Infinite Potential

I read a number of quantum physics books lately, but I think Infinite Potential: What Quantum Physics Reveals About How We Should Live by physical chemist Lothar Schafer provides the best argument for a spiritual dimension underlying and directing the universe and our lives. He asserts, “Everything that exists in the visible world has first existed as a state in the cosmic field of potentiality.” [2] This field is non-material, and corresponds with Cosmic Consciousness, the universal unconscious, or the spiritual realm. It affirms that the material world is a reflection of the spiritual world.

“All visible things and phenomena need an underlying image, or they couldn’t have appeared in the visible world.” [6] Things don’t just appear by chance, as in Darwinian evolution, but because they are based on a pre-existent form, archetype, or pattern existing in the mind of Cosmic Consciousness. As I pointed out in Universalist Radha-Krishnaism: A Theological Perspective [120]

Generally referred to as theistic evolution, Universalist Radha-Krishnaism calls it panentheistic evolution. Scientist-theologian Huston Smith explains this as follows [Forgotten Truth: The CommonVision of the World’s Religions]:

And so long as we can form no idea of the way a material system may become a conscious, responsible person, it is an empty pretense to suggest that we have an explanation for the descent of man. Darwinism has diverted attention for a century from the descent of man by investigating the conditions of evolution and overlooking its action. Evolution can be understood only as a feat of emergence. (127)

The nonanthropomorphic counterpart of special creation is emanation. In the celestial realm the species are never absent; their essential forms or archetypes reside there from an endless beginning. As earth ripens to receive them, each in its turn drops to the terrestrial plane and donning the world’s fabric, gives rise to a new life form. The origin of species is metaphysical. (139)

Schafer explains, “Newton’s physics and Darwin’s biology, two of the most powerful formulations of materialism of our history, weren’t inspired by the facts of nature, but by the language of their authors.” [7] “The problem is that the visible surface of things is incomplete because it has little to say about the nonempirical realm of reality, where the cosmic potentiality has its home.” [9] “The things that you see in the world are somehow actualizations of waves; they are emanations out of the One.” [9] Thus, he confirms Smith’s  explanation.

Religions of all ages have always insisted that the essential reality isn’t found in the material world, but in some transcendent part of the universe. However, all that you have to do to experience an invisible world is to look inside you, where your feelings and the images of your mind are real. [16] . . . We are singular points in the cosmic field of potentiality, which seems under pressure everywhere to actualize in the visible world; and in us it has found a special way to do so, defining a cosmic destiny for each one of us! [18]

This confirms the spiritual world is real, while the material world is an imperfect, temporary manifestation of it. That spiritual world exists in a transcendent dimension of the universe as well as within us. Looking within ourselves as parts of the divine being is the easiest way to experience this spiritual world, commune with the divine, and realize our potential.

Schafer exclaims, “there is no matter!… Basically, there is only spirit!” [19] Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington writes, “The universe is of the nature of ‘a thought or sensation in a universal Mind.” [19] Sir James Hopwood Jeans goes even further, “The universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine.” [19]

When the material world is seen with enlightened spiritual vision, it is no longer material but spiritual. It’s good that even some scientists are able to see that Cosmic Consciousness pervades the universe, and is all that exists. This is a great time for the integration of scientific and spiritual ideas.

Schafer admits, “practically all of the unexpected concepts that quantum physicists are using to describe the world were invented by spiritual teachers thousands of years ago.” [20-21] “The fact is that, by the way in which it describes the world, quantum physics has taken science right into the middle of historic traditions of spirituality.” [21] “Plotinus thought of God as ‘the One.,’” and he developed the idea that “the world is an emanation out of God, due to a necessary flowing over of the divine. As Hirschberger reports: ‘The One is all. All is out of the One.’” [23]

God-dess overflows with love, creativity, and the desire for novel experiences to share with the living entities. Therefore, this is one of innumerable universes designed to experience loving relationships with individuals based on their exercise of free will.

“Idealists in philosophy are people who believe that true being rests in an invisible realm of ideas and not in the visible world of things. . . . So, because it seeks the essential reality in an invisible part of the world, without any doubt, quantum theory is a form of idealism!” [23]

While not all quantum scientists have accepted this invisible realm, a growing number have. Quantum theory can also be considered a form of mysticism as scientists seek direct realization of these nonmaterial truths. Thus, the Enlightenment divide between science and spirituality is being bridged to form an integrated view of life.

