Reply To: The world is not a problem – Iain McGilchrist and Dougald Hine

  • Don Salmon

    April 30, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    Hmmm… the world of philosophy. Hmmm.

    I’m not a trained philosopher; amateur – but started studying at 14 (over 5 decades ago) so I have a little glimpse of it.

    Ah, I have an idea.

    Several hundred years ago, (once upon a time>) God started having a tough time. The American founders wanted to mention God but were worried about religious wars AND about giving science a wider degree of freedom.

    So God was taken out of everyday life and sent to a far off galaxy. Somewhere in the vast blue yonder, He had created this universe, and then settled off to admire his creation. ‘

    Well, it hadn’t occurred to them, if you banish God from the cosmos, pretty soon, you’re going to think He’s not needed at all. Darwin was actually quite upset about this (he had initially trained to be a theologian, after all) but couldn’t avoid that conclusion.

    So, now we get to the 20th century. Some folks were starting to see that maybe the idea of a dead, disenchanted de-Godified cosmos was not only not such a great idea, but my gosh, might even be wrong,.

    But – and this is where the Absolute comes in – they couldn’t quite get comfortable with the idea of an omnipotent, omnipresent, God, so they made him a bit smaller:

    Kind of a lonely, pathetic guy, can’t quite get it together, so he has to create the cosmos to fulfill himself.

    Well, neither any traditional panentheist view, nor theist, nor Vedantic, Buddhist, etc notion EVER came up with this. It’s a stark contradiction.

    Either the word “GOD” means omnipotent (there is no God but God, La Illah ha ill lahla (or something like that). Or even more powerful – All is Brahman. Or as Paul said, We live and move and have our Being in Him.

    There is only One.

    From this view, there never was a creation. There is no world and no universe.


    Ok, I’ve just taken you from a fairy tale to a seeming impossibility. Let’s see if I can do one more thing and make a little sense of the idea that there is no creation.

    What do you know, with absolute certainty, at this moment?

    Not Descartes pale “I think therefore I am.”

    There is awareness and this field of awareness (it’s not located anywhere, if you look closely – you might think it’s in your head but if you look a bit more carefully your head is within this awareness – look closely and you’ll see this awareness is all permeating (in other words, omnipresent)

    Anything that’s omnipresent is obviously “doing” everything – hence, omnipotent (this doesn’t mean “all powerful” in the sense that there’s some subject – awareness – that can do anything – it means the only “thing” that’s doing anything is awareness, which is everywhere and everywhen all at once.

    And it’s all “good” because it is doing only awareness.

    I don’t know that any of this can make sense without practice.

    When you see this, it’s the most obvious thing in the world that what we cal “moon” and “stars” and “earth” and “banks” and “cars” are images of awareness appearing to awareness.

    And there was no beginning. It has “always” (timelessly, eternally) been this way – the silence of Siva and the ever ecstatic coming forth and dance of Shakti.

    So the whole question of some God “needing” something actually makes no sense. It has nothing to do with “God” as the omnipresent Reality in which we/it live and move and have our/its being.

    Better not to think about these things and just rest into the silence.

    Try putting aside all reading and try my favorite meditation instruction of all time:

    Do nothing.

    It may come up that the hardest thing in the world is to understand what it means to do nothing.

    Don’t even close your eyes. just sit. And don’t make any effort. Thoughts will come. Don’t do anything. Emotions will rise and fall. Don’t do anything.

    At some point, you will experience directly that all is arising and falling away on its own, all as One Reality. If you continue doing nothing, you may also find that all thoughts fall away, and you’ll have a clearer glimpse of what this “universe” really is than any scientist ever had.