Exposing the illusion of the material world.
The term black hole is a misnomer. A black hole isn’t empty space, it’s the opposite. It’s a region of space so dense even light can’t escape its boundary.
When viewed from the outside the space appears to be empty, because a black hole swallows everything, even light. The eye is powerless to see without light. This is how our senses deceive us and produce the illusion of a black hole.
The same illusion frustrates our attempt to find satisfaction in the material world. We think we can find the positive fulfilment of our existence here, but this world contains only dissatisfaction masquerading as satisfaction. It’s the negative reality cloaked in the illusory appearance of the positive.
The negative state of reality
We often define the spiritual as immaterial. This gives matter the primary position, the spiritual is understood in relation to matter. We define the spiritual in the negative, it’s not-material.
But this way of thinking is backwards because the spiritual is the positive reality. Instead of spirit being understood as not-material, matter needs to be understood as not-spiritual.
The spiritual dimensions of life are the inner conscious dimensions of the world. Matter is an idea, a state of consciousness. Matter is our conception of the world when we exclude spirit from our view.
When we restrict our view of the world to its external appearance, ignoring the inner substance, we call that matter. This is the same illusion created by a black hole. When we view that area of space, it looks empty, devoid of any substance.
But in fact, the space has far more substance than the surrounding area. The matter is so dense light can’t escape the boundary of the black hole. Since we can’t see the light, it creates the illusory appearance of a hole.
Just as light is the necessary precondition for the eye to see the world, consciousness is the necessary precondition for any perception of reality. Consciousness illuminates reality like the background light of a projector illuminates images on a screen.
Consciousness is primary; its existence comes first. Consciousness must exist before we can make any estimation of reality. We can only know everything else in relation to consciousness.
This is just another way of saying consciousness is the substance of reality. The primary states of reality are experiential; they’re the inner dimensions of the world. It’s from these experiential states that the idea of matter emerges.
The materialist view is backwards. It claims that states of consciousness emerge from matter. Our awareness and experience of the world somehow magically emerge from electrical and chemical interactions in the brain. But this idea raises impossibly hard problems for the materialist.
These problems aren’t only theoretical puzzles. If consciousness is the primary or positive reality, this has major implications for our lived experience of the world and our search for a fulfilling existence.
A perpetual hunger
We all know the conscious states which comprise our various experiences, but what is the most general feature of these states? This isn’t a question about the individual states that come and go in response to our interactions with the world. This is a question about the most general and universal feature of our experience in this world.
When we consider the universal characteristic of our experience, we discover we exist in a state of perpetual hunger. Hunger is a state of dissatisfaction, a negative state of consciousness. It’s a spiritual dis-ease.
Hunger is the experience of lacking something we want or need, an awareness we require something beyond ourselves to be complete. We can’t eradicate the hunger of this world; we can only temporarily subdue it.
We all know this hunger in it’s most concrete form as our need to eat to survive. A continual intake of energy is required to sustain our existence in this world. We can only perpetuate our existence by importing sustenance. We need energy from outside ourselves to maintain our bodily system and hold entropy at bay.
This is a law of nature and the form it takes is not a coincidence. The laws of nature are the outer movement of the inner state of the world. They describe the behaviour of reality. Just as a red face is the outer form of the inner state of anger, the laws of nature are the body language of the underlying conscious substance of reality.
The shadow world
We all recognise the physical hunger that signals our need for food. This hunger is a signal we’re missing something. If we ignore the signal, we can’t sustain our existence. But this hunger can only sustain the existence of our physical body. Our spiritual hunger goes deeper.
Our spiritual hunger signals what we need to fulfil our existence. We’re all trying to make our lives inwardly complete. Something is missing from our lives, but we’re only aware of its lack. We have a vague sense of the shape of the thing we lack, we see its shadow as if veiled by a mist.
We also experience those brief moments in life when the veil lifts and we encounter a state of satisfied fullness. In those moments, we find an inner self-sufficiency that requires nothing external. This isn’t the temporary appearance of happiness or pleasure. This is an inner peace and satisfaction, a state that is content with itself.
