Balanced Existence

Achieve and maintain health and wellness within the modern human environment

Quantum Thoughts

Magic-Tree II
Creative Commons License photo credit: h.koppdelaney

Recently I was introduced to the wisdom of pursuing understanding of the nature of the universe, consciousness and existence under the aegis of quantum physics’ cutting edge. The science of quantum physics has arisen and exists within the same western socio-cultural milieu that I was born into. This, I think is an important point.

I have a great deal of interest and respect for the realizations held within the direct mystical revelations that have occurred in human history. Institutional dogma has been built upon these originally experiential realizations, eventually resulting in organized religion. Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Shamanism, and accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus have all signposted my journey. However, while the realizations and subsequent teachings these systems contain may fundamentally hold a universal truth (the original experiential realizations) they are inherently expressed within the metaphors, language and ultimately the culture within which they arose.

I don’t remember who said it, however – “The object of thought becomes progressively clearer with an accumulation of different perspectives on it.”

The Quantum Monad
The word “monad” comes from the Greek “monas”. In translating Euclid into English in 1570 the term “monas” was translated by John Dee to mean “unit” and had previously been rendered as “unity”. This alteration of “unity” was made on the basis of digit to mean a single number regarded as an undivided whole.

A monad is an elementary individual substance that reflects the order of the world and from which material properties are derived. The term was first used by the Pythagoreans as the name of the beginning number of a series, from which all following numbers derived. Giordano Bruno in “On the Monad, Number, and Figure” in 1591 described three fundamental types: God, souls, and atoms.

The idea of monads was popularized by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in Monadologia in 1714. In Leibniz’s system of metaphysics, monads are basic substances that make up the universe but lack spatial extension and hence are immaterial. Each monad is a unique, indestructible, dynamic, soul-like entity whose properties are a function of its perceptions and appetites.

In Amit Goswami’s fantastic book The Visionary Window: A Quantum Physicist’s Guide to Enlightenment this man with a doctorate in theoretical nuclear physics describes the quantum monad as that which retains the quantum memory of habit patterns and propensities of past lives created by conditioning. These habit patterns consist of quantum memory – the conditioning of quantum possibilities. Goswami posits that it is this memory of past propensities (karma), this quantum monad that survives physical biological death.

Interestingly under this thinking (as I understand it) the question of how there can be so many more people now than in history past if the soul exists is answered by seeing the individuality of the soul, as in each individual having an individual soul, as an illusion produced from the day to day individualistic nature of physical experience derived from limited physical senses.

The Zero-Point Field
Another physicist by the name of Ervin Laszlo (who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 and 2005) considers the zero-point field to be the fundamental underlying basis for reality. Laszlo sees the zero-point field as the basis for the entire realm of manifest phenomena, including mass, energy, and information. The zero-point field stores information and according to Laszlo may very well be accessible by human consciousness non-sensorially in the form of intuitions, images, archetypes and the seemingly anomalous contents of altered-state experiences.

Laszlo writes about the zero-point field:

“There the almost infinitely varied things and forms of the manifest world are united in an essential oneness at a deeper level. At the fundamental level of reality the forms of existing things dissolve into formlessness, living organisms exist in a state of pure potentiality, and dynamic functions condense into static stillness. All attributes of the manifest world merge into a state beyond attributes. Time, space and causality are transcended in a state of pure being: the state of Brahman. Absolute reality is the reality of Brahman; the manifest world enjoys but a derived, secondary reality – mistaking it for the real is the illusion of maya.”

The God Theory
Bernard Haisch is an astrophysicist, author of over 130 scientific papers, was the scientific editor of the Astrophysical Journal for nine years, and editor in chief of the Journal of Scientific Exploration. Haisch, in his book The God Theory, writes:

“If you think of white light as a metaphor of infinite, formless potential, the colors on a slide or frame of film become a structured reality grounded in the polarity that comes about through intelligent subtraction from that absolute formless potential. It results from the limitation of the unlimited. I contend that this metaphor provides a comprehensive theory for the creation of a manifest reality (our universe) from the selective limitation of infinite potential (God).

If there exists an absolute realm that consists of infinite potential out of which a created realm of polarity emerges, is there any sensible reason not to call this “God”? Or to put it frankly, if the Absolute is not God, what is? For our purposes here I will identify the Absolute with God. More precisely, I will call the Absolute the Godhead. Applying this new terminology to the optics analogy, we can conclude that our physical universe comes about when the Godhead selectively limits itself, taking on the role of Creator and manifesting a realm of space and time and, within that realm, filtering out some of its own infinite potential.

