THICH NHAT HANH
“You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh
“True self is non-self, the awareness that the self is made only of non-self elements. There's no separation between self and other, and everything is interconnected. Once you are aware of that you are no longer caught in the idea that you are a separate entity.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh
“The food I eat was once the sunshine, the rain and the earth. I am the cloud, the river and the air at this very moment, so I know that in the past I was also a cloud, a river and the air... Interbeing means you cannot be by yourself alone; you can only inter-be... You are empty of your separate self, but full of the cosmos.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh
“People normally cut reality into compartments, and so are unable to see the interdependence of all phenomena. To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one's perception of reality.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh
““To be is to be Inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. “I am made of earth, water, air and fire. The water I drink was once a cloud. The food I eat was once the sunshine, the rain and the earth. I am the cloud, the river and the air at this very moment, so I know that in the past I was also a cloud, a river and the air. I was a rock; I was the minerals in the water. This is not a question of belief in reincarnation; this is the history of life on Earth. We have been gas, sunshine, water, fungi and plants. We were single-celled beings. The Buddha said that in one of his former lives, he was a tree, he was a fish, he was a deer. This is not superstition. Every one of us has been a cloud, a deer, a bird, a fish and we continue to be these things today.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us “universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
- Albert Einstein
“With a greater understanding comes a greater sense of wonder, and a greater realization, that we are a part of, and not apart from - the rest of nature.
- Anil Seth
“The way to think about our selves is not as a little dictator telling our brain what to do. Our selves are the emergent phenomenon that we get from all of the different parts of the brain [and environment] coming together to make us who we are.”
- Sean Carroll
“The fundamental unit of biology is therefore not the "self," but the network.”
The concept of 'I', as a single unified whole making all decisions continuously, is an illusion created by our own subconscious minds.
- Michio Kaku
“I am made up of a 100 billion neurons. When I die they will still be there, but I won’t be me any more. I will be dead. So that means who I am is not about the existence of the neurons, it’s about what they do and how they interact [with each other and the environment].”
- David Eagleman
“Consciousness is the prior condition of every experience; the self or ego is an illusory appearance within it; look closely for what you are calling “I,” and the feeling of being a separate self will disappear; what remains, as a matter of experience, is a field of consciousness—free, undivided, and intrinsically uncontaminated by its ever-changing contents.”
- Sam Harris
“The elements that make up the world are patterns of dependency and interweaving. In other words, they are relationships. When we are fully aware, we see that there are only relationships. All relationships are patterns of interaction. So they are, by definition, dynamic; they are patterns of change. There are no individual things, but only ongoing processes. These processes are made up of other, constantly changing, processes. All of reality is combinations of patterns of relationships in process. This is the foundation of "interbeing" a term defined by Thich Nhat Hanh.”
- Suzann Robins
“Interbeing is a very natural term. It means more than interconnection or interdependency, which kind of suggest separate selves having relationship. Interbeing is more of an understanding that we are relationship. That my very existence depends or draws from or includes your existence. So my well being is intimately connected to your well being or to the wellbeing of the river, the forest, people across the world, and so forth. Because I’m not really separate from you. And that means that in the story of well being whatever I do to the world will come back to me somehow.”
- Charles Eisenstein
“Each of us is a result. We are an effect at the end of a beginningless and endless stream of cause. The circumstances of every action in the universe from the beginning of time resulted in the coalescence at a particular time and place of what we call ourselves. This same process results in trees, clouds, stones and grasses and all other living creatures with whom we share the precious gift of consciousness. In fact we are of the same source because each and every thing is a particular expression of one seamless whole.”
- Clark Ratcliffe
“Schrodinger once said: ‘Inconceivable as it seems to ordinary reason, you and all other conscious beings as such, are all in all. Hence, this life you are living of yours is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but is in a certain sense the whole. Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground stretched out upon mother Earth with a certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you.’ Even for the scientist there is a sense of wholeness and a sense of oneness with nature, with earth, and to some degree he felt that was the relationship that he had to embrace, that was part of what his scientific perspective was all about. He felt that scientists should view themselves in relationship to the world around them as a oneness. Everything is connected. And science was a way of helping towards that connection.”
