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Dreams of Fields
The working of manifestation has its foundation in the idea of fields of force or energy. A book in my library called All That Is Solid Melts into Air deals with the challenge of the spirit of modernity to traditional philosophical outlooks. I love the title. It particularly captures one aspect of the challenge to our customary worldview. This is the challenge presented by modern physics, whose discoveries show that all that was once considered immutable and solid, even matter itself, is now seen to be patterns of relationships and fields of probability and force.
Patterns, probabilities, sparks and atoms of information, fields of force - these terms describe a strangely different universe from the one our culture assumed to be true a hundred years ago. All that was solid has melted into air, and we now see a universe vastly more energetic, dynamic, and mindlike than we had previously suspected. It is a universe in which a materialist paradigm, and patterns of thought based on materialistic logic, can only scratch the surface of reality. Indeed, they often obstruct us from viewing and participating in that reality at a deeper level.
This image of the universe arising from the dynamic interplay of fields of force, a universe rich in possibility and information, is itself not new, though through quantum mechanical physics, chaos theory, micro- and molecular biology, ecology and the information sciences and computer technologies, we are looking at it in a new ways with images and techniques not available to our ancestors. If we substitute the word presence or soul for the word field, and life for energy or force, we actually are very close to the worldview of the ancient mystery and mystical teachings. In this view, everything is alive, and we live in a universe in which we interact on all levels not with inert things but with living presences.
Many spiritual teachings tell of a primal oneness or spirit from which all things emerge. This ancient teaching is paralleled as well by new images from contemporary physics. For example, physicist David Bohm in his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order discusses the existence of a primal state, the implicate order, in which everything is enfolded. This order is a wholeness from which the universe unfolds or explicates itself; in turn, each element and object of the universe contains this wholeness, this enfolded order. The totality of the cosmos is enfolded within each of us.
In the enfolded order there is neither time nor space as we know them. At that deep level of wholeness, everything is a part of everything else. Although this description of the universe comes from an interpretation of quantum mechanics, it is the same description that we gain from the literature of mystical experiences.
In modern physics and cosmology, the universe is made up of energy and fields, from which matter is derived. Energy can take any form, while fields are patterns that organize energy into forms. Both energy and fields are hypothesized as arising from a unitary state, perhaps Bohm's implicate or enfolded order. Here we encounter a primal creative trinity, familiar to us already from various religious traditions.
The interplay of energy and fields creates systems, patterns of interconnectedness, interaction, and behavior. Everything we know of might be seen as a system of one kind or another, including ourselves. A system is a way of describing an object or condition holistically.
Some systems process information and energy in ways that enable that system to transcend its present state and grow into new behavior. Given the appropriate energy, the system can repattern and transform itself. Such systems are called "self-organizing". All living creatures are self-organizing systems, but so is the earth itself and the cosmos beyond.
The study of systems, particularly self-organizing ones, has led to the development of new sciences such as the science of dynamics, the science of complex systems, and chaos mathematics. These interrelated sciences also give us a picture of a dynamic, interactive, interconnected universe. One concept that has come from these fields is that of the attractor, especially the strange attractor. An attractor is not a point in space or a thing like a magnet. Rather it is a nonphysical organizing principle, if you will, describing the end toward which a dynamic system evolves. If that end is a final state, the attractor is called a point attractor. If the end, however, is a nonrepetitive pattern, a nonliner, complex, chaotic pattern, then the attractor is a strange attractor.
The idea of the attractor suggests that within chaos is a complex form of order, one that we have not been able to recognize before because we have not had the tools to see it or describe it.
Nonlinear or chaotic systems are profoundly influenced by the conditions that initiate them. The smallest change can have a very large effect. This has become known as the Butterfly Effect. (The name comes from a metaphorical example used to illustrate this phenomenon: that something as seemingly tiny and inconsequential as the flutter of a butterfly's wings can set up a chain of cascading consequences, such as a growing interaction of atmospheric disturbances that eventually could result in a tornado or hurricane many thousands of miles away.)
Research leads scientists to believe that most systems in the universe (certainly those upon which the cosmos depends) are nonlinear, chaotic systems defined by strange attractors. Such systems are indeterminate; that is, their future behavior cannot be predicted with any great accuracy. Thus, unpredictability, chaos, wildness lie at the heart of the universe. We do not live in a predetermined, clockwork, mechanistic cosmos. The door is always open for revelation, emergence, newness and transformation.
On the other hand, very recent research suggests that while chaotic systems are, well, chaotic and essentially unpredictable, they can be affected and to some extent directed. Small systematic changes made into the chaotic system can cause the chaotic element to be reduced or ordered in a new way, giving the system a small shove in a desired direction.
What does all this mean for manifestation? We do not have to be chaos mathematicians or quantum mechanical physicists to use this inner art, but it is important that we begin to revision the universe within which manifestation takes place. The scientific worldview of the last century, which unfortunately is the one with which most people are familiar and which tends to dominate our cultural imagination, posits a world filled with objects and beings separated by time and space; it is a world made up of isolated particles interacting according to mechanistic laws of motion, cause and effect, and so forth.
However modern they seem, ideas of creative visualization, positive thinking, prosperity consciousness - in a way, the whole New Thought movement and its varied offshoots - are all based on this classical scientific worldview, the world of the separated particle. In such a worldview, the phenomenon of manifestation, assuming it is accepted at all, would be seen as something like magnetism, drawing a separate thing, person, or condition to ourselves across space and time. The "magnet" of manifestation pulls to us whatever corresponds to the images and beliefs we hold in our minds.
This raises a number of questions. What is the force or energy that crosses space and time to draw the object of our manifestation toward us? Is it a kind of "psychic" magnetism, whatever that may be?
Furthermore, in this classic worldview, we begin the process separated from that which we wish to manifest. That separation expresses as an awareness of lack. We must somehow, through the strength of our work, creativity, faith, belief, affirmation, or positive thoughts, overcome the obstacles of distance and separation. We must "reach out" and draw what we want to us.
In the worldview of modern physics, that separation may not really exist. We are connected in subtle and important way with the universe. If we accept David Bohm's notion of an enfolded order, then we already have that which we wish to attain. The challenge is not to draw it to us across some distance of space and time, but to explicate and inhabit the pattern that we form with the object of our manifestation. Manifestation, then, is an issue of repatterning and of generating the appropriate and sufficient energy to reorganize our lives into the new pattern we seek. In keeping with the spirit of the Butterfly Effect, if we introduce just the right image or right thought at the right time into the dynamic field of our own being - and hence into the larger field of the world in which our field is enfolded - we can bring about the manifestation we desire. In this dynamic system, the image of what we wish to manifest is strange attractor, the repatterning, organizing principle that shapes the unpredictability of the future into a specific form.
In such a worldview, we do not acquire that which we desire; we become it.
This idea of fields provides a foundation for a cosmology of manifestation. Upon this foundation are six other related ideas. I call them the six pillars of manifestation. The first three - waves, inter-relationship, and co-incarnates - deal with the structure of the cosmos. Like the concept of fields, they reflect the body of the universe. The second three - mind, essence and unity - relate to the spirit that inhabits or expresses itself through that structure. They reflect the soul of the universe. The body and soul are not two separate things but two aspects of one mystery: one single universal incarnation.
from the book
Everyday Miracles by David Spangler.
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