Seven Steps To Unified Metaphysical Awareness
On the night of the 12th / 13th of August 2008 whilst living in Mcleod Ganj in the Himalayas, I received an intuitive 'download'. This is now in the process of being studied, analysed, tested, re-expressed, refined and applied. Hence this document will evolve.
The essence of the download was a sequence of seven steps toward unified metaphysical awareness.
Summary of the Seven Steps
Step 1 (Rosetta Stone): Use a carefully designed table of correspondences as a conceptual Rosetta stone, i.e. study the parallels to discern the underlying pattern and be able to translate between conceptual frameworks (paradigms). The table gives parallel descriptions of the same fundamental aspects of reality. Subtly interpolate between the concepts to develop a non-conceptual grasp of each fundamental aspect of reality (conceptual annealing).
Step 2 (Structural Model): Given this non-conceptual grasp of each of the fundamental aspects of reality, arrange the aspects into an interconnected network of interrelations. Then apply another process of conceptual annealing to allow the non-conceptual grasp of each fundamental aspect to dissolve and flow through the network and reform into a structural model of the unified context.
Step 3 (Non-Conceptual Model): Keep up this process of conceptual annealing. This subtly deepens the non-conceptual grasp of the fundamental aspects and we also come to know the topology of the interplay between them. Thus we get a feel for which aspects resonate with which in order to manifest the higher-level aspects. This results in a complete non-conceptual model of the unified context.
Step 4 (Dynamic Model): Then study a detailed model of the inner dynamic of the existential process (e.g. SMN) so that we can clearly see how each aspect arises from the interplay of the lower-level aspects. Starting from the most fundamental we can trace the whole process of emanation from the lowest-level to the highest-level. At each level we can define exactly what is happening, how that level was created by the interplay of the lower-levels and how it results in the creation of the next higher-level.
Note that the lower levels (of complexity) are at the top of the table, and vice-versa.
Step 5 (Dynamic Understanding): Through visualisation or imagination this complete dynamic model can be set running as a cognitive process. We then have a microcosmic simulation running within the mind and we can create cognitive realities into which we have an omniscient perspective. This then evolves into a dynamic understanding.
Step 6 (Penetrative Insight): This dynamic understanding can be compared with observed experiences to refine it, and used as a cognitive lens with which to look deeper into our experiences. These two processes resonating together (experiential annealing) result in penetrative insight into the world presented by our experiences.
Step 7 (Unified Awareness): This penetrative insight deepens and clarifies, thereby evolving into a constant state of penetrative insight, which becomes a permanent state of awareness of the unified context.
Example of the Seven Steps
Rather than purely discuss these steps in the abstract, this article gives a particular example of the process, to illustrate how it works. The non-conceptual understanding / awareness that these example steps lead to is known to me from previous intuitive downloads and related work.
The exact content of the descriptions (such as the table of correspondences and the structure of the network) is a work in progress. It is a process of trying to find the right concepts from different metaphysical paradigms that can be placed so as to usefully direct minds familiar with those metaphysical paradigms in the direction of the non-conceptual understanding.
This example provides a description of a Unified Metaphysical Model along with a definition, which may help in developing a clear and accurate metaphysical understanding of the unified context. This is then followed by a prescription for developing this into a unified metaphysical awareness.
This is a work-in-progress, however it provides a starting point, indicating general conceptual structures and contemplative processes that can be refined and used to develop clear and accurate metaphysical awareness.
We will eventually consider four interrelated metaphysical paradigms, each giving a slightly different perspective on the same unified context. Each describes in parallel, fourteen principal aspects of the unified context. These are then integrated together into a network of meaning, which is animated within the mind's eye. This is then refined by comparison with experience and used as a cognitive lens with which to 'see' deeper into the world that is experienced.
However we begin by locating a familiar paradigm, one in which the words used to describe concepts and phenomena give you a clear sense of meaning. You should contemplate these meanings in context, to develop an understanding of the different aspects of the unified context, from that familiar paradigm.
