February 18, 2018
Generating the Substance of Life
Bill Isaacs: Human beings have mostly lost track of their inherent ability to fill voids in consciousness. There are many places on the planet, and many places within human beings, that are empty, where there is a void of substance. The term void is interesting. Its most ancient root means "to leave" or "abandon." In other words, a void is a place that's been abandoned. I think that is an accurate description of the cause of the voids in human experience. They are produced by the abandonment of connection to the means of generation.
It is possible to sense the qualitative dimensions of the substance behind every form. Anywhere one looks there is a quality of invisible substance present, something which is more or less whole, more or less full of life. Such substance it turns out has a definite structure, and a clear quality of energy and atmosphere. The word substance is also interesting. Its most ancient root means "to stand." The substance I am speaking of here stands behind what we can see and radiates qualities of wholeness through it. It is the tangible atmosphere we can touch and sense. We can connect with such substance because it is always reflective of some aspect of our deeper selves, a mirror of qualities of being within us.
This quality of this substance of wholeness varies depending on many factors in the human world. You can look out at a set of row houses in Amsterdam and see great beauty; or walk by a Buddhist Temple in Bhaktapur outside of Kathmandu and witness apparent chaos, but also a beautiful living order. There are pockets, in other words, where there is qualitative substance remaining, somehow maintained by human experience.
Of course, there are also many places that are depleted, where there is extreme poverty or extreme pollution. Delhi recently set a record for having the worst air pollution anywhere on earth. It became so bad that breathing the air there was like smoking 50 cigarettes a day. The voids are not just at the level of overt problems. There are many places that seem to have a quality of soullessness. This is not so much a judgment as a perception. You could ask people from many different places and walks of life the same question about how they feel about a certain place and find remarkably high levels of agreement about what they sense. This is because human beings have the ability to perceive qualities of substance. We have a rich data collecting capacity. We perceive below the level of form to the atmosphere, to the qualities that are present behind the form.
There are great deserts in this quality of substance throughout human experience. It also seems that these deserts, these invisible ecosystems, are self-replicating. Frequently the patterns of voids in substance are passed down from one generation to the next, often in the form of encapsulated thinking and feeling. The paradox is that people do not go about endeavoring to create voids, either individually or collectively. In fact, the motivation underneath all human endeavors is to create heaven on earth. It's fair to say that whenever a person acts—even those who do so-called destructive things—they are invariably seeking to alleviate some burden or improve some condition they feel, to change their experience. Unfortunately, many of their actions produce more trouble, depleting rather than generating substance, and thereby intensifying the voids. The absence of any quality or depth means that the control and generativity that might be present isn't. So the question is, what to do about this invisible desertification of substance on the planet?
Interestingly there are residual pockets of substance that people are now studying intensively to try to understand this problem. Researchers have uncovered so-called "blue zones" around the planet where many people consistently live to be more than 100 years old. These include places like Okinawa, Sardinia, Costa Rica, even Loma Linda in California, which is home to a community of Seventh-day Adventists. These places all share some common attributes. The people eat a mostly plant-based diet. They have limited stress. Family matters to them. And spiritual matters are central. Despite these explorations, the mechanism that allows for the generation of a new quality of experience remains largely unconscious or dormant in human beings. When the problem is considered, people look to external patterns. What are they eating? How much time are they spending with their families, et cetera? Attention gets focused, in other words, on external form, not internal quality of experience. While we each have the capacity to activate a subtle and rich quality of vibration and substance and to fill voids, attention tends to remain at superficial levels.
Attempts to correct the ills that have arisen from this core problem of the absence of qualitative substance are not new. Human beings have been endeavoring to do something about this for as long as living memory goes back. Understanding more profoundly the nature of the breakdown and therefore what to do about it is essential if there is to be a correction at any level. The illusion being assiduously maintained is that efforts to control form with technology, increasingly subtle and ever more powerful machines, is working. The difficulty is that these actions taken in the name of solving problems are the cure that makes the illness worse.
What's fascinating is to watch the acceleration of human efforts to fill the voids using new methods that try to bypass the core dilemma—a description of which I will come to in a moment. In his book Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari surveys the collective patterns unfolding over the last few centuries that have begun to change and in many cases dramatically improve conditions for human experience on earth. While there are yet many desert places, far fewer people die today from plagues, famine, or war than ever before in human history. People are more likely to die today of overeating than starvation, from suicide than from war. Poverty has been reduced substantially in the last fifty years. Lifespan has been extended. Interconnection is ubiquitous. Despite the apparent troubles in human consciousness there seem to have been many improvements.
This has given people a sense of confidence in human knowledge and has led to an ever greater intensification of the endeavor to defeat the ultimate problem of human life, namely death. There are massive investments now being made in life sciences and in other fields like bioengineering, to defeat death, framed as such. There is a notion that human beings should be able to live longer than they do. The sensing is that somehow, we are not living nearly as long as we could. The prospect of human beings the way they now function living much longer might be unsettling, to say the least. What is arising is the intensification of the effort ultimately to "be as God" as it was once put.
