Yoga’s experiments are made in consciousness
The view of the universe as energy, this is now the view that’s held by many physicists. It’s not for somebody who isn’t a scientist to try to make little rays into the realm of science and physics, and come back, so to speak, with a sort of trophy. Yoga doesn’t depend on any scientific, in the western sense, scientific experiments; it has its own experiments. And its own experiments are made in consciousness. We can know something of the experiments of science, only to show that they don’t rule out completely the results of Yoga experiments, as is held by those people who are still thinking in terms of 1890.
Now, it used to be thought in 1890 that I look at something, and then the light rays come in onto the retina, transmitted to the brain, form a representation, and then I act on that. But it’s now known that in vision there’s an interpretation going on all the time. It’s not a passive reception. There is an interpretation. This is not always known. For instance, if we look at a room lit by light of a particular colour – say yellow – when we look at the shadows, they will be blue. The eye is balancing, and providing blue, the colour blue, to balance the prevailing yellow. Now, Goethe knew this, but Einstein didn’t know it.
Here’s an extract from Einstein’s book, ‘The Evolution of Physics’; 1936: ‘Let us imagine that suddenly, a very strange thing happens. Our sun begins to emit only homogeneous light of some definite colour. Say, yellow. The great variety of colours on the Earth would immediately vanish. Everything would be either yellow or black. The validity of this prediction can be confirmed by experiment in a room where the only source of light is incandescent sodium. Everything is either yellow or black.’
Well, of course, this was a book written by Einstein for the general public. But he evidently hadn’t done that experiment himself, or he would have seen that the shadows are blue. Not everything is either yellow or black. Yellow, and the shadows are blue. Goethe knew this. He knew the colours are balanced. We see a brilliant yellow surrounded by red. We see the same yellow surrounded by black, the yellow will look different. All the time, our senses are interpreting the environment; it’s not passive. We could say, “Oh well, yes, we may interpret some small things. You get a bullet through the heart; no interpretation there.” No, but there is a control exerted over the environment.
Now, in the same way, we can see, for instance, if we go outside and we look at the traffic, the cars drive on the left. Now, one can say, “Well, there’s a natural law; cars drive on the left. No need to invoke some intelligence, cars drive on the left.” And generally it’s so. But then occasionally, some drunken driver is driving on the right. Or if it’s a Frenchman who hasn’t got used to it, he’s driving on the right. And then we see from what happens that the driving on the left is not a natural law, but it’s a control. It’s established by control. While in general that control is everywhere seen, and seems to be absolute, it’s not necessarily so.
Matter is controlled by energy, and when he meditates, he’ll begin to see in himself that there is energy. Medical science treats chemical changes, neurological changes. But in the Yogic science, there is something deeper. There is energy. Pranic energy, which animates the body. Like electricity can animate a marionette. And by Yoga practice, the adhesions which prevent the free flow of the prana can be dissolved, and the body can become much more efficient.
If he goes into meditation, he’ll begin to find in himself, and in the universe, that there’s something deeper than particles pushing each other. There’s an underlying energy. We’re now coming to the view of empty space as full of potential. It’s seething with energy; particles creating and annihilating each other. I’m going to read this again; these scientific things prove nothing Yogic. They only remove obstacles to our considering Yoga truth. The key to the interpretation of the stability of atoms – that’s why the electron doesn’t fall into the nucleus – is the idea that each cubic centimetre of space contains an enormous amount of untapped energy, called zero-point energy – well, we needn’t go on into it. But the estimate, the semi-humorous estimate is that in a vacuum in a lightbulb, there is enough of this zero-point energy, if it could be harnessed, to boil all the oceans in the world, or explode the world.
Now, this is a Yoga truth; that empty space – the word for space in Sanskrit is ‘akasha’, which means shining brilliantly – is radiating energy. This was his second realisation. Now, all this is still, when we read about it and hear about it, only theory, and just as any scientific experiment, this has to be confirmed in a laboratory of practice. These Yoga experiences and truths have to be confirmed, otherwise they’re beautiful dreams. But nevertheless, they are put forward in the Upanishad.
Then he reached this point of seeing and experiencing the universe as energy and he approached again the teacher and the teacher said, “Perform tapas. Perform samadhi practice. Perform meditation. Go deeper than energy.” Then he begins to find mind. Below the energy, there is mind. We think, “Oh, what mind can you see in that, hey? Pick it up, it drops.” Now, you don’t need a mind there; that could happen by chance. Or it’s a natural law. What decides the natural law? “Well, it just is.” But Yoga goes deeper than that. And we’re now, in our studies of physics, writing very big books on the cosmological anthropic principle. That the constants of the universe are uniquely benevolent to provide experience of life. The materialists will say, “Well, it could happen by chance.” But there are so many of the coincidences that the perfect, absolute sceptics like Crick still say, “Well, it’s absolutely impossible to conceive that it could happen by chance.”
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 1 : Progressive Meditation The 5 Sheaths
Part 3 : Yogic meditation is to go deeper
Part 5 : The universe is bliss and light