“… the primal cause is ‘here and now’ wherever and whenever you are! …” ~ Hans Meijer
We are again honored to share Hans Meijer’s next guest post series … In Part 1, Hans delves into Self Awareness by exploring what he terms as the primal cause.
See more about Hans at the bottom of the post including his earlier guest posts.
This series is authored by (& copyright of) Hans Meijer … and is published here with his permission.
In my opinion we are dealing with a humanitarian crisis, the cause of which is the loss of existential wisdom. Please accept my attempt to bring some “enlightenment” into this.
Self-awareness leads to the search for cause and meaning of existence
What makes us a human, is our ability to be aware of ourselves and our environment. This means by definition that each of us has an existential question to answer. Apparently few people are really concerned with this question, although, we all – consciously or unconsciously – “live” our own response to this eternal question (the way you live your life).
In earlier times, however, when death and calamity were more part of life, people were more concerned with existential life questions than today.
Religions and cultures arose in different times and places, each expressing collectively accepted answers to the “how and why” of existence. What all these different answers have in common is that always a “creator” was assumed and that living in harmony with this creator was regarded as meaningful.
It always were the “sages and seers” who testified of the presence of a creative principle and usually a specific culture emerged from this, in which the norms and values of that culture were established. The question of whether or not there is a creator who makes life possible was in general not an object of discussion.
In our “modern times”, however, more and more people reject religion and the idea of a creator that precedes existence. Trust in religion has evidently declined. War, violence and poverty go on and nobody sees “intervention from above”. Thus the conscious search for cause and meaning of existence has disappeared for most people.
The psychological consequences of living without reflection on “how and why” are of unimaginable significance. In my opinion, the cause of all human misery can ultimately be traced back to the loss of insight into the meaning of existence.
Everything that is has a cause
The disappearance of a way of life aiming at adapting to a primal cause is also caused by some fundamentally wrong points of view in the doctrines of some of the great world religions. In fact, the suggestion is made that one should believe in a primal cause, instead of emphasizing that one must realize the primal cause.
If this believing then disappears through all misery, man loses the possibility of contact with the source of his existence. In general what follows is a denial of a primal cause. However, everything that is must have a cause. It is impossible to identify a form of life or matter that has no cause.
We have to reason back to find the cause of something. Back and back and even further back. Theoretically, we should ultimately come out at the primal cause of existence. However, every cause we can point to can not be the primal cause, because the question always remains: and then what has preceded that?
This leads us to the bizarre conclusion: existence must have a primal cause, but it is fundamentally impossible to define this cause.
The primal cause of life can not be scientifically proven
Scientists are always busy unraveling the secret of life. Reasoning back has come to the smallest elements of life, atoms, made up of protons, neutrons and electrons (within which quantum mechanics is looking for a still further refinement).
With this, science may have defined the primal elements with which the primal cause is building up life, but the primal cause itself has not been found, and will never be found. The position that everything started with a “Big-Bang” offers no solution, because what caused the Big Bang?
It is an interesting characteristic of our time that the primal element seems to be the question that matters instead of the primal cause.
It is amazing that scientists neither deny nor confirm that there is a primal cause. The origin of life is simply “nature”, whose complexity and incomprehensible genius apparently does not lead to the assumption of the existence of a primal cause (scientists probably dare not say they are religious, because scientists are not supposed to believe something they can not prove).
It would be completely against the logical thinking to deny a primal cause, however, defining it is scientifically impossible.
The primal cause must be timeless and omnipresent
Everything in life is constantly changing. To get a grip on this, the idea of “Time” was born. Time as such does NOT exist, it is only a method to measure the perpetual change. In my earlier post, Truth Will Set You Free: Time Does Not Exist, I explained this clearly.
If the primal cause was also subject to change, it could not be the primal cause, because then that cause would have to be preceded by a cause too. From this it follows that the primal cause must be unchanging and thus falls outside the idea of time.
So, it can not be that there was once a primal cause and now no more. No, the primal cause IS and can not be NOT.
The same applies to the question: where is the primal cause present, and where not? If it is only here and not there, it is a manifestation and therefore by definition not the primal cause.
So: it must be omnipresent which means that there can be no place where it is not.
Conclusion: the primal cause is ‘here and now’ wherever and whenever you are!