But that state of satisfaction is also transient. It’s a fleeting glimpse of what we’re perpetually seeking. It often comes upon us with no clearly identifiable cause. We’re ignorant of how to find it again and permanently sustain it.
So we wander like ghosts through a shadow world. A state of existence that consists only of the outer shape, but lacks the inner substance we seek. The outline of that silhouette is the shape of our own self, our desires for things that are not-divine.
These material desires obstruct the light of the divine from reaching our awareness. We’ve turned away from the source of our being and have our backs toward the divine, ignoring the spiritual realm and blocking its light from illuminating our view of the world.
The temporary removal of dissatisfaction
We try to fill the void by seeking pleasure from the senses and the various distractions of the world. In response to our inner need, we accept a cheap imitation. In place of lasting satisfaction, we accept the temporary removal of a dissatisfaction.
When we indulge the senses, it creates an agitation, an excitement of the flesh to which are attached. That agitation creates a distraction from our persistent inner hunger. But the agitation is also temporary, the excitement inevitably wears off.
As the excitement dissipates, it exposes the shape of our desire, the particular texture of our dissatisfaction. This is the negative version of the satisfaction we seek. So we indulge the senses again and the dissatisfaction is subdued and quietened, temporarily muffled by the volume of the excitement.
The removal of dissatisfaction is the removal of a negative state. We experience the removal of the negative as a positive. If we hit our heads against a brick wall, it feels good when we stop. But there is no genuine satisfaction to be found in not hitting your head. It’s only when judged in relation to the pain of hitting your head that the absence of the pain feels like pleasure.
A negative only exists in relation to the positive. A hole is the absence of something; a positive substance must surround it. Without a jumper, the hole in a jumper can’t exist. The hole is the negative state, the boundary formed by the absence of the jumper.
Because dissatisfaction is a negative state, it’s limited in its capacity to produce the illusion of pleasure. It needs the hunger, or the recent memory of it for comparison.
The extent of our hunger enhances the pleasure of consuming a meal. The greater the hunger, the greater the pleasure experienced by it’s removal. Continuing to eat once there is no trace of any hunger will cause the pain of overindulgence.
This is why unrestrained sense pleasure leads to addiction. We become habituated to the excitement and can’t tolerate its absence. We inevitably enter a state of overindulgence. Without the hunger, the sensual excitement no longer has the power to create the illusion.
Untying the ropes of attachment
Eventually we see through the illusion and realise the dissatisfaction runs so deep it forms the very structure of the material world. The material universe is the negative world, a black hole within the divine reality.
The removal of dissatisfaction is only the removal of the negative state. It can never add up to more than zero. There is only the absence of dissatisfaction. But satisfaction isn’t the mere absence of dissatisfaction, satisfaction is a positive state of consciousness.
The renunciant sage understands this truth and abstains from the sense pleasures of the world. The sage recognises the futility of searching for satisfaction in this world because it can only produce the illusion of pleasure. What we call pleasure is really a dissatisfaction, an agitation that only further indulgence can remove. It’s a vicious cycle that adds up to nothing and in the end produces only frustration.
Outwardly, the sage appears to be denying pleasure, but the opposite is true. The sage is seeking genuine satisfaction. It seems as if they are giving up something desirable, when they’re really abandoning a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. They’re pursuing a permanent state of inner peace.
By renouncing the sensual pleasure, we end the agitation it produces. Removing sensual agitation produces an inner calm. When the interrupting vibrations of the mind and senses are quiet, it creates the conditions needed to look within.
Without the distracting agitation, we can perceive the substance of our own self and its positive state of being. We experience our natural state unfettered by the sensual ropes which bind us to the body.
At present, we’re only aware of that positive state of consciousness in the negative version. We perceive its shadow, a misty outline of what we seek. We see the shape of our dissatisfaction in the things of this world we’re attracted to and the particular sensual pleasures we pursue.
Renunciation is the first step on the path of self realisation, the path of the mystic. It’s a solitary quest to discover our own self and the divine substance which is the ground of our being. When we find our natural connection with that divine soil, we will flourish.