I’ve been thinking about the illusory nature of Time, Space and Matter recently and had some insights that I’d like to share with you about how these illusions occur and how they affect us. As I have come to understand the nature of the illusory aspects of Time, Space and Matter I have found it very liberating. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.
The Subtle Senses
In order to understand the illusions of Time, Space and Matter it may be helpful to understand an aspect of our awareness that could be referred to as our “subtle senses.” In the ancient Vedic literature there are recorded many fascinating insights of the sages of ancient India. Among these there is a description of something called the Tanmatras. This Sanskrit term means the “subtle senses.”
What are the subtle senses? It’s very easy to understand the idea of subtle senses. Consider for a moment the fact that you have thoughts. Also consider that you are probably reading these words without speaking them out loud. Most people read silently most of the time experiencing the thoughts of the words in their awareness.
When you have thoughts or read silently are you hearing the thoughts with your ears? Of course not! You are hearing them in your consciousness. In the same way, if you close your eyes and imagine being in Hawaii, when you see the ocean and the swaying palms, the mountains and the girls in grass skirts doing the hula dance you are envisioning this in your “mind’s eye” not seeing this with your eyes (they are closed after all).
There are also Tanmatras for our senses of touch, taste and smell although these subtle senses are somewhat less developed or less utilized by most people. In fact for most people the distinction between sensing things with the sensory “organs” and sensing things with the Tanmatras or subtle senses is not clear. Also for many people the idea that we even have subtle senses is not something that they have considered or thought about (chuckle). Of course just the fact that they have thoughts and that these thoughts are not heard with the ears proves that we have a capacity of hearing that is not limited to hearing only via the ears. Perhaps hearing is a natural attribute of consciousness itself. Might it be that all of the senses are simply expressions of the nature of Awareness itself and that our sensory organs are simply physical expressions of these natural attributes?
I don’t know about you but I love having sensory organs! They’re great! I would not want to be without all of the wonderful and delicious experiences that I have with them. Is it not Pure Awareness that is having all of these experiences? And is it not Pure Awareness that is experiencing all of our thoughts, inner visions and feelings?
I think it is a question of proximity. If we are close to something in what we call time and space then we get the idea that we are having these experiences through our sensory organs. But the sensing organs are only mechanisms for filtering or amplifying specific bands of frequencies out of all of the frequencies that are in our environment. But the actual experiences of sensing are happening in our Awareness. The organs of sensing are only bringing us the specific amplified frequency information. They are input systems to help us to sort out the proximate experiences from all of the rest of the experiences that exist in all of time and space. Perhaps they are the mechanisms that we have created for the purpose of being able to enjoy one experience after another in this appearance of what we call linear time. Perhaps the organs of sensing are the very mechanisms that allow us to have the experience that we are an individual and therefore allow us to have the richness of our human existence. Perhaps it is the very filtering effect of the organs of sensing that create the illusions of Time, Space and Matter.
This is all well and good until we become so lost to our human sensory experiences that our essential nature as Pure Awareness is so over-shadowed by the sensory experiences that we don’t know who and what we are any more. The illusions created by the senses allow us to play in the appearance of diversity. They also cause the potential for becoming identified with the things that we are sensing. When we get identified with things we lose the foundation of knowing ourselves to be infinite and unbounded and begin to get lost to notions of limitation and suffering.
The concept of Time is of course very useful if you want to show up at the coffee shop to meet your friend at 10:30 AM on Tuesday morning or to have everyone arrive to start your seminar or teleclass at 9:00 AM on the right day.
Time is a notion that we have created with our intellect. It exists only in our mind. All forms of measuring of things are created for very practical reasons and of course there is nothing “wrong” with this in any practical sense. It is exceedingly useful and I am not suggesting that we abandon using the measuring of time at all. What I am interested in is that we not be lost to Time as an illusion, that we not use the concept of time as an unnecessary limitation on our awareness of reality, that the concept of Time not be a barrier to our experience and enjoyment of Pure Awareness. More details on this in a “moment.”
According to quantum physicists the mathematics of the past and the future are the same. Physicists wonder why we can’t remember the future. I would suggest that perhaps we are remembering the future all of the time but we are heavily conditioned to negate these experiences. (See my article on How to Remember the Future).
Typically when we have an intention or desire it doesn’t come naturlaly with a calendar. We may immediately feel that we want that desire fulfilled right now, or surely as soon as possible, but that’s something that we impose on it that didn’t come with it when we “remembered the future” of that experience coming to us. We make Time problematic for ourselves when we unduly impose the calendar and clock onto it instead of allowing for it to simply be as it is.
The notion of Space has to do in part with the limitations of our physical senses. The ideas of direction, distance and size all have to do with locating ourselves in our physical body. The idea that we are localized may indeed be a product of having physical organs of sensing. When we have the notion that we ARE our body it gives us a reference point with which we can juxtapose the physical location of our body with all of the other things in our universe. It seems that the physical senses and the phenomenon of identification are closely linked.