- Andrew Newberg
“We came to realize that reality isn’t really well described as an atomistic system. The parts aren’t distinct, but related to each other. There are relationships, be they gravitational, parental, or political. And we cannot really understand the properties or behaviors of the individual separate from the relationships in which the individuals evolved. As a result the picture of reality had to be enlarged, so that we held that what really existed was a set of individuals, and their relations. In physics this meant we not only had atoms, but energy and forces. In biology, this meant we not only had organisms but species and selection pressures. In psychology, sociology, and economics, we not only had people with minds, social positions, and wealth, but power structures and institutions. But then, in each case, we were forced to make a further generalization, where reality was seen as a unified whole - where the seeming individuals became embedded aspects of a single coherent larger existence. In physics we lost atoms, subatomic particles, and the forces between them to the field - where we thought what were individual bits are just vibratory modes and field values. With advances in data analytics, the combination of social science and technology seems to be forcing us to come to the same conclusion about ourselves and our social world. We aren’t the individuals we think we are, living the individual existences we think we’re with our indomitable free will. Yes, we have relationships that influence us (ask anyone and they’ll have stories of mentors, teachers, and parents who helped them become who they are, heroes whom they looked up to, who inspired them to follow the path they choose) But now we see we may need to take that last holistic step with ourselves as well.
- Steven Gimbel
“Does the move to seeing society as an emergent web with a collective reality that affects us in strongly predictable ways mean that ultimately we’ll have to redefine reality without the self?”...We’ve seen that in the case of physical, biological, psychological, and sociological realms, we’ve moved through three stages in thinking about what really exists. Starting each time by seeing reality as comprised of atomistic individuals, to seeing reality as a set of interconnected individuals, where the relations are important to the objects, and finally as a holistic system, unified and coherent in structure ...Remember that Albert Einstein won his nobel prize for that we need to think of light as being both particle and wave. A particle is an entity unto itself, an independently existing thing. A wave is a disturbance in a medium - no air, no soundwaves. Sound is just a state of the air. These seemed irreconcilable pictures. It seemed it had to be one or the other. But Einstein showed us that the real world is more complex than our categories. That it had to be a complicated marriage of the two. In the same way, perhaps data analytics and our online lives show us the same thing in terms of the self. Perhaps we too are social particles and waves. That our reality is as intricate and multifaceted as the world of atoms.”
- Steven Gimbel
“The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.”
- Neil DeGrasse Tyson
The cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths; of exquisite interrelationships; of the awesome machinery of nature. The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore we've learned most of what we know. Recently we've waded a little way out, maybe ankle deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can. Because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.
- Carl Sagan
“What we’ve discovered at the core basis of the universe... is a single universal field of intelligence, a field which unites gravity with electromagnetism, light with radioactivity, with the nuclear force - so that all the forces of nature, and all the so called particles of nature - quarks, leptons, protons, neutrons - are now understood to be one. They’re all just different ripples on a single ocean of existence. That’s called the unified field, or superstring field. And it’s a mathematical tour de force, but we have realized Einstein’s dream. He dedicated half his life to discovering this unified field, and now in the context of the super string that has been achieved... It is ultimately the field of consciousness. And all our separate consciousness, wherever there is consciousness, is merely consciousness by virtue of the fact that - my consciousness, your consciousness - are ultimately that. Everything in the universe is really nothing but that; planets, trees, people, animals, we are all just waves of vibration of this underlying, unified superstring field.”
- John Hagelin
Right now, we know one great example of things with intelligence and purpose and that's us, and our brains, and our own human intelligence. What else is like that? The answer, I had at first assumed, is that there are the systems of nature. They do what they do, but human intelligence is far beyond anything that exists naturally in the world. It's something that's the result of all of this elaborate process of evolution. It's a thing that stands apart from the rest of what exists in the universe. What I realized, as a result of a whole bunch of science that I did, was that is not the case... if we think about a brain—what is a brain doing? A brain is taking certain input, it's computing things, it's causing certain actions to happen; it's effectively generating a certain output. We can think about all sorts of systems as effectively doing computations, whether it's a brain, whether it's a cloud responding to the different thermal environment that it finds itself in. We can ask ourselves, are our brains doing vastly more sophisticated computations than happens in these fluids in the atmosphere? I had first assumed that the answer to that was, yes, we are carefully evolved, we're doing much more sophisticated stuff than any of these systems in nature. But it turns out that's not the case. It turns out that there's this very broad equivalence between the kinds of computations that different kinds of systems do... The thing that came out of lots of science stuff that I've done is this realization that intelligence and computation are the same thing. There's computation all over the universe, whether it's in a turbulent fluid producing some complicated pattern of flow, whether it's in the celestial mechanics of some interaction of an asteroid with this, that, and the other, or whether it's in brains... It's another part of the Copernican story, so to speak. We used to think Earth was the center of the universe. Now at least we think we're special because we have intelligence and nothing else does. I'm afraid the bad news is that that isn't a distinction. By the way, that lack of a distinction is pretty critical for thinking about the future of the human condition.
