Sharing The Path
BY DOUG CALE
While in Chicago recently, I had the opportunity to do something that I used to do often â€“ spend time browsing a brick and mortar bookstore instead of going to Amazon on my browser. It's intrinsic in me to want to understand what is ultimately real about our Universe, so I always start in the science section. The book I had in mind wasn't there so I changed it up. Rather than seeking out the newest on what the world is all about, I looked for the oldest record that I could find. I purchased The Upanishads.
I first learned of The Upanishads at Karma Yoga while studying the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali. I always found these suggestions as to how we individually interpret and respond to apparent reality to be amazingly insightful â€“ the result of pure thought experiments by society's Olympians of the day.
Impressively, the Upanishads predate Patanjali by approximately a millennium. It was the earliest of these Vedic hymns that began the systemization of yoga. Yoga is mentioned frequently. Aum â€“ the cosmic vibration that underlies all existence - is frequently found in the Upanishads.
The earliest Upanishads have been interpreted to describe Brahman as the formless substratum from which the universe has grown â€“ the sum total of all that ever is, was or will be. Brahman sounded like a pretty good definition of universe to me!
The intellectual experiments which began more than 3,000 years ago in the pursuit of the true nature of reality continue to this day. It must be human nature. What is exciting is that cosmologists and theoretical physicists, some of the intellectual Olympians of our day, seem to be closing in on a provable theory of ultimate reality. It could happen in our lifetimes.
The 20th century witnessed the discovery of two great theories which precisely describe the what about our Universe â€“ quantum physics (the sub-atomic world) and general relativity (the large-scale world of gravity).
Both of these theories have repeatedly and consistently been verified to extreme precision without fail. More impressively, they each made unimagined radical predictions (black holes, Higgs bosons, expanding universe, etc.) that were eventually confirmed.
But not only are these theories incompatible (neither accommodates any aspect of the other), neither answers the how question.
How is it that there is a boson, or a black hole, or a universe?
That is the great quest for the 21st century: an overarching theory of ultimate reality for our Universe in which theoretical physics becomes experimental physics.
At this time, there does appear to be a "formless substratum" (there is no such thing as nothing) from which spacetime emerges. There does appear to be a "cosmic vibration" that underlies everything as evidenced by the accelerating expansion of our Universe as dark energy overwhelms gravity.
Remarkably, it does appear that we are sharing the same path with some of the greatest thinkers of the early Vedic period in working to describe the true nature of ultimate reality.
Doug Cale owns Schakolad Birmingham Chocolate on Maple Road, just two miles east of Karma Yoga.