Schafer speculates, “Is it such a long shot to think that Jung’s realm of forms and the realm of forms of quantum physics are one and the same realm of the cosmic potentiality—a medium of spirit where our scientific, philosophical, and spiritual convictions are integrated in the nondual order of the One?” [25-6]

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel taught, “Your consciousness isn’t your own, but the consciousness of the cosmic spirit; your thinking isn’t your own, but the thinking of the cosmic spirit who is thinking in you; your potential isn’t your own, but the cosmic potential to which you are connected. ‘Man knows of god only,’ Hegel writes in his Phenomenology of Spirit, ‘insofar as god knows of himself in man; this knowledge is god’s self-consciousness.’” [26-7]

As we learn to subdue our material ego and surrender to God-dess, we can become instruments of the divine, serve the whole, and become free of karma. This is the goal or purpose of life—surrendering to the divine will.

As Hegel describes it, ‘The spirit of human beings, to know of god is only the spirit of god himself.’ In addition, Hegel believed that God evolved with us in our history and in all cosmic processes of becoming. ‘The truth is the whole. The whole, however, is nothing but the essential being, which is perfecting itself in its evolution.’ If God’s mind is in ours, it follows that his ‘words can be in our mouth,’ as the Bible describes it in Jeremiah 1:9. [27]

The evolution of God-dess is part of my process theological thought. The divine is dynamic, not static. It must evolve along with us and the cosmos. When I gave a sermon as a pastor, I advised the congregation to “Listen for the Word of God.” in my words with faith that I was used as an instrument of God. When I write today, I am being used similarly. Ancient truths are still valid today.

“So, where is the kingdom? It is the nonempirical realm of the cosmic potentiality, and it is in you.” [29] The kingdom of God or Braj exists inside of us—not in a distant place. We are microcosms of the macrocosm. We and the divine are one and different simultaneously.

“Modern atomic theory is thus essentially different from that of antiquity in that it no longer allows any reinterpretation or elaboration to make it fit into a naive materialistic concept of the universe.”—Werner Heisenberg

The scientific evidence prohibits a materialistic concept. “The phenomena of quantum physics force us to believe that the basis of the visible world doesn’t rest on some material foundation, but on a realm of nonmaterial forms that have the properties of waves, as though our world were afloat on an invisible ocean.” [33] 

“The atoms and molecules in ordinary things constantly interact with one another, and it is in these interactions that they find their empirical existence.” [45] Thus, we, our possessions, the earth, the moon, etc. do not constantly shift to a nonmaterial wave form. Rather the world gives the appearance of being a permanent solid existence due to constant interactions with other things. “Empirical reality is a cooperative effect. It emerges in interrelations and isn’t found in isolated things.” [46]

However, “The visible world is an actualization—an emanation—out of a domain of transmaterial and transempirical potentiality forms. The basis of reality is a domain of transmaterial forms, images, or elementary thoughts.” [47] Therefore, the spiritual level of existence is primary and the material is secondary.

In an empirical science that claims that the world can be understood by observing and measuring its visible surface, the discovery of the realm of potentiality was a shock. It marked the end of the era of Newton’s and Darwin’s materialism and the dawn of a new idealist era that seeks the essence of the world in a transcendent part of reality. For the understanding of your own nature the discovery was a triumph: Since a realm of potentiality exists in the universe, it can also exist in you as an inner potential that takes you beyond the limited possibilities of your material body and brain. [50]

The Newtonian/Darwinian worldview presented a bleak, deterministic life with no free will. I met one man who admitted to thinking that he was a meat computer and when he died it was all over. I think this view is more common than many care to admit. He has since died, and I hope he had a great awakening. The quantum view offers unlimited potential as part of the divine along with free will to accept or reject the potential course of life desired by the divine. If we choose to accept our divine purpose, we can enter into the transcendent realm free of material entanglement.

This structure of the world is so important to understand because your own situation is very similar. You, too, have a future only because of the inner potential in you. . . . Much of the unhappiness in this world is due to the fact that many people aren’t aware of their inner potential and so do nothing about it, because it is hidden deep inside in invisible states and easy to neglect. The virtual structure of things is important at the human level, because it is a model of our personal structure. [62]

We are faced with such high levels of depression, suicide, drug addiction, and other problems of alienation due to a failed materialistic world view. Accepting a spiritual perspective can be an effective counter measure to these problems by attuning ourselves to the divine potential for a wholistic life of love and cooperation, working together for the good of the whole.