Wow, what a great and liberating insight, if we could be aware of this!
It is possible to become aware of the primal cause
Earlier in this article I said: It always were the “sages and seers” who testified of the presence of a creative principle…
Now that we have seen that science does not bring us further than the “technique” of the life-giving principle, it seems better to delve deeper into the knowledge of the sages of the past.
In every religion there are mystics who claim to have knowledge of “something” (usually personified) that precedes life.
Generally speaking, in the Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism) people are encouraged to realize said creative principle in their lives, while in the Semitic religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) people are supposed to surrender to the will of their creator, in order to possibly become united with Him after death.
This is why we find more “sages and seers” with the Dharmic religions than with the Semitic religions (where a saint is mostly a martyr, which does not mean that he is really a “sage”).
What then is the way in which the sages of the Dharmic religions want us to discover the liberating insight into the primal cause?
In fact, the whole Eastern spiritual tradition is an invitation to find a way to this insight into reality (the timeless and omnipresent primal cause) and our relationship with it.
Although I can not go into this ancient spiritual tradition extensively here, the essence where all different views ultimately lead to is this:
replace your thoughts by self-awareness
These simple words have always been floating like lotus flowers on a spiritual pond of human striving for enlightenment.
Through the two greatest teachers from the Dharmic tradition I will show (very concise of course) how the primal cause can be realized (experienced) in this way.
Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879 – 1950), a Hindu Saint, who taught that
examining one’s own “I” leads to self-awareness and that remaining consciousness of this self can develop into becoming aware of the Absolute (immanent as well as transcendent), which is then experienced as one’s own SELF.
This Absolute is the primal cause (‘here and now’ wherever and whenever you are!) that never and nowhere cannot be not.
The essence of The Buddha’s (estimated between the 6th and 3rd century BC) teaching is: by paying full attention to everything you do, you extinguish your thoughts and finally you experience the bliss (Ananda) of the omnipresent emptiness. This state of being is called Nirvana, which literally means “extinction” (of thoughts).
This omnipresent emptiness is a reference to the omnipresent primal cause (which the enlightened experiences as his/her essence).
It is impressive when you realize that the spiritual tradition of Hinduism (within which Buddhism arose) dates from many thousands of years ago and can be traced directly to the basic question of existence of God or The Divine. Its “eternal universal wisdom” (Sanatan Dharma) has yielded many beautiful sacred texts and of course many sages and seers.
It is of course not so that everyone who follows a spiritual tradition actually realizes the primal cause, by far not. But it is true that everyone who is seriously “on the road” becomes aware of the meaning of life more and more and gradually the feeling of the presence of “something transcendental” will grow.
Actually, spiritual life is an unpredictable path. Unexpected encounters can change your life forever. For me this went something like this (more than 50 years ago):
On a beautiful day in May we were walking in a beautiful forest. Fragrant flowers and singing birds. We came to a large, somewhat strange building under construction. I sat down on a concrete rectangle and focused on the blue sky above me. Suddenly there was an old man with a walking stick. As he walked by, he tapped the concrete on which I sat with his stick and said, “Hey, hey, hey, here they can put you on a nice fire.”
At that moment, zigzagging from my lower back, a kind of electric current rose rapidly up my back, through my crown to the blue sky above. I became one with the sky above my body. I became one with the timeless, the Absolute, the primal cause.
It was the sudden contrast of a perfect spring experience with the shock of sitting on an incinerator of a crematorium (under construction), which caused the SELF to break through myself (or: the awakening of the Kundalini, as the yogis say).
What preceded this event and how it went after it might be interesting too, but that is another post.
Anyway, the old spiritual traditions can help us come closer to discovering the primal cause (as opposed to the modern “feel-good” spirituality that actually has too little depth to be called spiritual). In my earlier post Non-Duality And Its Value For The World I have tried to translate the essence of the ancient spiritual Hindu tradition in simple words for our time.
And, why has man always (until our “modern times”) strived to dis-cover the primal cause of existence?
Hans answers this question, and more, in the concluding part of this 2-part series … so stay tuned …
=== = ===
Hans is the author of the book Initiation into Reality – available for purchase on Amazon. For more on Hans’ work, please visit his website Initiation into Reality.
Please feel free to comment and/or raise any questions for Hans in the Comments section below. He will address these as soon as he can.