It is common today for us to hear the question. "Where is the meaning to life?" To experience meaning our living natures require a connection to more than the day-to-day realities of the physical world; a narrow focus on the bottom line; fragmented, isolated facts/statistics/details; etc. It requires an embracement, an embodied experiencing of our living reality as it relates to something more spiritual in nature.
When did we get so disconnected and fragmented? The first thirty-five years of the 1900's were a magic time. Science and religion were both still connected to a more holistic worldview. Then philosophies—scientific disciplines combined with religious beliefs and mythologies over the ages—wove a reality that has created a split between body and mind, between heart and head, between science and religion; a reality that leaves out the subjective reality where meaning is found.
During the early 1900's philosopher, William James concluded in The Varieties of Religious Experience that what is common to all religious life as the following:
- That the visible world is part of a more spiritual universe from which it draws its chief significance;
- That union or harmonious relation with that higher universe is our true end.
And he ads, that all religions include the following psychological characteristics:
- A new zest, which adds itself like a gift to life, and takes the form either of lyrical enchantment or of appeal to earnestness and heroism.
- An assurance of safety and a temper of peace.
- In relations to others, a preponderance of loving affections.
In the 1930’s many leading scientists of the time thought like Robert Hutchinson (Former President of University of Chicago) who wrote: "Science is not the collection of facts or the accumulation of data. A discipline does not become scientific merely because its professors have acquired a great deal of information. Facts do not arrange themselves. Facts do not solve problems. I do not wish to be misunderstood. We must get the facts. We must get them all… But at the same time we must raise the question whether facts alone will settle our difficulties for us. And we must raise the question whether… the accumulation and distribution of facts is likely to lead us through the mazes of a world whose complications have been produced by the facts we have discovered. The gadgeteers and data collectors, masquerading as scientists, have threatened to become the supreme chieftains of the scholarly world."
Between the science of gadgeteers and losing touch with our own inner sense of knowing ourselves, we’ve lost our rudders for finding effective action in a living reality.
Fortunately we are working our way through to the new paradigm, sorting out what works and what doesn’t work for a living reality. As Varela, Thompson and Rosch point out in their book The Embodied Mind, (review written by John Jones below) …"we have been pushed into competing subjective realities, leaving us with the feeling that there is either a stable world, or there is only representations; that is, realist and subjectivist assumptions. Without our even knowing it this split in science, as it has been, has managed to make choices for us and we have surrendered our own knowing of experience to that of a science which dissects and attempts to reduce everything down to the smallest particle in hopes of understanding it.
"For example, in the study of cognitivism researchers have tried to identify symbol-processes in the brain that would explain all human experience. Failing to do so, cognitivists have sought other means to explain what happens by emergence, or connectionism, attempting to deal with some of the problems posed by cognitivism by suggesting that the phenomena of mind emerges out of the numerous simple, biological processes that make up the brain.
"However, Varela, et al argue that neither cognitivism nor emergence can deal with the failure of science to find the source of the self, and that both flounder when they attempt to account for the role of the outside world in cognition."
What the science of the past has done is to take away our trust in our own subjective experience embodied in our organism self. Even our education system has us memorizing, categorizing, and manipulating facts into statistics, etc. as if we humans learn about the world by building a representation of an objective outside world into our brains in order to know how to act.
However, the work of Autopoiesis (self-making) Varela and others point out that living organisms form within “infomare” a reality created by acts of autonomy and connectedness. There are infinite of infinite inner relations of relations that form and maintain our identity. How this does so is part of the miracle of discovery that is now occurring in disciplines more outside the box than in, but nevertheless the laboratories are doing good work to reveal these inner processes of self-making, self healing and self-knowing. (See the work of ISSSEEM and the scholarship of Mae Wan Ho and Beverly Rubik).
Life as organism begins to help make some sense of what is being discovered. We are organisms within living organisms, all self-creating by a common ground of coherent value dynamics. In the movie K-PAX, the visitor from K-PAX says “every living being in the universe knows right from wrong.” Now biophysics and energy medicine help us to know this just might be true, that in each living entity, in humans, in animals, in even molecules and sub molecular molecules are universal value dynamics enabling the harmony and co-creating reality of life.
