Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Quotes on Awareness and the nature of Reality

On this page you will find a number of quotes and insights which have been communicated by various interesting or even remarkable people, throughout the ages. Some of them are scientists who support the world-view in which matter is the fundamental substance in nature and “subject” and “object” are seen as separate. They are communicating however that there may be something 'beyond' this duality based point-of-view.

The other people listed here could be called mystics, teachers or sages. They are pointing to what one may call the non-dual nature of reality or the “Wholeness” of all that is, which has nothing to do with any (human) beliefs, dogmas or theories. We mention these people below because of their remarkable communications, but not because we want to endorse any organization or beliefsystems which have been created around them.

(The quotes below are not listed in any particular order)

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”

(Albert Einstein, 1930)

Einstein was one of the most brilliant scientists ever. Besides having amazing rational skills, he never lost touch with the deeper (mysterious) aspects of existence. He regarded human intelligence to be utterly inadequate when confronted with what exists. (his words) Einstein realized that human “logic and thinking” has limitations.  He for instance said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” and “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one!”

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

“With our thoughts, we make the world.”

(Gautama Buddha, 500 BCE)

This statement points to a deep insight that our mind (or attention) often dwells in the past, or future, whereas our only and real Existence is right here where we are, in the now! With the second statement he points out that what we think (our belief system) defines us and through that we create the world, as it is. Said differently: we constantly create the perception of the world, in our consciousness.

“We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”

“Light and matter are both single entities, and the apparent duality arises in the limitations of our language.”

(Werner Heisenberg, 1901-1976)

Werner Heisenberg was a brilliant theoretical physicist, and one of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics. His statements refer to this Awareness, that we observe reality through the limits of our own experiments and mind set. This implies that observation of “objects” always has some (hidden) “subjective” quality. He also points out that language can create duality, whereas in Reality there may exist Unity only. These are profound insights, coming from years of deep thought about the nature of physical reality.

“Love your neighbor as yourself”

“The kingdom of God is within you”

(Jesus of Nazareth, some 20 centuries ago)

This describes an Awareness that our “neighbour” is in Reality not different from us. It suggests that in fact you are (just like) the other and the other is (just like) you. When He speaks about the kingdom of Heaven being “within us”, He points out it is not an “object” or “place” that is outside of us. Jesus also said: “I and the Father are one”, which describes His experience of Unity in terms and words which were unacceptable to most of his followers at that time. In religion, the duality based dogma states that “God” (or the greater Reality) is something outside of us and you are basically separate from it.

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. {…}

Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

(Max Planck (1858-1947)

Max Planck was a Nobel Prize-winning German physicist and the father of quantum theory. His work in the field of theoretical physics led the way to many advances throughout the 20th century. He also said: “I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness.” To him, consciousness is a fundamental of the universe, like electrical charge, length, mass, time etc. That would mean it can not be explained by or be generated by something else. Fundamentals exist since the very beginning of the universe.

“Once the Whole is divided, the parts need names.”

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”

(Lao Tzu, 5th century BCE)

Lao Tze (Laozi) was an ancient Chinese philosopher and writer, also known as the founder of Taoism. There is remarkable wisdom to be found in these writings. He wrote extensively about the non-dual nature of reality in the Way of the Tao. One of his famous sayings we also want to mention: “The journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step”. The evolution of mankind is like that journey. It is up to you and me now, to take the next steps, however small they may seem.

“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.”

“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”

(Jiddu Krishnamurti, 1895-1986)

These statements points to the insight that our (chronic) thinking and judging mind tends to get in the way of greater Awareness and intelligence. This is contradicting the common idea, which is: the more we think, the more we know and the more intelligent we are. His focus was on psychological “revolution”, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, and human relationships.

“What we consider the here and now, this world, it is actually just the material level that is comprehensible.

The beyond is an infinite reality that is much bigger. Which this world is rooted in.”

(Hans-Peter Dürr (1929 – 2014)

He was a German physicist and executive Director of the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics in Munich, for many years. He described reality as being “potentiality” or “information” which implies a “fundamental immaterial connectedness” between everything.

“Consciousness Is Your Only Experience, it Is the Reality in Which you exist.”