We then explore the other metaphysical paradigms in order of familiarity and contemplate how they interrelate with the paradigms already understood in order to develop a multi-paradigm understanding of each principal aspect of the unified context. First consider the next most familiar paradigm and contemplate both in relation to each other. As you let them resonate within your mind, this draws out subtle meanings and interrelated patterns between them. Don't treat the memory associations and intended meanings as fixed points in a conceptual space, instead interpolate between them by letting their meanings gently dissolve, merge into each other and reform into a subtle non-conceptual understanding. In turn we explore each of the four metaphysical paradigms in order of familiarity, all the while building within the mind an integrated non-conceptual image of what is being described.
Many people would be satisfied with this level of understanding however if you wish to go further then the process so far has gradually prepared you for this. There are many intuitive and meditative paths, however here I describe a rationalist path. The non-conceptual understanding prepares you to comprehend the definition of the model, which is expressed as a mathematical model along with various descriptive commentaries. The mathematics is simple, intuitive and easy to learn, however it is metaphysically subtle. From the mathematics you can learn the detailed computational dynamic of the model, then by imaginatively recreating this information process within your mind's eye you can come to know it as a complex dynamical process.
As these stages of realisation unfold, your understanding grows and evolves within your mind and produces a core of clear and accurate, unified metaphysical awareness. When nurtured with steady attention this will grow and permeate your mind, effecting a radical shift in your world-view.
This deepens and transforms what you believe you are; what you believe the world and its objects, places, people and events are; what you believe is happening and what you believe is possible. This fundamentally changes the world that you believe you occupy and how you participate in it.
There is a lot of information encoded within this description so please contemplate it slowly and with subtlety. Don't interpret the descriptors (words) too quickly or rigidly, contemplate each one in context because words only make sense within a context and when taken out of context they are non-sense. If you keep reinterpreting everything as your understanding of the context evolves, your understanding will grow deeper and clearer. This is a form of cognitive annealing.
Remember throughout that the words only provide a description and not a definition. Whilst a definition can create an understanding in your mind, a description is like a set of scattered conceptual points that help to map out a complex network of memory associations and weave them into a complex understanding. Hence to discern the intended meanings, the triggered memory associations need to be adjusted according to the context (network of associations between the many concepts).
To bring out the transformative potential, as you work through each of the steps in turn, spend at least an hour a day fully immersing yourself in contemplation of a particular step (for instance, contemplating the correspondences in the Rosetta stone). Then for the rest of the day keep this growing understanding in the back of your mind.
If you work through this exercise with persistence and skill then you will be moving into a profoundly subtle non-conceptual state of knowing. You cannot go there whilst still attached to rigid concepts. You must be willing to let anything and everything dissolve and go into a state of flux. Any attachments to beliefs, desires or fears will subtly dissolve and reform as the subtle understanding and awareness grows within your mind.
Beliefs such as "I am a person and I am living my life in the world" are particularly prevalent and confining, so too are attachments to possessions, pleasures and motives. Any attachment leads to rigidity in the mind because certain ideas become fixed, and these rigid concepts reinforce each other and collectively resist change. This can lock you into a particular paradigm or world-view and prevent you from experiences others. If followed with earnestness and perseverance these steps can gradually soften these rigid conceptual structures and make your mind more flexible.
It is best to approach this exercise with no motive; out of pure synchronistic spontaneity, but if you must have a motive then adopt an enlightened motive and undertake this exercise out of loving compassion for all of existence. Motives that imply attachments to wordly issues, objects, people or events will dissolve as you progress through the steps and attempts to maintain them will inhibit your progress.
When the mind is supple and adaptable a core of clear awareness begins to grow, nurtured by steady attention. Hence the mind should not be agitated or distracted. One must allow the mind to return to a calm and balanced natural state, then allow it to come to single pointed focus. This requires great skill, however this cognitive state can be acquired through steady self-awareness and meditation.
Now let us begin the first of the steps...