- Stephen Wolfram
“I am claiming that if you look for this ‘I,’ this feeling that you are calling ‘I’, this sense of being a thinker of thoughts and a subject inside your head - if you look closely enough, and this is where the disciplined techniques of introspection like meditation come in - you will find that that feeling is absent. That it actually disappears upon sufficient inquiry. And this is the experience of self-transcendence that is at the core of spirituality.”
Another claim I make in the book, which comes to this issue of self-transcendence is that: We know that the ego, the sense of being in an unchanging self, an unchanging thinker of thoughts and experiencer of experience, is an elaborate construct and ultimately an illusion. And we know neurologically it doesn’t make any sense. There is no place in the brain where your ego or your soul can be hiding. There is no one spot in the brain where all of the processing that creates our mental lives and our experience comes together.”
- Sam Harris
CULTURE, RELIGION, & SPIRITUALITY
"When you make the two one, and when you make the inner as the outer and the outer as the inner and above as the below ... then shall you enter [the Kingdom] ... I am the Light that is above them all, I am the All, the All came forth from Me and the All attained to Me. Cleave a [piece of] wood, I am there; lift up the stone and you will find Me there."
- Jesus, The Gospel According to Tomas
"I am in my Father and you in me and I in you"
- Jesus (John 14:18-20)
“The eyes through which I see God are the same eyes through which God sees me.”
- Meister Ekhart
“You are not in the universe, you are the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately, you are a focal point where the universe is becoming aware of itself.”
- Ekhart Tolle
"Imagine that you are a single electron flickering in and out of the quantum vacuum. As a single particle you feel like ‘me,’ and individual. But in reality you are an activity of the quantum field. And in your guise as a wave instead of a particle you exist everywhere. In our daily lives we are accustomed to feeling like individuals, while overlooking that at another level every person is an activity of the universe. What is true for an electron is true for structures like the human body that are constructed from electrons and other elementary particles."
- Deepak Chopra
“This seemingly solid, concrete, independent, self-instituting I under its own power that appears actually does not exist at all.”
- Dali Lama
“I am he as you are he as you are me, and we are all together.”
- The Beatles
““I” am just a collection of particles that is arranged into this pattern, then will decompose, and be available - all of its constituent parts - to nature, to reorganize into another pattern. To me that is so exciting, and it makes me even more grateful to be a part of that process.”
- Emily Levine
"What you do is what the whole universe is doing at the place you call "here and now". You are something that the whole universe is doing, in the same way that a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing. The real you is not a puppet which life pushes around. The real deep down you is the whole universe."
- Alan Watts
“Every one of us is an aperture through which the whole cosmos looks out... everyone of us is actually a pinhole through which the fundamental light - that is the existence itself - looks out.”
- Alan Watts
"You yourself are the eternal energy which appears as this universe. You didn't come into this world, you came out of it, like a wave from the ocean."
- Alan Watts
"To bring us closer, let’s use thought experiment #2. There is a device, called a Teledream. It works like a television, except you get to experience each character in the movie in first-person. It’s like a dream. You forget that you are the person lying in bed dreaming. You believe that you are the character in the dream. You have memories and friends who might only exist in your dream. When the movie ends, it replays but this time you experience another character in the movie. The movie keeps replaying until you experience every character in the movie, from the hero to the villain, without you realising during the movie that you are both the hero and the villain. When you are the hero, you don’t remember that you just played the villain, so you naturally believe that you are the hero, and the villain is not you (or have not been or will not be you). What if we are in such a movie right now, where we are all characters being experienced by the same person? Is it really that hard to believe?"