Viewed this way, the process of creation is the exact opposite of making something out of nothing, It is, on the contrary, a filtering process that makes something out of everything. Creation is not capricious or random addition; it is intelligent and selective subtraction. The implications of this are profound. If the Absolute is the Godhead, and if creation is the process by which the Godhead filters out pars of its own infinite potential to manifest a physical reality that supports experience, then the stuff that is left over, the residue of this process, is our physical universe, and ourselves included. We are nothing less than a part of that Godhead – quite literally.”

Consciousness as the Ground of All Being
Richard Conn Henry, a Professor in Physics and Astronomy at John Hopkins University, in a review of Bernie Haisch’s book The God Theory for The Journal of Scientific Discovery submits the statement that “it is not matter that creates an illusion of consciousness, but consciousness that creates an illusion of matter” as perfectly encapsulating his own understanding.

Professor Henry goes on to state that this is correct physics: it is not controversial in the slightest degree that there is no reality; this has been demonstrated in both theory and experiment. Here Professor Henry refers to Groblacher et al. (2007) whose paper “An experimental test of non-local realism” appeared in the journal Nature (vol. 446), concluding that the concept of ‘realism’ (a viewpoint according to which an external reality exists independent of observation – that is, (to me) independent of consciousness) is untenable.

The Sun & The Moon
Let’s come full circle and return to the Bronze Age in which the sun and the moon were widely known symbolic signs. According to Joseph Capbell’s The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion, the moon cyclically “sheds its shadow to be born again, connoting the power of life, as here engaged in the field of time, to throw off death…[while] the sun, the light which is unshadowed, [here is] recognized as the light and energy of consciousness disengaged from this field of time, transcendent and eternal.

In the context of these symbolic assignments, the cycle of a single lunar month has been compared, by analogy, to the term of a human lifetime.” When, fifteen days into the cycle, the moon becomes full, “there is a moment when the rising moon, having just emerged on the horizon, is directly faced across the world, from the opposite horizon, by the setting sun. Certain months of the year the two, at this perfectly balanced moment, are of equal light and the same size.

By analogy, the confrontation has been likened to that in the mid-moment of a lifetime when the light of consciousness reflected in the mind may be recognized, either suddenly or gradually, as identical with that typified metaphorically as the sun. Whereupon, if the witness is prepared, there ensues a transfer of self-identification from the temporal, reflecting body to the sun-like eternal source, and one then knows oneself as consubstantial with what is of no time or place but universal and beyond death, yet incarnate in all beings everywhere and forever; so that as we again may read in the Upanisad: tat tvam asi – thou art that.”

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Iron and the Soul

Today’s (Thursday) workout was much like Monday’s. However there was a progressiveness with the Turkish Get-Ups (TGU) that signals to me that I’m getting stronger.

16kg x left and right (l/r) to warm up.
37kg x working move by move, switching hands each time, of getting up and back down up to the kneeling lunge and back down with my left and a full TGU and back down with my right.

Today was the first time I’ve completed a 37kg TGU with my right and the first time to the kneeling lunge position with my left. I plan to continue along this same vein until I’m able to complete 3 TGU each side within a reasonable amount of time. Then I’ll go up to 42kg and work through the process again.

140kg x 8 singles

Kettlebell Bottom Up Press (BUP)
22.5kg x 7 singles performed in between deadlift singles.
22.5kg x 5 l/r.

The standard I’ve set myself is I must be able to complete 5 BUPs with my left arm (my weaker arm) before moving up in weight. So next week I’ll be moving up to 25kg BUP.

What follows is a somewhat famous essay written by Henry Rollins for Details magazine. It is a superb piece of writing that I never tire of reading. The first statement holds what I believe to be a truth that I feel I have instinctively followed. Enjoy.

Iron and the Soul – By Henry Rollins
I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.


When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me “garbage can” and telling me I’d be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn’t run home crying, wondering why. I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time. As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn’t going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you’ll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn’t think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn’t even drag them to my mom’s car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.’s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn’t looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn’t want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn’t know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn’t say shit to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn’t want to come off the mat, it’s the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn’t teach you anything. That’s the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can’t be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn’t ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you’re not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn’t have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone’s shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr. Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn’t see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone. It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it’s some kind of miracle if you’re not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

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