Table of Correspondences (Metaphysical Rosetta Stone - Step 1)
Preliminary Advice on the Table of Correspondences
Descriptive Labels and Implied Meanings
The descriptive words in the table are used metaphorically throughout. Language evolved within the context of the experience of "being in a world" (symbolically contained within row 10). In normal usage words and concepts imply that the things referred to fundamentally exist as we imagine them to exist. The descriptive labels associated with row 10 are still metaphorical, however it is within the experience that is represented by row 10 that the literal meanings of words apply.
To explain what is meant by 'metaphorical' consider the case where it is said that 'particles' come into existence at level 6. It is not meant that "particles as people commonly imagine them to be" come into existence at that point. What is meant is that 'something' comes into being, which when later studied by humans is often described as a particle, but this 'something' may be VERY different from what those humans imagine it to be.
What that 'something' is can be subtly discerned by the types of memory associations that arise from the words and the context in which they are used. For example, consider the word 'particle' in relation to "Experience", "Individual Manifest System" and "Stream of Events". From these, one could perhaps briefly describe that intended region in conceptual space as "a manifest system, which has an inner experiential process (inner state, experience, behaviour), a sensory experiential context (inputs) and an observable form (outputs)." This implies a simple manifest system.
For another perspective on this use of descriptive symbols, see the graphical representation below.
In this Thanka (Tibetan Buddhist painting) we see that within the circle (which corresponds to the entire table) there is a purely abstract realm that can only be represented symbolically, just as in the table of correspondences the descriptions are only metaphorical. However outside the circle (symbolically contained within the bottom row of the table) is the world that we believe and experience ourselves to exist in. Here images potray things literally, and descriptive words have their literal meanings. This outer world is the realm of those things that we believe in as the gods, spirit beings, physical forces and phenomena, people, places, objects and events. This is the only context in which images and language can speak directly.
In this sense the descriptive words used in the table are just symbols meant to stir up memory associations that can then be brought into the mix and subtly moulded to the context. Words cannot refer directly to that which underlies the phenomenal world, however with symbolic abstraction or mythological metaphor, language can be used to metaphorically point the mind towards that which is beyond words. This is the manner in which the descriptions are given in the table.
Structure of the Table
The four columns are different metaphysical paradigms, each giving a slightly different perspective on the unified context. Reading down a column describes the process of emanation and reading up a column describes the path of discovery. The fourteen rows are principal aspects of the unified context. The rows are arranged in order from most fundamental to least fundamental, however they do not arise in strict sequence. Each arises in a proto form, which resonates with others and they bootstrap each other into existence. It is a complex resonant process (autocatalytic network).
The order of the rows in the table is determined by two factors, firstly logical necessity that builds up a symbolic context and then symbolic containment within that context.
Logical necessity: In order for one phenomenon to exist it necessarily requires the existence of other phenomena. For example, in order to have a computational space we first need things such as binary data, computational threads and so on, hence the table describes these in order of logical necessity. For a simplistic understanding one can assimilate all the logical necessities into the resulting symbolic context, however unless we know the logical makeup of something and all of its detailed inner processes that manifest its outer behaviour then we do not yet understand that something. Familiarity with the outer behaviour of a complex phenomenon is only the beginings of understanding.
Symbolic containment: In order for a phenomenon to arise it must have some existential context within which to arise. For example, before a computer program can exist there must be a computational space. Likewise, before the contents of consciousness can exist there must be consciousness. In this form of containment that which is 'contained' is symbolically encoded or simulated. The highlighted rows -3, 0, 3, 6, 9 and 10 all serve as symbolic containers - they also all lie on the central pillar of the structural diagram below. All other rows represent logical requirements that explain how each symbolic container arises and functions in order to be able to symbolically encode phenomena.
There is another type of containment that is implied within rows 7 to 10 of the table but is not used in the structure of the table itself. This is systemic containment - where 'systems' (which are separate entities within a systemic context that exchange information through input and output interfaces) interact and integrate and thereby appear to become a single supersystem.
