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The Zen of Quantum Physics

Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated with two topics, Zen, and quantum physics. Along the way, there have been many things that have caught my fancy, from writers, filmmakers, philosophers, and psychologists. But I always come back to Zen and physics, especially quantum physics.

I don’t pretend that this essay is original, many have written on the topic with much more authority than me. Even though I have no scientific background, I will try and delve a little more deeply than books like The Secret with the topical quotes from ‘international coaches and speakers’ like (I am paraphrasing) “new discoveries in quantum physics prove that our thoughts create our realities” or from Ig Nobel prize winner Deepak Chopra for this brilliant piece of writing, which I found on Wikipedia,

“Quantum healing is healing the body-mind from a quantum level. That means from a level which is not manifest at a sensory level. Our bodies ultimately are fields of information, intelligence, and energy. Quantum healing involves a shift in the fields of energy information, so as to bring about a correction in an idea that has gone wrong. So quantum healing involves healing one mode of consciousness, mind, to bring about changes in another mode of consciousness, body.”

I think he was really burning the midnight oil, (and maybe some other substances) when he wrote that one. It is extremely easy to fall into ridiculous clichés when discussing these topics, but by doing so they lose all their mystery. Somehow, the subatomic world of quarks, photons, and electrons is as wonderful as the Big Bang and Black Holes, Haikus and the Bodhidharma.

While classical physics and even Relativity are understandable, if vaguely sometimes, the quantum mysteries are still mysteries for even the physicists themselves, and that I find very appealing. The key mystery for each human being is the origin and destiny of their own essence and what is our essence other than our consciousness? Consciousness, personal and impersonal, is the key to Zen. To become enlightened is to leave your personal consciousness and enter the universal consciousness. You realize you are not a pinky, but part of an entire body. Easy to conceptualize but very, very difficult to feel completely.

In quantum theory, subatomic particles exist in probability waves and are only defined when “something conscious” observes them. Otherwise, they are everywhere and nowhere. This may be a simplification, but it captures the essence of the enigma. The famous phrase from Einstein about God not rolling the dice comes from this mystery. Einstein wanted a deterministic universe, but unfortunately, he didn’t get it. Schrodinger summed it up in his famous thought experiment about whether the cat is dead or alive. The thought experiment helps us to focus on the mystery of state. What state is the cat in before someone observes? It’s not clear.

Schrödinger, one of the founders of quantum theory, wrote:

“One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter, there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small that perhaps in the course of the hour, one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges, and through a relay releases a hammer that shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts.

It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a “blurred model” for representing reality. In itself, it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks”

Image Wikipedia

Basically, the cat is neither alive nor dead till someone observes it. I love the last sentence. It captures the essence of quantum theory. The theory is clear, but the laws are ‘murky’ as Schrodinger puts it.

Applied quantum theory works wonderfully; it has enabled much technological advancement from microchips to lasers. There is no debate about whether it works or not. It is real. Most scientists spend their time on the practical applications and leave the “spooky” part to others. What has fascinated me is the idea that our consciousness plays an active role in creating reality. No one imagines the world will end when they die. It clearly continues once our consciousness disappears in death (I will assume here it does).

As a young history student, I was always fascinated by Calvin’s concept of pre-destination. I found it disturbing that we had no choice in the final outcome. God was all knowing, hence he knew before he created us whether we would be saved or not. In a sense, Einstein was a Calvinist, and the Niels Bohr, the principal figure in quantum theory, was a Catholic. The Catholic Church disputed the predestination theory, arguing the sacraments allowed a person to ‘choose’. A photon can be a particle, or it can be a wave. What converts it from wave to particle is some ways appears to be conscious observation.

The riddle of Zen is a different one. By ‘being’ the conscious observer, we ‘lose our consciousness’. The greatest obstacle to enlightenment is the ego. Zen also has its own thought experiments, Koans in the Rinzai tradition. A Koan is something that one meditates on, with the hope that at some point, the conscious egoic mind tires and breaks down and the truth hits you, but not through the thinking mind. The most famous Koan and the first one given to many students is Mu.