- Daniel Kolak
"I claim that the borders between us are more like borders between oceans than like the borders between pebbles or lakes and though we can for practical and social purposes use them to draw boundaries between us, the boundaries we draw—on a deeper level—do not really matter, in the sense that they do not track any deep metaphysical truths about the nature of persons. The boundaries we draw along the borders between us exist only in our maps of ourselves, not in ourselves as we are: personal identity is not border-bound."
“It may be that our individuality is not ontological; it is an illusion caused by extremely thin, extremely sharp pseudo-boundries between minds. In this Open Individualist view, there are no vertical walls between you and other conscious experiences… only very steep walls that give rise to the illusion of separation.
- Andres Emilsson
"When a man loves a woman, so that her life is present in his own, the you of her eyes allows him to gaze into a ray of the eternal you."
“A decision, the freest of my actions, just happens. Like hiccups inside me. Or like a bird singing outside of me. Such a way of seeing things is vividly described by a modern zen master, the late So Ke Anh Sasuke: ‘One day I wiped out all such notions from my mind. I gave up all desire. I discarded all the words with which I thought and stayed in quietude. I felt a little queer, as if I were being carried into something. Or as if I were touching some power unknown to me. And.. zzzittt - I entered. I lost the boundary of my physical boundary. I had my skin of course, but I felt I was standing in the center of the cosmos. I spoke, but my words had lost their meaning. I saw people coming towards me, but all were the same man. All were myself. I had never known this world. I believed that I was created, but now I must change my opinion. I was never created. I was the cosmos. No individual Mr. Sasaki existed. It would seem then that to get rid of the subjective distinction between me and my experience - through seeing that my idea of myself is not myself - is to discover the actual relationship between myself and the outside world.”
- Alan Watts
"God also likes to play hide-and-seek, but because there is nothing outside God, he has no one but himself to play with. But he gets over this difficulty by pretending that he is not himself. This is his way of hiding from himself. He pretends that he is you and I and all the people in the world, all the animals, all the plants, all the rocks, and all the stars.
- Alan Watts
"God is the Self of the world, but you can't see God for the same reason that, without a mirror, you can't see your own eyes. -Alan Watts
“We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’ Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.
“The root of the matter is the way in which we feel and conceive ourselves as human beings, our sensation of being alive, of individual existence and identity. We suffer from a hallucination, from a false and distorted sensation of our own existence as living organisms. Most of us have the sensation that "I myself" is a separate center of feeling and action, living inside and bounded by the physical body—a center which "confronts" an "external" world of people and things, making contact through the senses with a universe both alien and strange. Everyday figures of speech reflect this illusion. "I came into this world." "You must face reality." "The conquest of nature."“This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated "egos" inside bags of skin. The first result of this illusion is that our attitude to the world "outside" us is largely hostile.We do not need a new religion or a new bible. We need a new experience—a new feeling of what it is to be "I." The lowdown (which is, of course, the secret and profound view) on life is that our normal sensation of self is a hoax or, at best, a temporary role that we are playing, or have been conned into playing—with our own tacit consent, just as every hypnotized person is basically willing to be hypnotized. The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego.At this level of existence "I" am immeasurably old; my forms are infinite and their comings and goings are simply the pulses or vibrations of a single and eternal flow of energy. The difficulty in realizing this to be so is that conceptual thinking cannot grasp it. It is as if the eyes were trying to look at themselves directly.
- Alan Watts
“It's like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, it's dense, isn't it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourselves as being only that. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated little curlique, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space, and way out in time. Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you're a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off, and don't feel that we're still the big bang. But you are. Depends how you define yourself. You are actually--if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning-- you're not something that's a result of the big bang. You're not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as--Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so--I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I'm that, too. But we've learned to define ourselves as separate from it. ”
- Alan Watts
RUMI - 'WE ARE THREE'
"I died from minerality and became vegetable;
And From vegetativeness I died and became animal.
I died from animality and became man.
Then why fear disappearance through death?
Next time I shall dieBringing forth wings and feathers like angels;
After that, soaring higher than angels - What you cannot imagine, I shall be that."
THICH NHAT HANH - 'CALL ME BY MY TRUE NAMES'
“Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow— even today I am still arriving. Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch, to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone. I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope. The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive. I am a mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river. And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly. I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond. And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog. I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks. And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda. I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate. And I am also the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving. I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands. And I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people dying slowly in a forced-labor camp. My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans. Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one. Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open, the door of compassion.”