Life forms itself into societies of organisms; for instance cells in the body, communities, families, cultures, etc. These dynamic value driven processes are all connected through inner relations of relations of these processes. Various kinds of values have a vibrational frequency associated to them, lets say, and we sense these values through a “felt sense” awareness. (See Eugene Gendlin’s book on Focusing). This sense guides the organism in finding effective actions for itself and in relating to others, like cells in a giant sea of organisms. For instance there appears to be a love vibration, a hate vibration, one of inclusion, of separation etc., which signal to the organism (whether cell, molecule or human being) what action is required in any given context to live, to thrive. These value dynamics may well be like laws of coherence that maintain coherence throughout individual organisms and between them. These laws give maximum freedom to express, create, to find the most effective action in each context of living bounded only by the identity of each organism. Notice the magic here is that we are both autonomous and connected at the same time.
Embracement, Embodiment is the process of self-knowing
and connecting with living reality.
Let me try to put into words some recent insights I’ve gained in working with clients and our theory of organism. Remember the limitation of words, but I ask you to feel what these words are pointing out about a common living experience as organisms.
Ever notice how a baby can capture our hearts and minds? Jesus said, “Except that ye become as little children you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” The baby or child embraces life as a wholeness of possibility, no judgment, no parts. A baby is uniquely herself, authentically original moment by moment. We delight in the surprises of this creative life. As James says, we feel a “new zest, which adds itself like a gift to life."
There is renewed hope today just as in the time of Jesus when he reminded us that to be as little children we can experience our harmonious relation to that higher universe.
We’re evolving into life-itself awareness, out of materialism; opening into ourselves to be more like the baby, once again feeling the creative possibilities, connected rather than separate.
In watching an interview of an Aboriginal Elder (www.globalonenessproject.org), he reminds us that when his people say a place on earth is “sacred,” they are then asked, “What makes it sacred?" They see nothing special about it. What he points out is there is much “singing” that has gone into a place, a tree, a rock, and it’s invisible to the eye but not to the senses. To know such relation, requires an embodied mind; subjective, primary knowing.
New researchers are recognizing that universe the Aboriginal people have long known about. It is life, a living reality of organism, yet how it works has been invisible to the mechanistic worldview. It’s that machine-like thinking that has driven the gadgeteer sciences we have today.
Take a minute and think of a word, idea or person. Notice how you feel when you think of it. Write down a word and put your hand on the word. Notice what you feel in your body/mind self, not what you think, but how you feel.
Just as the baby does so effortlessly, we living beings can embrace a higher universe than our world of “thing-i-ness.” Babies learn how to act from these inner “felt senses.” Babies don’t deny or resist any aspect of the living experience, they act on their world, exploring ways to find effective action for themselves to live and find coherence, being as true to their own natures as possible in the living context or environment they find themselves. There are vibrational signals everywhere that we sense if we haven’t learned to ignore them. Like heads and tales of a coin, we sense through a kind of “embracement” these contrasts in vibrations, learning how to act as they form an inner dynamic living landscape reality. For example, our eyes oscillate constantly and if they didn’t we’d be blind.
Now notice what lifts your spirits, makes you feel that “new zest which adds itself like a gift to life, and takes the form either of lyrical enchantment or of appeal to earnestness and heroism; an assurance of safety and a temper of peace, and, in relations to others, a preponderance of loving affections?”
Embracing one's own inner knowing – the whole, feeling the connection through those felt senses anchored in the body/mind field, will put you in touch with those universal value dynamics. They become like rudders for finding effective action and yes, meaning. This is a whole new article to come, but in the meantime… notice those moments when you feel included in something greater than yourself, even if it’s the social network you are signed onto. Notice how people get so excited when they can make something “Trend” world-wide on Twitter. People are experiencing their influence and connection to the whole.
So we (organisms) each live in a larger life-energy organism all forming as a unity, a sea of energy vibrations. We are not things, fixed parts. We are a living reality, living in a living reality constantly renewing, creating itself as a unity. We each influence one another in the subtlest of ways.
There is no “place” to find meaning in the visible thing-sense. But in James’ words, “We can experience union with something larger than ourselves and in that union find our greatest peace.” That something is higher because it is all-inclusive, an embracement of the organism we are all co-creating.
Skye Hirst, PhD is researcher, executive/personal coach, presentation facilitator and co-founder with Norm Hirst of Transcendental Autognomics (TA); New Field of Life-Energy and Transcendental Science/Philosophy going beyond scientific materialism to discover the emergent epi-principles within life-itself. The mystery/the miraculous/the wisdom of life-itself is revealing herself and Skye is doing presentation/discussions on latest revelations impacting us all during this time of transition. Her 30 years of experience as communication consultant, her love of the arts and nature inform her work as does her 30 years as energy medicine practitioner of Jin Shin Jyutsu. To receive Transcendental Autognomics email newsletter on how latest revelations are impacting us all, visit us www.autognomics.org or join us on Twitter @autognomics for frequent tips and insights, plus see who we are following.