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Mind into Matter
A New Alchemy of Science and Spirit
By Fred Alan Wolf
Moment Point PressCopyright © 2001 Fred Alan Wolf
All rights reserved.
Void: The Impossible Life/Death Principle
For behold, the kingdom of heaven is within you.
The main idea of the new alchemy, the cord that binds together all of the ideas presented here, lies in the concept of unity: the great inseparability of all things. Taken literally, as we shall see, this means that the very notions of heaven being separate from earth, mind separate from body, free will separate from determinism, life separate from death, and in fact all duality, all opposites, wherein we pose an inside and outside, a boundary line, a nation, an island, a membrane, a distinction—all and more, are not primary facts.
Yet, we unconsciously strive to keep this secret buried inside ourselves. We unwittingly work at maintaining the status quo. In other words, we unconsciously choose to live under the illusion that everything is as we see it. This is not only a fundamental truth for you and me, it is the deep secret of the universe's existence: Hide from one's essential self. It is God's great trick; and it only works because we agree to believe the trick. If we can stop believing it for one minute, one second, even one millisecond, and allow our consciousness to become aware that we have stopped, we will see the trick revealed.
At some point in our lives, somehow, somewhere, just for an instant, the unveiling of the great mystery comes to pass. God, the magician, raises the curtain, reveals the trick just slightly, and we glimpse the illusion. But, we don't shout, Wow! No gasps of wonderment fill the theater. Something becomes distinguishable from nothing in a single creative act, but we trick ourselves into not seeing. And so it goes. No applause fills the air. We sit back, watch the show, breathe a sigh of relief, and say unconsciously, "We'll never figure this one out, might as well just accept it."
In fact, all distinctions arise out of such actions. And most of us habitually remain unconscious and cling to the illusion until the last nanosecond of our existence. We watch the boundary between ocean and land, between air, earth, and water. We watch the effervescent crust of sand, water, and air and remember the distinctions. And likewise, we live our lives in the comfortable notion that an invisible membrane separates us from that world "out there"; that "in here," in our minds, our inner worlds of imagination, we are safe and alone. In no way can any person or thing intrude into our individual mind worlds. Every sense in our bodies continually tells us that this is true, that we are each alone. We ignore any information, any thought, any perception, any imaginative tale, anyone else's story that confronts our sensory presentation of the separated "out there" and "in here" worlds. We look skeptically at people who tell us a different story, probably dismissing them as misguided fools, or even lunatics.
Many of us today, caught in this dilemma of illusion and reality, would like to believe that separateness is an illusion. We are, then, in luck!
What the Alchemists Knew
Distinctions are not real. They are fleeting whispers of an all-pervading, subtle, non- expressive potential reality. The world is not made of separate things. Mind is not separate from matter. And you are not separate from any other being, animal, vegetable, living, dead, or seemingly inanimate matter. The kingdom of heaven and the island of hell lie in you. In you lies everything you have always wanted to know. A vast potential urging itself to arise and become something lies in you. In you, like a coiled serpent waiting to spring forth from your deepest shadows, lies every creative moment that exists, has ever been, and will ever be.
But like the ocean washing ashore, the tide eventually wanes. The water returns to the sea. The shore asserts itself. Eventually all distinctions disappear. No boundary lasts forever. Nothing lasts. Everything returns to the great ocean of oneness. Life, death, and all patterns move vibrationally. You can think of this as the impossible life/death principle.
Even space and time—the arena in which we spend our lives—are not real but projections coming from something far deeper and mysterious. Even this arena will disappear. This impossible non-spatially extended, non-thinking thought that lasts not a second nor an eternity, not even the smallest iota of time nor the grandest eon, this deepness, this light/darkness beyond anything that can be pictured as empty, this paradoxical life/death principle, this deep yearning appears as a cloud, a memory, a slight perturbation, and, like that, it grows. But to us, it seems to just pop into existence without a thought or notice.
Ever undulating, the great surge asserts itself once again. The ocean washes ashore. It is an illusion brought on by the very necessity that the action that brings the universe into existence requires this illusion.
Or does it? What if the notion of finding the truth itself is purely imaginary?
The Ancient Alchemists Who Sensed the Void
Inseparability is elusive, most times invisible to our senses, and hard to describe. Yet throughout the ancient world many isolated alchemists sensed the presence of this impossible undivided simultaneously existing life/death principle.