“The ego is not an inner entity or subtle essence. Egoity is your own activity.”

(Adi Da, 1939-2008)

Adi Da communicates a simple but fundamental observation, which is that we only know Reality and the world through (or as) consciousness.

“Love is the bridge between you and everything.”

“Why am I seeking? I am the same as he. His essence speaks through me. I have been looking for myself”

(Jalaluddin Rumi, 1207-1273)

These quotes from this Muslim/Sufi mystic, refer to Love as the way to connect to the greater Reality, and the futility of seeking for Love or Happiness somewhere outside of “me”, in the future. It is remarkable how little people speak about love, whereas when people are in their death-bed, many mention it as the ONLY THING that really mattered to them! Rumis poems have been widely translated.

“The belief that there is only one truth and that oneself is in possession of it, seems to me the deepest root of all that is evil in the world”

(Max Born, 1882-1970)

Max Born was a German physicist and mathematician who was also involved in the development of quantum mechanics. From 1933 on he had to deal with the “truth” that the Nazi party was forcing upon the German people and had to leave the country. Max Born won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics. He also said “I am now convinced that theoretical physics is actually philosophy.”

“Compassion is the (true) radicalism of our time.”

(Dalai Lama, 1935)

With this statement, the Dalai Lama implies that destruction, division and violence are easy.  It is so easy to be a “terrorist” or an “extremist”! Everyone with even the least of education and intelligence can do that. Being destructive and negative is so easy. It is an infinitely greater gesture and contribution to the world, to be loving and compassionate. Try it and you will be amazed!

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”

“You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”

(Eckhart Tolle, 1948)

Eckhart Tolle reminds us of the beautiful simplicity that everything there IS and what we ARE, is existing right here in this moment! (we are just not very Aware of it, and seek for it elsewhere). What we are cannot truly be lost. Being intensly self-aware of Reality with complete loss of the assumption of a separate self (ego), is what some call “Enlightenment”.  At the age of 29, Tolle underwent what he calls an “inner transformation”.

“Love is the experience that others are not others. Beauty is the experience that objects are not objects.”

“Time is the eternal now, seen through the narrow slit of the mind.”

(Rupert Spira, 1960)

Rupert Spira speaks about the non-dualistic quality of Reality and being Aware of It, as It. As that Awareness we see through the illusion that there are separate objects, observed by a separate self. His words: the Discovery that peace, happiness and love are ever-present within our own Being and completely available at every moment of experience, is the most important discovery that anyone can make.

“In order to more fully understand this reality, we must take into account other dimensions of a broader reality.”

(John Archibald Wheeler, 1911-2008)

Wheeler was a well known American theoretical physicist. He coined the term “black hole”, worked in the fields of general relativity and quantum mechanics. Many quantum information scientists regard him to be one of the “grandfathers” of their field. His role was also to inspire others by asking deep questions and, through his questions, to stimulate their research and discovery.

“There is neither past nor future (in consciousness); there is only the present.”

“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.”

(Ramana Maharshi, 1879-1950)

Ramana Maharshi speaks about (and from) the Awareness that only the present exists, and that the greatest “thing” you can do, is to be so Aware that it leads to Self-Realization. Of course he did also mention that this dissolves the notion of any self. His words: “The question Who Am I? is not really meant to get an answer, the question is meant to dissolve the questioner”. At the age of 16 he had a “death-experience” in which he became aware of true (Self) Awareness.

“All experiences come and go. What witnesses experiencing itself?”

“No one has to keep awareness going,
It is the only place in you that is effortless.”

(Mooji, 1954)

Mooji asks us: what are YOU at the deepest level? He points out we are not the mind, not the thoughts, sensations or feelings. We are Awareness only, and we can be Aware of these, just as we can be aware of everything else.

“You are the pure awareness that illuminates consciousness and its infinite content. Realize this and live accordingly. If you do not believe me, then go within, enquiring ‘What am I’? or, focus your mind on ‘I am’, which is pure and simple being.”

(Nisargadatta, 1897-1981)

This quote from “I AM THAT”, points to the nature of human beings being consciousness rather than a separate person or observer “object” standing apart and outside of what happens. He was an Indian Teacher of non-duality with world-wide recognition. The document this quote is from can be found here.