Whether we like it or not, the universe we see is what we see in ourselves. It is one of the fundamental tautologies in cosmology. Because of that, we can never experience the world beyond what we see. We can’t see it before we were born and after our death, either. Still, we assume that the universe must exist regardless of our existence.
Is there such a universe that exists without our experience? Some people wouldn’t care about the future world since they won’t be around anymore by then. Others would worry about the next generations for the future. For the past world, it seems we can only know through history. In any case, it appears that there should be two types of the universe as follows:
- The universe with our experience
- The universe without our experience
The former looks like the world of subjectivism. The latter is merely a set of knowledge that we can only perceive in our minds.
Such difference is not only chronological (past, present, and future) but also spatial (here, there, and over there). For example, there are areas that we can directly experience. We worry about our families, communities, or organizations, etc. We consider them a circle of life influences. On the other hand, there are other areas that we know only as a set of knowledge. Ironically, our toothache seems more important than the brutal civil wars on the other side of the globe that we hear only through the news.
As far as our experience is concerned, the universe we see looks fragmented, even selfish.
Why is that so?
The problem is due to the said tautology that what we see is what we see in ourselves. In this perspective, the world is inevitably limited, even distorted. If you are happy, perhaps the world also looks bright; you feel like birds around you are singing for you. On the other hand, if you are sad, everything around you seems dark; you feel like these same birds are crying with you. In the world of subjectivism, the universe looks like a mere extension of our limited, distorted experiences.
Is there any way to get out of such a prison of our limited, distorted experiences? Beyond this selfish prison, can we see the true face of the universe and the worlds around us?
What is our experience on earth? It is the reality that our consciousness sees itself in itself. And, this reality could change itself depending on the so-called levels of consciousness. There are various articulations from world religions to modern psychologies on how to define these levels. The simplified categories could be as follows:
If we see the universe only through the lens of our self-consciousness, we are within the tautology of what we see is what we see. That is what we call a prison of self-consciousness. In this perspective, our biggest problem is nothing more than a toothache-like experience. In this selfish prison, the world keeps changing depending on our mood. We even don’t care about the future and past worlds, as well as the place far from us geographically. After all, we live in a small selfish village.
However, there is a moment when we can forget ourselves, such as a state of flow and the like. At this very moment, the different face of the universe emerges itself. The world is no longer the fabric of everyone’s selfish village but the world as it is. We can also call it life as it is.
As we forget ourselves, our subconsciousness is dominant in this perspective. We are out of a prison of self-consciousness. Our self-indulgence does not control our small world anymore. We become selfless to some extent. Like children, we become so spontaneous with full of curiosity to embrace everything as it is in the universe. We can enter this subconscious state to get out of the prison of self-consciousness.
But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and don’t try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom.”Matthew 19:14
Perhaps, one good piece of advice to enter this subconscious state could be as follows:
Don’t think, act!
As we are homo sapiens, the power of thinking is tremendous. Without this power, we could never achieve the current unprecedented human civilizations. On the other hand, however, we still don’t know how to use it effectively. We think that we are thinking, but the reality is that we are overthinking and daydreaming. As a result, we create the self-confined prison called everyone’s selfish village or world.
The world in front of us becomes a series of dramas where we are both unskilled directors and actors. Life looks like a series of cheap comedies and tragedies. What we are thinking overwhelms us to make a series of such dramas endlessly. What should we do?
Let’s stop thinking!
But of course, I am not saying that we have to act like a walking dead zombie. To be more precise, we should stop overthinking and daydreaming, which is not genuine thinking at all, but the mere state of worrisome self-indulgence. We should get rid of this state. But again, thinking of getting out of this state is also the state of overthinking and self-indulgence. That’s why we call this state a prison. Thinking of stop thinking is still thinking.
What should we do? We must act first.
Before anything else, we should throw ourselves into action. Don’t think, act. Only by acting first, the state of genuine thinking can manifest itself. Thinking without acting is not thinking. It is only worrying. Only after and with acting, the act of thinking becomes authentic, not worrying and daydreaming anymore. Acting diminishes worrying and generates genuine thinking, which is selfless and constructive at the level of subconsciousness.
Thus, one of the good suggestions for us to forget ourselves to enter the flow state should be to act. Act first. In doing so, we can stop worrying, start thinking correctly.
Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.Matthew 6:34
We don’t worry about tomorrow but focus on our action today. Only today’s action brings us to tomorrow’s. That is the way that tomorrow takes care of itself. Action now takes care of itself for the next action. That is the process of genuine thinking. In this state of flow, we don’t worry about what to do next as we focus on what we do now, or even we are the very act itself. This act at hand can automatically generate what to do next. This way, we don’t even have time to worry about the next. The current action leads us to the next action and the next.
So, act first. Everything else is God’s will. Thus, Jesus says as follows:
Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?” Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.Matthew 6:31-33
At the moment of action, we are no longer our worrisome conscious selves as the state of flow. In this state, our selfless subconscious is dominant. We are no longer ourselves but action alone. Moreover, we are part of the universe. In this very moment, the universe is neither what we can experience nor what we can’t experience. Beyond these boundaries, we can now add the strike-through lines as follows:
- The universe
with our experience
- The universe
without our experience
The universe is the universe as it is regardless of our experience. In this realization, we are even beyond the level of subconsciousness. Now, we enter the domain of unconsciousness. It is the state of God’s will. In it, we slightly sense that we control the action to some extent. We still maintain the subtle sense of free will. At the same time, at a depth of vast unconsciousness, the sense of bliss emerges itself to overwhelm us in such a way that we are genuinely free not because of our free will but because of God’s will. God alone is. We are in the kingdom of heaven.
God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven!Matthew 5:3
And we can understand the true power of our prayer as well in seeking God’s will alone.
Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.Philippians 4:6
Image by bdabney