The table is structured according to logical necessity and symbolic containment, and NOT systemic containment, hence the rows in the table are not like separate things that interact, they are more like levels unfolding from each other - hence each row permeates all later rows. A concept is introduced at a particular row because that is the point at which it originates. Hence the row doesn't define the scope of the concept, it merely defines its originating order, and the scope is from that point on throughout the rest of the unified context.
Where to Start?
A good starting place for empiricists is the lower left corner (Physical Universe), then work up the column, exploring deeper into the more abstract levels of the empirical perspective. From this perspective, everyday experience of being in the world seems the most real and by looking up the rows one is conceptually exploring 'deeper' into the more abstract levels of existence.
A good starting place for transcendentalists is to choose their preferred column depending on whether they are intuitive, rationalist or familiar with one of the mystic traditions listed. Then begin with the upper most row and work down the column, emanating out from the Source toward the more conditioned levels of existence. From this perspective the most fundamental level of the unified context is the most real and by looking down the rows one is conceptually exploring in the direction of the projected result of the dynamic process of existence.
A good starting place for those familiar with computer science and simulation is the rationalist column. At first, don't think directly about 'this' reality, instead think of it as describing the logical requirements to create a general simulated reality. Work down from the fundamentals of computation, through simulation and into the simulated reality and the world-experience that it produces for the virtual systems that exist within the simulation. By doing this one is conceptually standing at the level of hardware and exploring in the direction of the virtual phenomena within the experiential worlds of systems within a simulation running on a computer. Then switch to the opposite perspective by imagining what it is like to be a sentient virtual being within that simulation (this is equivalent to being at the bottom row and looking up the empiricist column). How would things appear to them, would this be any different to how things appear to us? After studying this view in a top down (emanation) and bottom up (discovery) manner, apply this understanding as an analogy to 'this' reality and see how it fits.
Further details are given below but first peruse the table of correspondences below, locate a familiar column and scan it to discern its overall structure. Reading down a column describes the process of emanation and reading up a column describes the path of discovery.
Further Advice on the Table of Correspondences
Other patterns can also be discerned in these rows. For example, in Vedic philosophy they speak of the three worlds, which represent the totality of existence: bhoor (outer, 10), bhuva (inner, 9 to 5) and swaha (innermost, 4 to -3). Below is another pattern...
There is a repeated pattern of virtual or symbolic containment throughout the rows. This pattern can be described as language/symbol/stream/pattern. For example: There is some basic language, which has symbols, which flow in a stream, and patterns arise within this stream. The patterns symbolically represent virtual phenomena, hence the space of potential patterns acts as a language where the symbols are virtual phenomena.
Note that this is directly related to logical necessities and symbolic containment mentioned earlier. Pattern/language provide a symobolic container and symbol/stream are the logical necessities required for this to occur.
This is the essence of simulation. It also relates to langue/representatum/parole/communication from semiotics. In this way it can be said that there are worlds within worlds, but these are not physically contained, they are symolically represented or simulated. Knowing this will help you decifer the table.
This aspect is illustrated in the table below, where the yellow lines are symbolic containers and the pink and blue lines are logical necessities.
How to Study the Table of Correspondences
After having familiarised yourself with a column choose the next most familiar column, then compare the two in parallel and see what patterns you can discern and what insights can be gained about each of the fourteen principal aspects of the unified context. Then do this for the other columns in order of familiarity until you have familiarised yourself with each column and contemplated each column in light of the others, thereby gaining a multi-paradigm understanding of each of the fourteen principal aspects of the unified context.
Remember that the descriptive words are just symbols meant to stir up memory associations that can then be brought into the mix and subtly moulded to the context. It could be that many memory associations are triggered but only some of them are useful in the given context. Or perhaps that none of them are, in which case some research and contemplation are required. In particular try to discover the most general meaning of the description and then try different analogies to see where that general definition fits within those analogies.
For example, if the word 'computation' doesn't seem to fit for you, understand that 'computation' is the transformation of information, where 'information' is discernible difference. Then you might find that 'consciousness' or "the electricity within a circuit" or something else is a description that triggers useful memory associations for you.