The notion of Matter as being something “solid” is now of course well known to be an illusion from the perspective of physics. The solidity of Matter is again an illusion of the physical senses. We can’t see that the salad that we are eating for lunch is really just a bunch of fast moving densely packed patterns of energy. But apparently it is. And none of the atoms or molecules or subatomic particles, which are themselves densely packed energy patterns, are actually touching each other.
In fact, according to the physicists, nothing is really “touching” anything. So touching something really means just coming very close to it in what we call time and space.
More on the Subtle Senses
So it would appear that we have subtle senses and that we wouldn’t be able to have experiences through our sensory organs if the innate capacity of being able to “sense” things wasn’t there as a natural attribute of Awareness Itself. Not recognizing and utilizing the full capacities of our subtle senses can be very limiting on our experience of being human. Just as in the early days of written words when all reading was done out loud and the ability to read silently (hearing and understanding the “thoughts” of the words in our consciousness) was not widely known, like that it may be that the use of our other subtle senses has been lying dormant as well.
Current status of the development of our use of the subtle senses
In fact I have recently been thinking that the common limitation of the seeming lack of ability to feel and complete the sensations of emotions in our bodies is a similar phenomenon to not being able to read silently. It may also be that the fear of being emotionally overwhelmed is a form of not allowing our consciousness to be fully “embodied.” The reasons for this seem to be the lack of proper guidance in what to do and how to handle the “physicalization” of experiences that come with our consciousness becoming identified with “being in” a human body. Can you imagine a world in which the ability to feel things fully and not accumulate emotional baggage was as wide spread as the ability to read silently? Wow! It would be a very different world!!!
Just as it takes training and practice to use the physical body skillfully to have the experience of excelling in such areas as sports, martial arts, music, etc., perhaps what is needed is training and practice in how to use the subtle senses in order to be able to truly master them and use them to their fullest.
Here’s an example of this kind of thing. Some years ago I was walking in Balboa Park with a friend and we had the idea to see if we could awaken an aspect of our subtle senses so that they would be “always on.” The idea was to be able to always be aware of things that might be potential sources of harm to our physical bodies and to be aware of them so far outward in time and space that by the time such potentially harmful influences could reach us we would simply get out of the way and not be there any more. What a cool idea! It would be like having a radar crew checking the skies for invaders and providing alerts so you could take cover before any surprise attack might catch you off guard.
This was of particular interest to me because of the fact that I had not sensed such an event coming in my own personal life and had opened my front door in 1993 to a deranged stranger who pulled out a .44 caliber hand gun and shot me in the chest. Miraculously and obviously I didn’t die as I am gratefully here writing this article now and enjoying still being in this human body. But you can see why awakening this aspect of the subtle senses could be a topic of interest for me.
So we worked on this using the tools that we had at the time and it seemed to work. I from time to time get a sense about something of possible danger happening at a distance in time and space from me and I can sense whether it is really of any potential impact on me or not. I recall mentioning this at the first Core Dynamics Teacher Training course and saying to the group that as an example I could sense that there was some kind of conflict or fight between some people happening several miles away in a particular direction. The next day, one of the class participants brought in a newspaper article that described a scuffle between the police and some people in the area of San Diego and at right about the time that I had felt and mentioned the day before. These experiences are quite common and on occasion they get confirmed like this.
Awakening the Subtle Senses
It seems to be that the main barriers to the awakening of the subtle senses are various forms of conditioning. We are taught to negate our rememberings of the future. We are taught to negate our perceptions of things happening at a distance in time or space. And we are taught to relate to objects as if they are really solid. It seems to me that all of this education has been given to us from people who have been not fully “embodied” in the sense that they are fearful of such experiences and don’t want to know about them. Our mentors in how to relate to Time, Space and Matter have been people who are or were highly identified with the physical senses and the objects of their experiences. The negating of our experiences that are possible through the subtle senses seems to be created by various forms of conditioning that, as usual, we’ve become so unconsciously competent at them that we are not aware that we even have them.
I have long been fascinated by the exploration of the capacities of the subtle senses and who knows what the limits of them really are. I decided to create a course on mastering the subtle senses and it was one of the most interesting courses I have taught. The recordings of the classes are available now. There were 8 classes and they cover some really extraordinary new forms of using the Pure Awareness Techniques. Some of them provide much deeper experiences of Pure Awareness than you are likely to have had before. This course was designed to see how thoroughly we can debug and upgrade our inner human software to discover the full scope of what the subtle senses are capable of.
The cost of the original class was $1000. For the recorded class access we have a special offer of only $157. If you’d like to take advantage of this special offer for accessing this series of 8 recorded classes click here – Advanced Pure Awareness Techniques – Mastering the Subtle Senses.