiritual path are Katharsis, Theoria, and TheosisKatharsis is Purification through Abstention. Theoria is Illumination through Contemplation. Theosis is Deification through Concentration. Theosis is Obliteration in Affirmation.

This encompasses the method, the means, and the end of all spiritual ascent: First, we become aware of our existence; then, we see, with the Eye of the Heart, the non-existence of our awareness of our existence; and at last, we are no more and we see no more, for in our total obliteration it is affirmed that though “Nothing is like Him, He is the Hearing and the Seeing,” [Verse (42:11, Quran)] and He is the Being of all beings: At last, we have landed on the Cloud of Unknowing.

Spiritual ascent is a journey from man to Atman, from humanity to Divinity, from duality to singularity.

Nothing is ever achieved, for everything is already given. The wind of grace is always blowing; to receive it we only need to become receptive, and to become receptive is to be open, wide open, and to be open to Him is to be closed to ourselves, to be mute and dead to ourselves, i.e. to play dead before Him so we perceive His approach and receive His mercy and grace; it is to turn the attentiveness of the soul away from the Divine self-transmutation toward the Divine self-disclosure, from perception in reception to reception in perception.

Truth is waiting for us on the other side of phenomena. It is the attraction of truth that draws us toward Himself but to us it is experienced as an attraction toward phenomena, while it is really an attraction to that which lies behind and beyond them. The task is to cross over: Your soul is your boat and your remembrance of Him is your rowing toward Him.

The world, this ensemble of phenomena, is nothing but a transparent veil over the face of Truth. It is transparent, for we are at all times staring at the face of Truth but failing to recognize It. Instead we conjure up the world in place of the Face, darkness in place of light, obscurity in place of clarity, illusion in place of vision. Truth is always known by all. It is only a lapse in memory that make us oblivious to Its existence and nearness to us.

Since truth is transcendental, and hence atemporal, its perception too cannot be an experience in the usual sense of the word, i.e. experience as a temporal and dual stream, dual in the sense that all experience is based on a knower-known, or subject-object duality. Knowledge is proportional to its object, for both emerge and become manifest as a result of an apparent polarity within the knower. Therefore: The experience of the eternal is itself eternal.

Intelligence operates simultaneously at two distinct levels: In one level it is the pure onlooker, the Witness; in another, the lower level, it is the actor and constitutor. These two distinct levels of activity of God or the higher Intellect, the one transcendent and the other immanent, is reflected in the human plane as the two principal modes of wakefulness, i.e. a wakefulness in the world and a wakefulness to the world: This is the distinction between the active and the contemplative life. But even the active life, action here implying outward mobility, is founded on the contemplative activity of the spirit. After all, everything is contemplation, for the One is contemplation par excellence: It is contemplation that creates, i.e. transcendentally constitutes, the field of action. 

Spiritual practices and rituals are not meant to invoke a deity or to bring the Divinity closer to the aspirant but to make the aspirant aware of the primordial nearness of the Divinity: The heart of the devotee is the throne of God.

The separation between man and God is a one-way separation, for it appears only to man and as long as he is man. From God’s side all is God and God is all. Though we are far away from God, He is eternally with us, for He is the eternity within us. This separation is of the nature of time. As time separates the tree from its root, the fruit from its seed, it has separated man from the Atman. To see this we must see that eternity is not something in time, but time is something in eternity. Because of ignorance, i.e. intellectual/spiritual impurities, or more precisely because of poor sight, we cannot perceive this truth. Spiritual practices are meant to remove these impurities as a result of which the ever-shining Face of Truth is immediately recognized.

Truth shines in the heart: Spiritual practices only make the heart receptive to this light. This is only a matter of spiritual/intellectual reorientation of the soul. In other words, spiritual practices in fact reorient the Intellect toward its origin, away from duality and toward singularity: The only way to Theosis is Katharsis.  

What is Death?

If death of a loved one is felt as a finite loss for those left behind it is seen as an infinite gain for the departed. His death is in truth your death, the death of multiplicity and the rebirth into an eternal unity. What is apparently perceived as a loss of a loved one is our loss of his/her glance, the look in their eyes, a look that turns away from you and toward God. If the body is lost, the glance is never lost as it is only turned inwardly and reabsorbed into its immutable source in the Disinterested Onlooker, the Witness.

Thus, a man, insofar as he is identified with his consciousness, never really dies but only looks away, hither and thither, appearing as this or that. In his death and looking away you disappear from his sight more than he disappears from yours: If your thoughts of the them are with you, nothing of you is with them because their apparent death is their waking up to your absolute nothingness. For the departed soul it is you who are departed from his eternal glance, now turned away from you and looking into the void where he always dwells.

The glance is the indestructible center of the soul. If I tell you this it is because I have lived so many lives and died so many times, and all this in a timeless instant, the source of all duration but itself not a duration. This worldly life is for the soul like being buried alive, and the apparent worldly death is but the resurrection of the soul, an emerging from the mass-grave that this world is. You people who roam around as if living and willing are indeed the dead and nothing more.

Your worldly death is in truth the death of the world and worldliness of your glance. Death is the withdrawal of your celestial gaze from its captivation with this world-mirage. This worldly life of yours is but a passing deja vu. You think that when you wake up from a dream your dream characters mourn your departure!? No; no one lost anything, for you only left behind, and below, that which never was.

Your worldly death, being the death of the world, is the death of death, hence an eternal birth and breakthrough into the other side of Darkness. When I die in the world I immediately realize that there has been no world to begin with, no life; how could there be any death?! Thus, my life in the world is a living amongst the dead. What you perceive as life is death, and what you perceive as death is birth, an awakening to the nothingness of the world and creaturely existence. Ontological death, i.e. liberation from suffocating existence, is a waking up to the supra-ontological life in the permanent actuality of the Self, a Self that is infinitely like void as is infinitely unlike it. This you shall See for yourself.