Relativity and quantum theory agree, in that they both imply the need to look on the world as an undivided whole, in which all parts of the universe, including the observer and his instruments, merge and unite in one totality … The new form of insight can perhaps best be called Undivided Wholeness in Flowing Movement. This view implies that flow is, in some sense, prior to that of the ‘things’ that can be seen to form and dissolve in the flow … In this flow, mind and matter are not separate substances. Rather, they are different aspects of one whole and unbroken movement.—David Bohm [75]

This is a very Taoist view, and it is a huge improvement on the mechanical Newtonian view of the universe. Everything is interconnected in a fluid whole. People can follow the watercourse way to their benefit and the good of the whole.

Schafer explains, “we belong to the wholeness and that the cosmic wholeness is active in us. Specifically, this would mean that the inner potential in you is cosmic. When you actualize your potential, the cosmic wholeness is actualizing in you. You could say that you are an embodiment of the cosmic potentiality.” [76]  

 “The tiniest parts of the universe, your brain and the atoms in it, contain the entire order of the world.” [77] As I mentioned in Universalist Radha-Krishnaism: A Theological Perspective, “The holographic paradigm developed by physicist David Bohm and neurophysiologist Karl Pribram suggests this world exists as a multidimensional holographic projection of the spiritual world.” [115] Thus every part contains an image of the whole, and we can find the universe in a grain of sand or in our heart.

“Just think how you would interact differently with people in a holistic universe in which you are connected to the rest of humanity than in a world of isolated material things and beasts of prey, where the Darwinian virtues of aggression and selfishness are adequate.” [78]

The Darwinian model is leading us to the brink of another world war, environmental destruction, and social break down. A new unifying paradigm is needed to get the world on a course in harmony with God-dess’ unifying, holistic vision of life and love.

“No measurement of the world and no experiment can prove the wholeness of the universe, but it is a plausible hypothesis—and more plausible, at that, than the opposite claim that a holistic nature of the universe is impossible.” [84] Schafer concludes, “All of reality is one, and you and I belong to it.” [91]

People have been misled by the material conception of life for so long, it is like they are waking up from a bad dream. We are going from being slaves of material nature to being children of God-dess. Our potential is infinite. We simply need to go within and tap into it.

According to Schafer, “We all carry in us an inner potential that needs to be actualized. I am convinced that this potential is an expression of the cosmic potentiality that tries to actualize in us. We won’t find peace of mind when we neglect our inner potential, whatever it may be.” [93] This is our dharma.

“If the background of the universe is mindlike, it is possible that consciousness is a cosmic property. I will refer to this as the cosmic consciousness.” [96] In Universalist Radha-Krishnaism: A Theological Perspective, I explain,

Cosmic consciousness cognizes and regulates concrete formations. From this perspective, cosmic consciousness implies a differentiated, qualified state of God-dess. Cosmic consciousness is qualified in a limited sense as a partial manifestation of God-dess, who is qualified in endless ways. Cosmic conscious-ness exists within beings and material nature consciously maintaining all. 

God-dess relates to conditioned individuals and nature through cosmic consciousness. God-dess creates the world and enters it as cosmic consciousness. God-dess pervades, sustains, and regulates individual spirits and the universe collectively and individually as cosmic consciousness. [65-6]

Schafer continues, “The physical realm of the world is based on a metaphysical realm. And, even more shocking, the metaphysical is primary and the physical is secondary.” [101] Thus coming from a scientific point of view, he confirms the Vaishnav teachings of the primacy of the spiritual world as a model for the material. 

Schafer says, “What I like to suggest is that these operational principles appear in our mind out of the mindlike background of the universe. They are actualizations of forms that exist in the realm of the cosmic potentiality, and they can appear in us because the universe is a mindlike wholeness and our mind is connected with it.” [107-8] It should give us great comfort to be part of a universal mind that cares for us rather than chance accidents with no real purpose other than survival and reproduction of the fittest enjoying whatever fleeting pleasures we can in this brief life of struggle and competition.

There are recurring ideas about the order of the world and human nature that are so deeply rooted in us that they constantly emerge in the thinking of people in different ages, different cultures, and different parts of the world. Already thousands of years ago, the Indian sages knew about this phenomenon; they called it Sanatana Dharma. . . . In the history of Western philosophy, Sanatana Dharma was introduced as perennial philosophy. 