Not unlike some deeper-thinking modern scientists of today, who in their discoveries of new principles of inseparability1 seek the hidden meaning of life and answers to the mysteries of the universe, alchemists sought ways to bridge the apparent gap that every distinction implies. Behind every good, they sought the evil. Behind every new idea, they sought the ancient principle. Once convinced of their vision, they believed that any separation, discovered or sensed, was illusionary. And, thus they sought a way that would lead them into the realm of inseparability. They desired to hold the paradox of existence in their hands. They desired to see both sides of the coin at once. All of their work, all of their experimental efforts had one goal: shatter the membrane of separability. To do this meant not only working at their alchemical craft, but also working on themselves by continually confronting their own comfort zones of acceptability.
Dissolving the Ancient Membrane
Thus ancient alchemy had as much to do with self-mastery as with mastery of the physical laws of Nature. Such mastery required patience, observation, and, above all, devotion. In the fourteenth century, an ancient alchemist, John of Rupescisia, wrote that alchemy is "the secret of the mastery of fixing the sun in our own sky, so that it shines therein and sheds light, and the principle of light, upon our bodies." To discover this secret, alchemists had to learn to master the art of dissolving all barriers of separability. These barriers particularly included any ideas or concepts indicating a sensory distinction between "out there" and "in here." Thus the most significant membrane they had to dissolve was the one separating mind and matter. They sought to make clear to themselves the invalidity of the distinction between the real and the imaginal worlds. To do this they had to discover how to cross over willfully and consciously from one realm to the other. This was no easy task because of the law of inertia.
The Secret Law of Resistance: Inertia
For alchemists, inertia not only appeared to pervade the outer world, tending to keep things in their respective separated places, it pervaded the inner world of thought and perception, tending to make them accept as objective fact what could be repeated over and over again. Indeed, Isaac Newton, an alchemist himself, discovered the universal principle of inertia, which led him to formulate the objective mechanical laws of motion.
To make the break, to overcome mental inertia, requires a new way of thinking. With a new way of thinking, new ways to evaluate what one thinks appear. And with these new tools of evaluation, new ways to feel arise. Now by "feeling" I am not referring to the sense of touch; I mean what Carl Jung meant. Feeling means undergoing a lasting assured occurrence, becoming aware of an "in here" experience through time, but not conscious of the time the feeling lasts—becoming conscious, over a period of time, of a specific kind or quality of a physical, mental, or emotional state. The lasting quality of a feeling is extremely important in what follows.
Once a new way to feel about your thoughts arises, you begin to sense the "out there" world with new eyes: creatively, informatively, newly, as a child. With new enlightened sensations arising, you begin to have deeper intuitions. These intuitions arise as ideas, insights, predictions of the future, or reappraisals of the past. They appear as visions. And, each new thought institutes a cycle. The cycle moves through phases, like those of the sun and moon, from thinking to feeling to sensing to intuiting which begins the cycle anew. The continuation of the cycle forms a physically repeating vibrational nervous energy in the body. Without anything to disrupt it, it forms a memory that could be retapped as if one were going to a beer keg for a refill.
In this cyclic manner all memories form, all impressions become stabilized as "facts," all opinions about the world and opinions about yourself in that world form. When the cycle breaks, when the addictive habit of it dissolves, a new cycle begins. A completed cycle, you see, has what it takes to become a part of reality: it has inertia, it has resistance, and it will, if fueled with energetic cycles that are in phase with it, grow and live. If it grows and lives without check it becomes an archetype and it possesses the user as assuredly as any demon possesses a medieval philosopher hell-bound to tap the secrets of God.
One such secret was continually revealed to the ancient alchemists and it possessed them. It appeared to them in dreams or it arose in their thoughts as they monkeyed around with matter in their laboratories. They were given an inkling that what happened here on earth (the lower world) was linked to what happened in the heavens (the upper world), and that what took place in the inner world of the psyche transforms the outer world of stars, people, places, and things. They had seen how information could transform into matter. And they had seen the reverse. They had tapped the life-death principle. They had reached into the void and dissolved through the membrane of inertia.
Ancient Mysticism and Modern Science
We might think of these ancients as misguided. Perhaps they were, in that they didn't know modern science. But in regard to the essential life/death principle they were, scientifically speaking, right on the money. An inner abstract imaginal world had to have a causative effect on the outer material world and vice versa. As above, so below. As within, so without. The sovereign states of the imaginal and the real are deeply connected.
Long suspected but often doubted and buried, this fact of nature reemerges in the science-based era we call the information age. It leads to a new vision of reality—one where the imaginal, subjective, or virtual reality of mind and the physical, exterior, or objective reality of matter link inextricably. This link, as we shall soon see, transcends time and space.
