Notes from the 2014 Science and Non-Duality conference in San Jose
If you’ve ever been in love…. or had a child… you know that when you look upon “your beloved” – as Rumi would put it – it is as if there is no distance that separates you. You feel that person – your emotions about that person — embedded inside. As if an umbilical cord not only connects you, but removes the empty space that separates you.
Ah, language. “Your beloved.” “Embedded.” “Umbilical cord.” “Connected.” “Empty Space.” “Separateness.”
All words designed to explain what this is… and this… and this. How difficult it is for us to imagine a space where words have no real meaning – where there is no need to explain.
It is hard to convey, for example, the feeling of oneness. The love we have for our child. The inspiration portal of art. The “aha” moment of insight. The subtle knowing of intuition.
What often comes out sounds “hippy dippy” – or awkwardly inadequate. In trying to explain a sense of connection, we end up merely categorizing it with the words at hand so that we as “observer” can visualize something that is not, ultimately, an actual structure to visualize.
And think of how our words vary from culture to culture, depending on what we feel is important to convey. The Chinese “tao” and neo-Confucianism term“li” have little counterpart in Western language. The Norwegian term “Vardoger” – which describes the “warning soul” who is able to telepathically recognize the intent of someone to come home.
So much of who we are as humans depends on our ability to see and then explain… in order to enable others to see… sometimes eventually to give up trying to help someone see… or, unfortunately, all too often devolving into deciding that someone who doesn’t see in our way is simply wrong-headed, close-minded, dismissing.
Opening Night: SAND conference
At the opening session of the 2014 Science and Non-Duality conference in San Jose, co-founders Maurizio and Zaya Benazzo were, adorably, One as they conveyed in a kind of flowing, tripping-over-each-other’s-thoughts way the origins of this conference, stemming from a dinner conversation. They described – showed – almost viscerally – how they met, after restless wandering and questioning and exploring. His humor, her beaming smile looking up at him (he’s very tall), created a space of connection.
The theme of this year’s conference is Entanglement – the proven observation in the quantum world where protons separated at a great distance instantaneously communicate as if there were no separation at all. How does this make sense?
For the hundreds of people gathered here from 27 countries and 35 states (and 600 streaming views on opening night) — who already recognize the limitations of science thus far to explain many aspects of our universe – entanglement makes sense if we start to realize that we are never separated… we are part of a field of connection… and/or we are communicating through vibrational strings.
Different paths, same idea
“Different ways” was one theme of the evening, as the Benazzos pointed out that we all find our “portals” to the interconnected universe in different ways. Music, art, design, dance, yoga, meditation, conversation, meeting new people. They are all opportunities to widen our perspective… and to experience our unique perspectives within the wider whole.
They brought up two notable speakers for the opening discussion who have approached enlightened science of experience beyond experiment. One is a former physicist turned philosopher. The other is a former philosopher turned physicist. Each spoke eloquently about the question, “What is entanglement?” from their own unique views.
Is Entanglement Physical or Spiritual?
Hameed Ali, a spiritual philosopher who founded the Diamond Approach, tried to explain the journey of discovery he went on as he came to understand that the universe is simply one embedded state of consciousness – a place where everything is not separated at a distance but is innately one. Not even entwined, which implies separated beings, but – beyond the limits of time and space – able to commune together. Sometimes, he said, perhaps people get into the wormhole, bypassing time and space, where the illusion of separateness is collapsed – such as true psychics, mentors, mystics.
Imagine, he asked us, if you were able to Be with Einstein, with Plato, with your ‘future self.’ Imagine that every point in your “now” contains all time – your childhood, as well as your death. “You can’t see it, but they are here. All time and space is a unity. You are not trying to get beyond time, but into it. Any apartness is an illusion.”
From Spookiness to Undivided Wholeness
Menos Kafatos, who received his doctorate in physics from M.I.T. in 1972, is a notable professor and author. He says to him the question is not how are we entangled, but how is it that our brains enable us to appear as if we are separate? How does our mind make it appear that our universe is divided?
The qualia that we rely on for observer-based science – light, sound, color, shape, texture – gives the appearance that the characteristics we attribute to every thing have some basis in reality. But what, for example, is the color green that we have learned to identify?
The universe is alive and conscious, Kafatos said. We don’t experience our particular brand of reality – from our own vision, our own mind – until we observe it.
Beyond Matter and Mind…
As physicists for more than 100 years have grappled with (see guide #1), the observer collapses the wave function of a particle by the simple action of “capturing” it in a moment.
Without being observed – described, measured, categorized — separateness in the universe is irrelevant. The energy and information and awareness of the universe is non-linear and all part of one living system.
The question many of the people at the SAND conference are discussing, in many different ways: What if we stopped relying so much on our ability to make others see matter and mind as the variables? What if we tried to stop explaining in words that which requires a different sense?
At the time of the great physics divide in the early 1900s, Werner Heisenberg, who created the Uncertainty Principle in an attempt to explain something, said the despair about not understanding so much about the universe led to the question, “Can nature possibly be so absurd as it seemed to us in these atomic experiments?”
As I will be detailing from SAND… I think the ultimate question becomes – why are we fighting nature? Yes… our experiments are generally limited in what they are trying to explain through measurement.
— Mikki Morrissette, founder, Connected in the Deep