I consider perennial philosophy as a special form of synchronicity: It is the independent appearance, without any visible connection, of identical thoughts in different minds, at different times, and in different parts of the world. . . . human minds have been connected with a cosmic field at all times and everywhere in the world. The connection is possible because consciousness is a cosmic property and our individual minds are connected with it. [116-17]

The most important lesson from perennial philosophy is that consciousness means cosmic connectedness. Your mind is connected with a transpersonal domain. It follows that your potential isn’t restricted to the activities of your genes—it is much more. It is the creative tension, the primordial urge, the impelling force: it is the spanda [the ultimate vibration (samanya-spanda)] in you and, therefore, it is infinite. [120-21]

This is the path of the essence seeker who goes beyond sectarian boundaries to realize a broader, more integrated whole capable of healing the sectarian divisions that so divide the world. Ultimate truth is one. Everything is ultimately one. Divisions are artificially created by ignorance. For the good of all it is time to heal those divisions.

According to Schafer, “the primary function of your mind is its ability to serve as an outlet for the cosmic spirit. Your mind is a tool by which the cosmic consciousness can actualize its potentiality in the empirical world.” [122-23]

This is the basis of devotional service. We surrender our mind and body to serving the will of the divine. As I said in the church, “God has no hands, legs, mouth, etc. to work with except ours. Therefore, we need to be instruments for God’s work.” 

“Neo-Darwinism isn’t only a scientific theory but also a way of life. Because its view of the world is the wrong view, it has led humanity to a wrong way of life and the globe into a crisis.” [128]

In my lifetime, this has never been more apparent than today. International relations, the threat of devastating war, social break down, corrupt politicians, corporate greed and power, etc. are a clear signal that we need a significant paradigm shift, not just a little reshuffling here and there. The whole system is based on false premises, and it is leading us down the road of destruction.

“Virtual state actualization (VSA) is the mechanism by which a new order evolves in the world. If you think about it, the principle applies to everything, not only life.” [141]

Things develop from subtle to gross. Coming from the spiritual level of cosmic potential, new forms emanate to the material level where they may actualize. As we open ourselves to the inner prodding of cosmic consciousness, we gain directions for how to live our lives in the most productive way to bring about the necessary changes to a more integrated, peaceful, loving, and sustainable world.

“Life is evolving within the order of reality. We must think that we will fare best when we are in contact with the One and live in accordance with its principles.” [145] It is clear that living in harmony with the One is beneficial for us on the material and spiritual levels. We reap the karma that we sow. When we surrender to God-dess, we become free of karma and facilitate the unfolding of the divine plan to benefit the whole.

Schafer says, “My suggestion is that, if consciousness belongs to the cosmic potentiality, it will look for living organisms as a means to manifest itself in the empirical world. For all we know, it is possible to think that the forms in the cosmic potentiality may be evolving together with us to ever increasing complexity.” [158] Everything is in process. Let us become fluid and in harmony with the flow to further the divine process rather than stumbling blocks that inhibit the flow. We all under utilize our divine potential that we are called to awaken and actualize.

“We are not ‘stuck’ with an innate viciously competitive nature,” writes Bruce Lipton in his book The Biology of Belief. Instead, “survival of the most loving is the only ethic that will ensure not only a healthy personal life but also a healthy planet.” [160] Love is the answer. It’s time we not only give lip service to this truth, but make it the foundation of our life and actions. “A life in agreement with cosmic order is an authentic life. The inauthentic life isn’t worth living.” [165]

“World ethos is the system of principles of conduct that proposes that only a life that is in harmony with the order of reality is meaningful or true; in view of the holistic nature of the world, such a life is a wholesome life.” [168] We are integral parts of the universe and of the cosmic consciousness. Isn’t it time we wake up to this fact and live accordingly rather than being selfish, egoistic, dumb sheep following a materially conditioned way of life that is self destructive and collectively destructive of the world?

Schafer points out that “we find in the depths of the quantum reality suggestions of virtues that are identical with the virtues of some of the great moral minds of our history.” [172] This isn’t a new idea, but a time honored truth presented from a new perspective to capture the imagination of contemporary people. Hopefully, it will catch on and spread.

