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by Alex Paterson
The US psychiatrist, Stanislav Grof, aptly describes 'reality' as we perceive it as a 'game', because in essence we and the whole Universe (and that includes all experiential realms, not just the physical universe) are nothing more than a figment of the Creative Principle's imagination. 1 Even our very nature of being separate 'sparks of life' with a 'separate' consciousness and free will is in essence just a grand illusion, for in actual fact we are God and as such there is no real separation between us and God.
Some will find this statement very disturbing, if not heretical, but those who have experienced some form of holotropic state 2 will understand immediately the veracity of the statement associated with their experience of being at ONE with the Universe (Oneness) in that state.
The 'Game' itself is of such a profound nature as to be infinite and beyond time, a concept almost certainly beyond the comprehension of most people. Most humans incarnating on Earth at this point in time are locked into the perception of separateness associated with this realm of existence and as such simply cannot grasp the concept that an aspect of themselves (their ego) is under the grand illusion that they are separate from everything else in the Universe when in actual fact they ARE the Universe and that there is no real separation. From the perception of this physical reality, which is based on the illusion of separateness (I'm me and you're you and never the twain shall meet) and duality (existence versus non-existence, hot versus cold, here versus there, good versus evil, agony versus ecstasy etc) and linear time (yesterday-today-tomorrow) just BEING the Whole in which time, space and separation are meaningless, seems incomprehensible. The paradox 3 of it all simply cannot be understood until one experiences the essential 'ONENESS' of all reality associated with some form of spiritual experience or holotropic state.
None of this is a mistake of course, for clearly there is a purpose to it all. And the purpose is that we are born into this realm 'forgetting' whom we really are for the simple reason the 'Universal Consciousness' wishes to experience the illusion of separateness and all the events associated with that illusory state. Like a good movie, we all play our part in the drama by suspending belief into the true nature of our being. Shakespeare summed it up succinctly in his play 'As You like It':
"All the world's a stage,
Mystics throughout history have speculated often as to the reason GOD chose to leave a state of perfect, timeless, un-manfest BEING and create a Universe made up of phenomenal or experiential realms based on duality, with it's attendant state of imperfection. Some mystics suggest that GOD was simply bored with a state of timeless perfection and wished to experience itself. 5
Be that as it may, the concept of 'Creation' as expressed by most religions is not in conflict with the observations of contemporary science pertaining to evolution 6 and the observed laws of science; for the laws of science are simply some of the observed 'rules' pertaining to the 'game'. And clearly if there is to be a 'game' based on a duality of opposites there must be some rules to define those opposites.
NOTE: The fact that the Physical Universe and other realms are based on a duality of opposites does not negate the possibility, if not probability, of there being other realms of existence not based on duality. Ultimately, all realms of existence are just a form of illusion or Maya associated with the MIND of the Creative Principle and as such have no 'real' substance outside themselves. In the final analysis, the only 'thing' that is 'real' is the Creative Principle ITSELF.
As postulated earlier, the Creative Spirit's creation of the phenomenal realms (associated with a multi-dimensional experiential Universe) is based on the existence of polarities or opposites with its attendant illusion of separation and incompleteness. In essence 'EVIL' is simply a loss of insight (ignorance) into one's true nature, that being a state of perfect 'Wholeness' or 'Oneness'. From this perspective it is clear that 'Evil' is fundamental to the 'GAME' in the physical universe, for without the illusion of separation or ignorance about one's true identity (that being God) there can be no 'game' as we know it. When we think about it, all the polarities we encounter in the 'game' contain a subjective element of either 'good' or 'evil' associated with their so-called positive and negative aspects. (yin and yang) The negative aspects of creation which we perceive as 'evil' are often referred to as the 'Shadow'.
The perception of 'evil' is very subjective and context is everything. Death is a good example of this. Most people perceive 'death' as one of the worst evils they could experience in their lives (whether it be their own death or that of loved ones) yet if the Near Death Experiences (NDE) experienced by so many are anywhere near the 'truth', then the most beautiful experience a human being is ever going to experience in this life is his or her own death. The irony of the perceived worst being the best highlights the cosmic humour which seems to underlie the 'Game' associated with the Creation of the physical universe.
Stanislav Grof elaborates on this insight into evil very well on p117 of his book 'The Cosmic Game'.
"The experience of timeless connection with the 'Universal Consciousness' associated with the 'Void' provides us with a view of the cosmic play in its entirety and we encounter all the positive aspects of creation which is essential radiant and ecstatic and infinite." 7
This state is best described by the composite Sanskrit word 'Sacchidananda' (pronounced Sat-chit-ananda) which means: 'sat' (infinite existence), 'chit' (awareness) and ananda (bliss). Thus in a holotropic state we experience an infinite, dimensionless existence in which we are blissfully aware of the infinite potential of the nothingness associated with just 'Being'.
(it's a mouthful I know, but just read it again and let it sit with you for a moment) 8
This state of Sacchidananda or Existence-Awareness-Bliss has its counterpart or 'Shadow' which is what we perceive as 'evil' on this plane of existence. The characteristics of this state, which is the opposite 'Sacchidananda', is described below: (Grof p 118)
1. The first aspect of Sacchidananda is 'sat' which means infinite existence.
Its opposite is associated with our illusory perception of "limited
existence, termination of existence (death) or even non-existence".
(Grof p118) The consciousness associated with our physical 'lives' on
earth is associated overwhelmingly with a perception of a 'finite' physical
universe in which everything in it, including the physical Universe itself,
has a finite temporal existence.
3. The third aspect of Sacchidananda is 'ananda' which means unlimited bliss. The corresponding category of evil associated with the opposite of unlimited bliss involves an entire range of painful emotions such as anxiety, shame, depression and guilt and unpleasant physical sensations of pain; some of which we all meet on a daily basis.
As mentioned earlier, these 'shadow' aspects of Sacchidananda are fundamental to the Universe as we perceive it and as such 'Evil' is fundamental to this game, for without it there can be no 'Game' as we know it. (a Game based on the duality of opposites) In a sense the Physical Universe can be likened to a gigantic aircraft simulator of cosmic proportions and just like a simulator session we are all here to experience and deal with the circumstances we have undoubtedly 'earned' and created. Our task is not to resile from evil or pretend it does not exist, but rather to recognise its source; that being our ignorance as to who we really are (i.e. God) associated with our planned 'loss' of memory (e.g. the biblical 'Fall') and with that in mind attempt to invoke the opposite of it in our lives and eventually regain our awareness. (the biblical return to 'Heaven')
Mephistopheles sums up evil very well when he introduces himself to Faust in Goethe's play by saying
"I am the spirit that negates".