Because this link lies outside the spatial-temporal realm, many intelligent people believe the answer to the puzzle relating the outer world of substance and the inner world of knowledge does not lie within the world of science, but must be solely found in the metaphysical world of spirituality. However, as we shall see here, these two worlds are joined together outside of space and time into a single worldview as intimately as space and time themselves marry in the Einstein-Minkowski theory of relativity. They are as deeply linked as mind and matter, as real and imaginal. The mind is not in the brain; the brain is not in the mind. In a sense, they can be seen as bordering countries, or as global areas or hemispheres. From separate perspectives, each can be viewed as being contained by the other. From outside they appear as a unity.
Even today we have a difficult time believing that the imaginal world has a causative effect on the real world. On the other hand, we have little difficulty believing that the material world influences the mental. After all, we know that mind-altering drugs can change moods, make pain seemingly evaporate, and even allow diseases to be diminished. Medication can transform a schizophrenic sufferer's brain so that it delivers an apparently normally functioning mind.
The Lunacy of the Alchemists
Today, the boundary separating the insane from the ingenious is not very distinct. Being thought "crazy" was no less the plight of the ancient alchemists. An aura of lunacy shone on all that the alchemists touched. Indeed, to many who witnessed their actions, to be an alchemist was to be crazy. This is because to accomplish their seeming miracles, alchemists needed to go to places in the mind that few dared to reach. And there, according to legend, they had to face a deceiver, a trickster, who stood at the moonlit border between reality and imagination.
But, how did ancient alchemists accomplish their seeming magic? How did they cross over the boundary and evade the ever-present trickster at the border? Metaphorically, they had to be guided by moonlight, no doubt. And they had to expect to see the trickster who, once they recognized him as an image of themselves, would let them pass.
Their moonlit worldview, their whole way of seeing the world, took it that:
All that is above
Also is below
Alchemists saw the upper and lower worlds as analogies to the inner (personal) and outer (external) worlds, what we today call the subjective and the objective. In our new alchemy, these worlds are connected by multiple story lines, possibility histories related to the quantum physical idea of paths of action. (I'll explain this more fully in chapters 7 and 8.) It turns out that only if we risk facing the trickster at every point along the path can we alter these story lines.
As you move along your own story line, mind-objects—the contents of a virtual reality within the subjective realm which often appear in your dreams as dark characters—take on life and appear to you as new images, thoughts, feelings, and intuitions. You can be swept away by these images as if you were carried by a powerful wave.
The story line connects the "out there" world with the "in here" world. The wave of life moves the self from the mind-objects of the story line into the physical realm where it animates material counterparts. Then the material counterparts react and send back along these same story lines an echo wave establishing a connection between the inner virtual reality and the outer physical domain. This imaginal wave initiation/physical echo wave response results in a loop in time—where the physical activity occurs before or after the mind-object appears. When the physical activity occurs after, you experience it as wish fulfillment. When it occurs before, you see it as déjà vu or you have an inner sense of knowing what is about to happen.
Remember the first being, Adam Kadmon. From his eyes, mouth, nostrils, and ears, unconfined primal light emanated. In a great overwhelming mystery, special vessels containing this primal light appeared out of nothing. These vessels were primal or seed-like matter. They were the first acts of limitation.
To become this Adam, you need to realize this mystery of light containment. You must tap the time story line, go to the imaginal well, and take the first step to magic and to a sacred awakening. This step was and is the beginning of something rather than nothing. It was and is the primal act of creation. It was and is the formation of the most powerful tool ever created: the word.
The Word: Something from Nothing
I think the universe is a message written in a code, a cosmic code, and the scientist's job is to decipher that code.
Heinz Pagels, physicist
In the opening scenes of a popular 1960s television series that played to a select but mystified audience, the hero, known as The Prisoner, a nameless fellow who has suddenly quit his top-secret government job in England, is kidnapped from his London flat and interrogated by an antagonistic and mysterious inquisitor.
"Where am I?" The prisoner asks.
"You are here," replies the inquisitor.
"Where is 'here'?" continues the prisoner.
"Never mind that," says the inquisitor, "I am number two, you are number six."
"I am not a number," pleads the prisoner. "What do you want?"
"We want information," comes the inquisitor's reply.
After the questioning and imprisonment in a mysterious village whose location is unknown, the prisoner embarks on a number of harrowing adventures, each calculated to determine whether or not he will bend to the rules of the mysterious organization to which he has been made captive. The goal of this secret club is to force him to yield some precious knowledge, which the prisoner seems not to know, to make him a cog in the giant machinery that carries out whatever mischief the occult conglomeration chooses to perform. Our hero resists, of course, but at the price of his own sanity.
Excerpted from Mind into Matter by Fred Alan Wolf. Copyright © 2001 Fred Alan Wolf. Excerpted by permission of Moment Point Press.
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