This gets to the core difficulty. The revolution that is occurring now in science is beginning to see all life-based endeavor as biochemical algorithms. "Organisms are algorithms" in this emerging world view. An algorithm is a methodical set of steps that produces an outcome. While human algorithms are far more complex than simple machines, the ambition is that our individual and collective ways of functioning will eventually, if not immediately, become decodable and controllable.
The pace of all this is accelerating exponentially now. And while it may take another thirty, forty or hundred years—if we last that long—to manifest, Harari shows how this pattern of unfoldment is now inexorable. In other words, while there have been attempts to bring about improvements in human experience for centuries, the endeavor to complete the job, so to speak, has now greatly intensified. We are approaching a kind of crescendo at many levels.
However, the core problem, the central cause of voids of substance in human experience, remains. No matter how efficient human effort gets, it does nothing to change this. In fact, the very intensification is evidence of the failure pattern at work.
It is worth recalling some words from Genesis, a text that is known to be among the most ancient in human experience. These are the words initially spoken by God to Eve and then later rebutted by the serpent:
"But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." Genesis 3:4
The solution of the problem people are now investing in to overcome-death-will not be found in diet or regenerating telomeres-protective factors in chromosomes-but something else. Even so, the serpent-which in this context is a symbol of the mind, gave Eve an apparent opening:
"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die." Genesis 3:5
Anything is possible, it whispers, inflating and revealing itself all at once. The serpent continues:
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:6
The endeavor to be "as gods"—homo deus—is reaching a culmination in our era. As artificial intelligence driven by exponentially accelerating computing capacity separates itself from the need for human consciousness to the point where human decisions become irrelevant, the question will arise: what is it to be alive? What is our response? In the end it's actually very simple to see but it takes substance of consciousness to see it.
Human beings have the capacity to activate the substance of Life. We do not need to be as God because we are already aspects of God. I am that. Because this awareness has been lost, creative capacity in human consciousness has been restricted to one pattern, namely procreation. Everything else human beings create immediately begins to pass away. Any form created by human being dies. While all forms come and go, the ones human beings create takes enormous effort to sustain.
The capacity to activate finer ranges of substance cannot be touched by a consciousness that is seeking to be as God. Later in Genesis are words about "a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life" Genesis 3:24. There is a threshold here. The ability to activate generative capacity can only be done from within oneself. No one can do this for you. No pattern of belonging or belief from the past can help you. This capacity, while quite natural, only flows from the experience of true identity, not the imitation of it.
This is the one route left for human beings. And while the distractions of the promise of ever more effective ways of filling the voids on the planet will no doubt intensify in coming years, it is vital that there be some people who recognize the false and destructive path this represents.
Sacred substance, once activated, remains. Nothing true can ever be lost. It is possible to see how to exercise creative magic in any circumstance, whether that relates to a void in oneself or to any pattern or circumstance that one touches. No field is impenetrable because the substance that can be brought from life to any difficulty is always denser and therefore able to allow a pattern of control and healing to emerge that would not otherwise be there.
We can have the experience not only of friendship through common reflection but a sense of authority arising from within ourselves to bring the activation of new levels of substance into the world. This could sound like a theoretical or abstract endeavor, and no doubt requires much finer levels of function to be made real. Yet the responsibility and opportunity to do this is something that has been present all along. If you look around you realize that what you have is yourself, your consciousness, and only your consciousness. You have whatever training and guidance you've drawn to you and absorbed to allow yourself to be in this moment; someone who can bring the activation of the currents of life, the Tone of life to focus.
While it may be comforting to refer to others in other contexts, they aren't here now; but you are. Now the immensity of the weight of that reality leads people in subtle ways to defer to other contexts or principles or doctrines that they've absorbed, from whatever religious, spiritual or cultural history they have, and stay attached to them. But the reference point in the end is oneself—not a phony self, isolated from the whole, but the truth of oneself, part of the living reality of Being.
I am growing more conscious of the intricate design available for the generation of substance, the differentiated design present on this planet through each of us individually and all together. We each have a very specific job to do, unique to us, that no one else can do. Each of us has a commission and pattern of communion with others, however conscious they may be of their unique responsibility. We are conscious of the pattern of governance that can allow the generation of substance that can shift all of the forms. It takes substance generated through the active expression of the true Tone of life to perceive the next finer range of expression. There is a feedback loop here that works in both directions: the absence of perception leads to expression that is off the mark which leads to greater separation.
How are the desert places to be filled? By my Word now. We can sense how our own consciousness needs to be reorganized to allow this to be made fully true, that whatever desert places remain in us, whatever patterns of reaction, or thinness of substance, are filled in, not because we seek answers from outside ourselves but because we provide the needed energy to set the lines of force in motion through us and through all that is around us. We have the capacity to activate resonant substance in form everywhere. This is what we are here to do and the doing of it is the greatest joy there is.
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