Newsletter August 12, 2019
Larry Dossey on God and Love on Route 80
Sometimes things happen that reveal an apparent pattern, plan, and meaning to the workings of the world. When this revelation occurs, it's as if the Universe winks at us as if to say, "Now you're in on the secret!" The "secret" is the realization that an infinite, unitary intelligence pervades everything - what author Stephen G. Post calls infinite Mind. And that's why God and Love on Route 80 is a poke in the eye of materialism, the numbing ideology that all happenings conform to the so-called blind, meaningless laws of nature. In contrast, Post's "journey west" is a coming-of-age metaphor for the discovery of ancient truths: that Consciousness is primary, that Mind was "here first," and that love is a kind of metaphysical glue that holds things together and provides a delightful fizz to the whole show.
There is a chorus of agreement affirming Post's view of infinite Mind, a universal One Mind that subsumes and unites all individual minds. This view is threaded from antiquity through the present. As Plato wrote, "[H]uman nature was originally One and we were a whole."[i] Hippocrates stated, "There is one common flow, one common breathing, all things are in sympathy."[ii] Pico della Mirandola, the Renaissance philosopher, believed that the world is governed by a "unity whereby one creature is united with the others and all parts of the world constitute one world."[iii] In the 19th century, the German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel called distant mental exchanges between humans "the magic tie." He believed that "the intuitive spirit oversteps the confines of time and space; it beholds things remote; things long past, and things to come."[iv] Arthur Schopenhauer, also in 19thcentury Germany, suggested that a single event could figure in two or more different chains of circumstance, linking the fates of different individuals in profound ways. He believed in a form of communication that took place between humans during dreams.[v] Walt Whitman, America's nineteenth-century bard, proclaimed, "All these separations and gaps shall be taken up and hook'd and link'd together... Nature and Man shall be disjoin'd and diffused no more...."[vi] His contemporary, philosopher-essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote, "There is one mind common to all individual men...[a] universal mind...." Emerson called this universal mind the Over-soul which, he said, is "that unity...within which every man's particular being is contained and made one with all other....[W]ithin man is the soul of the whole...the eternal ONE."[vii] Among the poets in Emerson's camp was William Butler Yeats: "[T]he borders of our minds are ever shifting, and ... many minds can flow into one another... and create or reveal a single mind, a single energy.... [T]he borders of our memories are ... shifting, and... our memories are part of one great memory...."[viii] As Post reminds us, the Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung's concept of the collective unconscious and the collective conscious paralleled the views of Emerson and Yeats. Bottom line: everything is connected, including minds.
It is not widely known that some of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century were aligned with the concept of a single, collective form of consciousness. Astrophysicist Sir James Jeans observed, "When we view ourselves in space and time, our consciousnesses are obviously the separate individuals of a particle-picture, but when we pass beyond space and time, they may perhaps form ingredients of a single continuous stream of life. As it is with light and electricity, so it may be with life; the phenomena may be individuals carrying on separate existences in space and time, while in the deeper reality beyond space and time we may be all members of one body."[ix]
Erwin Schrödinger, whose wave equations lie at the heart of quantum physics and who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933, wrote, "To divide or multiply consciousness is something meaningless. In all the world, there is no kind of framework within which we can find consciousness in the plural; this is simply something we construct because of the spatio-temporal plurality of individuals, but it is a false construction.... The category of number, of whole and of parts, are then simply not applicable to it.[x] ...The overall number of minds is just one.... In truth there is only one mind.[xi] [I]nconceivable as it seems to ordinary reason, you - and all other conscious beings as such - are all in all. Hence this life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but is in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance."[xii]
The eminent physicist David Bohm agreed, observing, "If we don't establish these absolute boundaries between minds, then it's possible they could...unite as one mind....Deep down the consciousness of mankind is one. This is a virtual certainty... and if we don't see this it's because we are blinding ourselves to it."[xiii] Bohm and his colleague Basil Hiley further stated, "The notion of a separate organism is clearly an abstraction, as is also its boundary. Underlying all this is unbroken wholeness even though our civilization has developed in such a way as to strongly emphasize the separation into parts."[xiv]
Therefore God and Love on Route 80 is more than an enchanting, beautiful book about a boy's recurring dream and the life journey that followed from it; it is a recapitulation of both ancient and modern insights, including the conclusions of a variety of Nobel laureates. Route 80 is well paved. It has a firm foundation.
Above all, God and Love on Route 80 indicates the kind of awareness that is required if we are to survive the challenges we face as a species - the awareness of our connectivity and unity with all else, the knowledge that our world is sacred, holy, and worth saving. As novelist Alice Walker has said, "Anything we love can be saved" - including ourselves, our children, generations yet unborn, and the environment itself. And when we sense our intrinsic unity with one another, we can upgrade the Golden Rule from its customary expression, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," to "Be kind to others because in some sense they are you."
Post's infinite Mind helps us re-sacralize the world, to see it as intrinsically holy. Thank you, Stephen Post, for reminding us of this essential truth and for sharing with us an amazingly entertaining journey this is above all a spiritual classic about the meaning we all seek and the possibilities for spiritual awakening that lie within.
- Larry Dossey, MD
Author: One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters
Larry Dossey, MD, is the author of One Mind: Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why it Matters. A distinguished physician, Dr. Dossey is among the most influential and creative leaders worldwide in bringing scientific understanding to spirituality. He is the author of a number of profound books on spirituality in healing, including the New York Times bestseller Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine, and The Power of Premonitions. In One Mind, considered one the most innovative books of our time, Dr. Dossey draws on spiritual wisdom traditions, great philosophers, personal experiences, and the sciences to make the case for a universal consciousness or One Mind that connects us all.
[i] Plato. Quoted in: Wilber K. Eye to Eye: The Quest for the New Paradigm. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday; 1983: 234.
[ii] Hippocrates. Quoted in: Watson L. Dreams of Dragons. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books; 1992: 27.
[iii] della Mirandola P. Quoted in: Watson L. Dreams of Dragons. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books; 1992: 27.
[iv] G. W. F. Hegel. Quoted in: Inglis B. Natural and Supernatural. Bridport, Dorset, UK. Prism Press; 1992: 158.
[v] Lyall Watson. Dreams of Dragons. Rochester, VT: Destiny Books; 1992: 27.
[vi] Walt Whitman. Passage to India. Quoted in: Nicholson DHS, Lee AHE, eds. The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. Oxford, UK: The Clarendon Press, 1917. Bartleby.com. Accessed 10 June, 2015.
[vii] Ralph Waldo Emerson. The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Illustrated, reprint, revised edition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1987. 160.
[viii] W.B. Yeats. Quoted in: D. Pierce (ed). Irish Writing in the Twentieth Century. Cork, Ireland: Cork University Press; 2000: 62.
[ix] Sir James Jeans. Physics and Philosophy. New York, NY: Dover; 1981: 204.
[x] Erwin Schrödinger. My View of the World. Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press; 1983: 31-34
[xi] Erwin Schrödinger. What is Life? and Mind and Matter. London, UK: Cambridge University Press; 1969: 139, 145.
[xii] Erwin Schrödinger. My View of the World. (Cecily Hastings, trans.) Reprint edition. Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow Press; 1983: 21-22.
[xiii] David Bohm. Quoted in: Renée Weber. Dialogues with Scientists and Sages. New York, NY: Routledge & Kegan Paul; 1986: 41.
[xiv] David Bohm and Basil J. Hiley. The Undivided Universe. Reprint edition. London, UK: Routledge; 1995: 389.
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