“A monk asked Zhaozhou, a Chinese Zen master (known as J?sh? in Japanese): “Has a dog Buddha-nature or not?”, Zhaozhou answered: “Wú” (in Japanese, Mu).”

Students will spend weeks, months, even years looking for “Mu”. But they will never find it with logic, they must transcend the logic.

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One of the great axioms of Buddhism is Form is Emptiness, and Emptiness is Form. Try to imagine a circle drawn perfectly on a white piece of paper, in black ink. What is inside the black line is the form, the black line is the emptiness. Not easy? Does it remind you of the cat being alive and dead? To feel alive and enlightened I must fully realize that I don’t exist. Niels Bohr said, “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.”

Einstein said, “I can’t accept quantum mechanics because it involves spooky actions at a distance.” For example, two electrons from the same hydrogen atom fly out into space in different directions and they are millions of light years apart. Each has a ‘spin’, up or down let’s say. One must be up, and the other down, but we don’t know which is which until we measure. And once we measure one, the other one “somehow knows”. Einstein’s spooky action. Communication faster than the speed of light, or maybe some sort of movement back in time as some have suggested.

I wish I could offer the great unifying theory of Zen and Quantum Physics, but that would be like finally sleeping with my great unrequited love, and at this point, I prefer to maintain the mystery and keep her at a “spooky distance.”


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About the Author:

Robert Bonomo is a 42-year-old novelist and internet marketer. He has lived and worked in Madrid, New York, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Valencia, Miami, and Kamchatka among a few other not so remarkable places. He has worked as a land surveyor, car salesman, spice salesman, transportation salesman, English teacher with a few other not mentionalbe gigs in between.

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Into the Future

This is a wonderful segment about time travel from Stephen Hawking’s Into the Universe DVD, which I watched last night. Hawking seems to believe that time travel is possible, but only into the future.

However, I’m wondering if a subtler type of time travel could be possible. Not time travel involving the body but rather, the soul and, by implication, consciousness.

Many religious believers report the experience of feeling heavenly graces. And this feeling differs from say, a runner’s endorphin rush or the physiological responses related to falling in love or eating chocolate (apparently they’re similar).

If the soul/consciousness can feel graces from heaven, then might not it sense other souls in other places and times? I think it quite possible that the soul could sense blissful souls in heaven, tormented souls in hell, along with souls living in the past and in the future. After all, the soul resides in the body but it also differs from the body. And when we die, the soul goes on and on and on. At least, this is what most religions teach.

I loved Hawking’s video and inspiring example but he always seems to fall a bit short when discussing – or should I say ignoring – the spiritual side of life. I imagine it’s because he’s a brainy physicist, hardwired and habituated into thinking long and hard about problems in a primarily conceptual way. He’s no mystic. At least, I don’t think so. If he is, he sure doesn’t seem like one!

You can read more about Hawking’s views here:



The Quantum Physics of Remote Viewing

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d...

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d’Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Gerald O’Donnell. Reprinted with permission.

Eighteenth and nineteenth century physical science had completed and embellished the “golden age of a mechanistic and deterministic models of the universe” where the universe and its constituents are ruled by rigid interactive forces that can be measured, phenomena that can be predicted using mathematical tools, and where the universe or any system operating within it is made of the sum of its parts.

Light was thought to be an electromagnetic wave vibrating in an undetected, and later experimentally disproved media: “the ether”, at certain rates of vibration that would define its color. It was part of the electromagnetic wave spectrum that allowed one to perceive an electromagnetic wave as heat, light, radio waves or other electromagnetic radiations depending on the frequency of its vibrations. This spectrum had been well-defined by the equations of the English physicist James Clerk Maxwell in 1864.

Man’s biology was reduced to a mechanical system albeit of extreme complexity, and thought was perceived to be but an epiphenomenon of the mechanical brain.