“Peace of mind isn’t found in the mindless satisfaction of bodily needs, but only in the interactions with the One.” [174] This wisdom coming from dedicated scientists lends a rational approach to spirituality and can help lead us from sectarian religious divisions to a universalist perspective that more people may be inclined to act on.

Much of what our morality is about is found in the connection of our mind with the mindlike background of the universe. When moral decisions have to be made, suggestions appear out of this connection, telling us the right way to act. Your inner sense of existence is ultimately the sense of the cosmic consciousness in you, which you feel as identified with you or inseparable from your existence. [178]

Schafer thinks, “quantum phenomena have led us to the point where we don’t have a choice anymore: There is no denying that a transcendent part of reality exists. It makes a life with values possible and necessary, and it makes it impossible to think that we are nothing but robots condemned to the boring life of machines.” [187] Thus he counters the atheistic, materialist, empirical, reductionist points of view from a scientific perspective that is hard to refute.

“Morality is the manifestation of a transempirical, tacit moral form that exists in the realm of potentiality and appears spontaneously in our consciousness when it is needed, offering its advice to our judgment and free will.” [188-89] This corresponds to the Super Soul, inner guide, or Higher Power offering non-coercive guidance to us. We are not left on our own to figure things out, but have divine wisdom to turn to as we make our choices in life. 

Schafer suggests, “The discovery of the quantum phenomena signifies an evolutionary metamorphosis of the human consciousness, a leap of the evolution of life into a new human species.” [195-96] As the ascending Dwapara Yuga advances, we will see humanity advance to higher levels of consciousness as the quantum paradigm gains more acceptance. The remnants of materialistic Kali Yuga consciousness are reaching their limits of appropriateness, especially when armed with nuclear weapons and other advanced technologies. More and more people see the need for change. 

This new consciousness “can combine spiritual views of the world with a rational understanding of cosmic order. . . . And we will be able to live to the fullest our individual potential in a holistic world in which all things and people are one.” [196] Mystics have advocated this for millennia. Perhaps now that we are in ascending Dwapara Yuga and science confirms this need, it will actually manifest by the divine awakening of and empowering of enough people. “Thus, when unexpected aspects of the wholeness of the world appear together with signs of stress, as this is happening at the present time, it seems prudent to prepare for another movement of the evolution of life.” [197]

“It is no accident that, when quantum physics discovered a realm of forms at the foundation of the visible world, Carl Jung discovered a realm of forms at the foundation of our mind. What the unconscious is to the mind, the nonempirical realm of reality is to the empirical world.” [198] The changes are happening on different levels, in different disciplines to manifest a holistic paradigm shift. Let us strive to be change agents for this.

The original state was the archaic structure of consciousness, in which human beings felt one with the world and “were not distinguished from the universe.” We will, of course, not restore the archaic state in its original form, but we will integrate those of its aspects that we accept as true with our current rational understanding of the world. . . . in the newly emerging integrative consciousness, archaic, magical, and mythical motifs emerge naturally in a rational understanding of the world. [200]

“Our nature is the nature of the universe. Since the purpose in us came out of the wholeness and belongs to it, the conclusion must be that purpose is a cosmic property.” [208] Rather than strangers in a strange land, we are one with the Ground of Being and nurtured by it.

“We can’t know what the purpose of the universe is, but we might make a guess: Its purpose is to take the structure of consciousness to ever increasing levels of integration.” [209] Through devotional service, we can integrate ourselves with the divine whole. “When you begin to understand your inner sense of existence as the feeling of your being in the ‘oneness of God’s being,’ it will open the door to your infinite potential.” [212]

“That science now supports the search for the transcendent comes as a shock. It is the shock that drives the metamorphosis of the mind. Searching for the transcendent in the quantum phenomena, we are finding out that the transcendent is searching for us.” [213] God-dess’ loving presence has been reaching out to us for eternity just waiting patiently for us to respond favorably. Isn’t it about time?

Quantum reality offers reasons for hope. When reality is an undivided wholeness, we aren’t hemmed in by its infinity, but we belong to it. When the background of the universe is mindlike, we aren’t alone in the universe, but the cosmic spirit is thinking with us. In your thoughts are divine thoughts. In your kindness, divine kindness comes to the fore. And in the potential in you, the infinite divine potential is trying to express itself in the empirical world. Why it needs us, I have no idea. Perhaps the answer is that we are the cosmic spirit and the cosmic spirit is us. [215]

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