Consciousness has not been mentioned in this thread just yet. I might like to add that who we are and what the universe is is related to consciousness…whatever that may be.
I keep mentioning in various places this hibernation project I am working on. I cannot really describe it in full, nor do I understand myself when I start to write about it, but I believe the two questions tie in with my exploration. Part of my hibernation is a mini-dark retreat (a dark retreat involves an extended amount of time in total darkness for meditative purposes). This is a sort of sensory deprivation, an attempt to go beyond the senses. I am not my body. I am not my mind. I am not my story. I am not this or that, none of the occurrences in my lifetime define what i really am. Nor are “We” our bodies, minds, collective stories, chance happenings. Yes, I know that we are these things, once I think about it… yet, we are much, much more.
Dark enough, for 30 minutes to an hour, to explore what arises. I am able to open my eyes and see the same as if my eyes are closed. I do this frequently enough to try out some personal experiments. In some sessions, I am attempting to see Consciousness as points, any point, as an attempt to get out of my body.
To quote Marco (replacing quarks with “conscious points”): “If I sit quietly and realize: everything around me—my body—my sensations—everything I can feel, see, hear, or otherwise sense is made of conscious points —if I look for conscious points within my body , as a pervasive feeling state and the most direct reality I can identify (with)—THEN I can proceed to an intellectual image of what conscious points are in the universal context.” The point of my point exercise is to become not my body, from without my body. During a fruitful session I will “leave” my point of typical conscious reference (head space) and observe my body (now not mine) from a point above, below, left or right. I will leave my body (an out of body experience? probably not as typically defined). When I am meditating at my best this conscious point can move about the space the size of the room, exploring as fast or as slow as it desires, then… even larger, reaching spaces from points in this world and beyond. Even better, or more interesting, is when this point multiplies. Am I all of these points? Are we?
God is an infinite circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. – Nicholas of Cusa
WHO ARE WE? Who am I? Not my body, when I stop to think about it. I am that point, pointing wherever it may be. I am nothing. Yet I am everything. We are all points, a bit more of nothing and everything. We are change, yes, neither here nor there. The stories for me are nothing…any story can be erased, proven false. And everything: any story can be proven true, brought to light. (I am really enjoying Octavia Butler’s quotes from the Book of the Living, btw!).
I am still working on the first question before attempting to understand the universe! Another quote from Cusa:
The universe has no circumference , for if it had a center and a circumference there would be some and some thing beyond the world, suppositions which are wholly lacking in truth. Since, therefore, it is impossible that the universe should be enclosed within a corporeal center and corporeal boundary, it is not within our power to understand the universe, whose center and circumference are God . And though the universe cannot be infinite, nevertheless it cannot be conceived as finite since there are no limits within which it could be confined.