All this was very hygienic, logical, and comforting. It allowed to view the so-called invisible world of spiritual forces or entities as a personal unproven hypothesis, and permitted the justification of atheistic concept to be scientifically sound. Basically it allowed for purely atheistic politico-philosophies alike communism to find a sympathetic resonance within the “intelligentsia” and the masses.

It also gave a great mechanistic impetus and approach to the fields of biology, microbiology, psychology, neurobiology, and the allopathic technical mechanistic approach to the health sciences. Technology was “king” and the understanding of interactions between well-defined separated systems would bring the possible conquest of disturbances and imperfections in the “machinery” of biological entities.

A New Religion Called Science

Man having created a new religion called “science”, which revered himself and his intellect, had the perception of having attained a Godlike control over nature.

By the end of 19th century the ultraviolet catastrophe – as it came to be known – put this whole hygienic view of the world in question, and the theory of “quanta” of Max Planck was introduced in 1900.

The German physicist Max Planck introduced the notion of packets of energy that he called “quanta” in order to explain why the wavelength (color) of the radiation given off by heated objects did not rise in a continuous manner but in discontinuous spurts from value to value as they grew hotter.

Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who was to become later one of the fathers of the “Manhattan Project” that developed the first US A-bomb during WWII, used in 1913 the theory of “quanta” of energy in order to prove that the whole world of atoms was full of “quantum” jumps. An electron could jump from one level of energy (so-called orbit) to another without appearing in-between these states. Discontinuity had been introduced in our equation of the universe!

In 1905 Albert Einstein defined light as made of quanta of energy or particles that he coined “photons” in his famous paper explaining the photoelectric effect for which he received a Nobel prize in 1923. He nevertheless acknowledged that light could also be defined as a wave, depending on the mode of observation used in a chosen experiment, and the particle/wave duality was introduced in our attempts to grasp the mysteries of nature.

Welcome To A Strange New World

The new physics of the beginnings of the twentieth century gave a mortal blow to the deterministic principles of the old school of thought. Time and space became relative notions according to the theory of relativity of Albert Einstein. Quantum physics stated that all particles of matter could be viewed either as material bodies or as waves. It allowed for one electron (or any other particle) to be in two locations at once (double slit experiment), and proved that one could not predict the next location of a particle by knowing its present one.

In the strange world of quantum physics, particles dematerialized themselves into waves (such as in transistors) and rematerialized themselves later into particles. This depended on the type of experiment they were subjected to, and most importantly: the choice made by a conscious observer as to how he or she would view these particles.

To most theorists, the phenomena of nature existed only as determined states as a conscious observer witnessed them, either directly, or through the artifacts of a measuring device. Quantum mechanics was born, and with it our view of reality would be forever changed.

In order to comprehend events in the phenomenal world, one needed to introduce a major variable that had until then been ignored: The consciousness (self reflective thought) of the observer. Without the perception of a material world by a conscious entity, there were great doubts as to the existence of that material reality independently of its observation.

Free Will Operates Outside The Confines Of Time & Space

In other words we make a potential reality manifest itself by our choices, even retroactively through time and immediately across the perceived infinite space, as the two experiments mentioned hereafter have proven, to the surprise of most physicists.

Or, in other words, volition and free will operate outside the confines of time/space, and our impression of making choices is but a delayed awareness of events that higher levels of our minds have already made for us and therefore project to our awareness (ego) as a holographic packet of sensory information, post facto.

We are therefore, at a higher level, the maker (subject) of our reality projected to one’s self (object) within the web of probabilities of the quantum world that we “materialize” for both the subject and the object that are but two mirrors of one same reality: Consciousness, defined as self -reflective awareness.

Very advanced “remote viewers” know at which points volition is part of the higher levels of one’s self and at which points it is made available to the lower (conscious level), as the quantum self or higher self merges with the lower self (ego).

Our courses attempts to allow the conscious part (reactive sensory apparatus operating as intellect) and the much higher vibratory mind (deep subconscious level) to merge with each other in awareness in order to allow a human individual to be more in control of one’s reality and probable future. At the level of the higher mind time/space is instantly bridged. “Remote Viewing” and especially “Remote Influencing” allows one to connect to that level.