This process takes persistence, subtlety and focused attention, please take your time and feel free to carefully blend columns and create new ones that better express the underlying meanings for you, thereby discovering a perspective on the various aspects of the unified context that works for you.
As an imaginative aid each step can be visualised using the mandalas. These contain symbolic cues which will become apparent as you work with each step in turn.
Interrelatedness of the Fourteen Aspects (Structural Model - Step 2)
As you come to grips with the above table and are developing a multi-paradigm non-conceptual understanding of each of the fourteen principal aspects of the unified context. Then begin to study the following diagram where each aspect is represented as a node within an interconnected network of associations. Use the diagram below to guide another process of cognitive annealing.
Contemplate how each aspect relates to the others within that network of interrelations and let the meaning that is localised around each aspect dissolve into dispersed clouds of conceptual density that reform around each node and interconnecting association.
When the concepts become truly fluid and they permeate the entire network of associations then reform into a clear image, this becomes a complete structural model of the unified context.
Dissolving and Reforming the Model (Non-Conceptual Model - Step 3)
By contemplating this in the mind's eye one can see into the subtler details of this metaphysical model using the flexibility and subtlety of the whole mind, thus going well beyond the limitations of simple linguistic symbols (concepts and words) and into liminal, non-conceptual spaces.
Animating the Model in the Mind's Eye (Dynamic Model - Step 4)
A convenient framework for developing a rationalist comprehension of the dynamic essence of the model at the finest level of detail is dynamic SMN (system matrix notation). To completely understand the model in this way you will need to learn SMN (this is not difficult). There is a detailed mathematical definition and several descriptive commentaries, however a step-by-step tutorial suitable for this context will be developed in the near future. Once you are familiar with the SMN process, imaginatively visualise it within your mind's eye and, using the non-conceptual understanding previously developed, interpret this as a microcosm within your mind.
A Microcosm in the Mind's Eye (Dynamic Understanding - Step 5)
The pure SMN process creates a virtual tabular-rasa (empty universe) within your mind's eye within which you can manifest any kind of existential phenomena that you can imagine. When the complete structural model is animated in this way it results in a complete structural and dynamic understanding of the unified context.
In a very real sense your mind becomes a microcosmic Universal Consciousness creating a cognitive virtual reality. When you can do this you can create and animate virtual realities within your mind and know them from an omniscient perspective, thereby coming to understand them as dynamic, creative and experiential processes.
Looking through the Mind's Eye (Penetrative Insight - Step 6)
Given a dynamic understanding of the unified context, now test this understanding against experience to refine it and also use it to re-interpret everything and let your world dissolve in order to reform into something deeper. Both these exercises reinforce each other in a process of experiential annealing.
You thereby come to know your stream of experiences in a new way. This gives penetrative insight into the nature of reality.
This process of experiential annealing should be applied at all steps but it becomes more profound with each step. Whilst it is initially an aid to learning, in the latter stages it becomes pivotal. Through experiential annealing the dynamic understanding evolves into penetrative insight, which culminates in unified metaphysical awareness.
Assimilating the Understanding (Unified Metaphysical Awareness - Step 7)
The deeper one experiences the metaphysical world-view that arises, the more one appreciates its simple essence, its intricate structure and behaviour, unlimited creative potential, true generality, universality, self-consistency and logical necessity.
This process plants and germinates a memetic seed resulting in a core of clarified awareness, which when nurtured with steady attention grows into an all encompassing metaphysical world-view that opens your mind to all aspects of the unified context and vastly expands your awareness. This transforms what you believe you are; what you believe the world and its objects, places, people and events are; what you believe is happening and what you believe is possible. This fundamentally changes the world that you experience and how you participate in it.
The example unified metaphysical model is a work-in-progress however it currently provides a starting point, indicating general conceptual structures and contemplative processes that can be refined and used to develop clear and accurate unified metaphysical awareness.
This example illustrates how the seven step approach can provide a framework within which to nurture the development of subtle understanding and awareness.