The World Is Non-Local

In 1982 at the Institute of Applied Physics and Theoretical Optics at the University of Paris, France, the team of physicists composed of Alain Aspect, Jean Dalibard and Gerard Roger made what may prove to be the greatest scientific discovery of this century. They proved experimentally that the world is non-local or non-separable. This is equivalent to saying that space, as we perceive it to be, does not exist, but is an illusion of our senses. Projected by whom? This is the big question that science tries to answer.

In the same field of quantum theory, time is not only relative but one can experimentally change the past, as the delayed choice experiment, carried out by scientists in the 80’s at the University of Maryland and the University of Munich has proven.

Although this all seems to belong to the realm of science-fiction, it is a reality, albeit hard to accept, for all the minds that dwell in the world of the quanta: a world full of seemingly contradictions, surprises, and a certain sense of humor.

All modern disciplines are nowadays affected by it, short maybe of modern biology, neurobiology and surprisingly psychology that are still embracing a mechanistic view of thought and have not, as yet, been able to define it.

Quantum physics gave us the invention of the atomic bomb, the transistor, the computer chip, laser and devices using laser light as a conduct for information, Josephson junctions in supercomputers, superconductors etc.

You should never doubt your natural-born ability to operate at such a high vibratory level of thought. This ability has been proven since antiquity, and is still utilized successfully by highly secretive intelligence units belonging to the major world powers.

This is one case where a dose of skepticism in the field of thought orientation and exploration is unhealthy, and the fear of ridicule even more so. You have to become open-minded, as a child is. All major shifts in scientific thought have incurred the ire of the static-minded old Praetorian Guard of proven inadequate sclerotic systems that are beginning to hit too many walls loaded with points of singularity.

The methods taught in our courses are probably part of the dawn of a new paradigm shift in scientific thinking that will revolutionize and change the “old classical scientific concepts” of the late 19th century that still rule for most of us our interpretation of our perceived material reality. This will have major implications in the natural and health sciences, the biological perceptions and their assumed correlations, all other phenomenal science, and the understanding of what the mind is.

The Process of Constantly Creating Our Reality

If we are in the process of constantly creating our reality by thinking about it in an individualized and global manner, and that science reflects but a snapshot of our attempt at understanding our Creation, a major shift in our thought- perception will induce totally different ways at experiencing the phenomenal world and controlling it to our desires.

All aspects of our lives in this new Millennium will, most likely, be profoundly transformed by it.

The introduction of consciousness as a major factor in the equation of reality by modern quantum physics is at the core of one of the major paradox of so-called psychic research. According to quantum physics, the thought of the observer has an influence upon the result of an experiment. Therefore, if we are co-creator of our reality by mere thought, the natural imbued skepticism of many scientists and their methodologies introduce a negative bias in the results that they would obtain in thought experiment such as “remote viewing” etc.

In other words, in order to achieve 100% success at proving the efficacy of “remote viewing or influencing ” one would need to deal with scientists and tests subjects that are of the firm belief of the easy achievement of such mental feats, which would automatically be called a bias experimental protocol by the skeptical scientific community. That is why the best results at remote viewing were always achieved within intelligence and military secret units that pragmatically only cared about bridging time and space effectively using mental technologies, and were not the least concerned about peer recognition and the fear of being ridiculed.

Mr. Gerald O’Donnell holds a B.Sc. in Mathematics, a M.Sc. in computer Science, and an MBA. He is a certified Hypnotherapist. He was, amongst other activities in various fields, once considered one of the world’s 7 best top technical commodities experts (independent advisor: C.T.A.) by Paine Webber and Bache Co. The original Complete Remote Viewing and Remote Influencing system, created by Mr. Gerald O’Donnell, was the first to reveal the link between the deep Theta (4.5HZ) brainwave state of mind and the ability to access the Universal Mind (Delta state).

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