Interlude: The Yoga Of Light
My guess is that many if not most of you are familiar with Yogananda’s Autobiography Of A Yogi -- whose first edition was published upwards of fifty years ago, in 1946. In the chapter called The Law Of Miracles, Yogananda -- in his inimitable style -- declares:
“From science, then, if it must be so, let man learn the philosophic truth that there is no material universe; its warp and woof is maya, illusion. Its mirages of reality all break down under analysis. As one by one the reassuring props of a physical cosmos crash beneath him, man dimly perceives his idolatrous reliance, his past transgression of the divine command: ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before Me’.”
And, apropos of this question of infinite mass as one approaches the speed of light:
“Stated another way: only a material body whose mass is infinite could equal the velocity of light.
This conception brings us to the law of miracles.
The masters who are able to materialize and dematerialize their bodies or any other object, and to move with the velocity of light, and to utilize the creative light-rays in bringing into instant visibility any physical manifestation, have fulfilled the necessary Einsteinian condition: their mass is infinite.
The consciousness of a perfected yogi is effortlessly identified, not with a narrow body, but with the universal structure ...”
And, by way of explaining, say, the capacity of Jesus to “walk on water” --
“A yogi who through perfect meditation has merged his consciousness with the Creator perceives the cosmical essence as light; to him there is no difference between the light rays composing water and the light rays composing land. Free from matter-consciousness, free from the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension of time, a master transfers his body of light with equal ease over the light rays of earth, water, fire, or air.”
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Back to Mingyur Rinpoche and Neo, Enlightenment and the first Bhumi.
If -- in a direct realization of emptiness -- we become (as Yogananda hinted) “effortlessly identified, not with a narrow body, but with the universal structure” (i.e. have realized the Body Of Tao) -- and are thus able, at least metaphorically, to “travel/vibrate at the speed of light” (having achieved “infinite mass”) -- then is it that much of a stretch to assume that the journey might continue, at supra-light speeds, or vibratory frequencies, through the next nine Bhumis, until -- as our velocity/vibration becomes infinite, our (previously-infinite) “mass” becomes zero, i.e. we’ve dissolved the last vestiges of perceiving anything like a “material world”? Is this what a Buddha, an Immortal perceives? Is this Enlightenment? (Or just good science fiction?)
In any case, what’s the best way to describe the relationship between electromagnetic energy (the “light” of physics) and the “light” of Enlightenment (or what Yogananda refers to as the “cosmical essence as light”)?
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What Would Jesus Say?
In the Gospel of Thomas -- a text (part of the Nag Hammadi library of parchments discovered in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945) in which are recorded the gnostic teachings of Jesus, the metaphor of light is used to illustrate how the light of God lives in every human being, not just in Jesus. Verse 50, for instance, records the following dialogue (Layton translation):
Jesus said, "If they say to you (plur.), 'Where are you from?' say to them, 'It is from light that we have come - from the place where light, of its own accord alone, came into existence and [stood at rest]. And it has been shown forth in their image.'
If they say to you, 'Is it you?' say 'We are its offspring, and we are the chosen of the living father.'
If they ask you, 'What is the sign of your father within you?' say to them, 'It is movement and repose.'"
Another version of the same verse, by Lynn Bauman:
Suppose you are asked,
"Where have you come from?"
say, "We have come from the Light at its source,
from the place where it came forth
and was manifest as Image and Icon.
If you are asked, "Are you that Light?"
say, "We are its children,
and chosen by the Source, the Living Father."
If you are questioned,
"But what is the sign of the Source within you?"
say, "It is movement and it is rest."
In this verse, then, Jesus describes our “origin” as being none other than the origin/source of light: a light that “of its own accord” comes into existence. So beautiful ....
And yet, once again, begs the question: what’s the relationship, if any, between this “spiritual light” -- which would seem to be our “spiritual origin” -- and the light (aka electromagnetic radiation) which appears as a salient aspect of our so-called “physical universe”?
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Light phenomena are not uncommon aspects of deep meditation, reported by many. Like Neo seeing the hallway as tremoring light-codes, the “external world” can arise, for the meditator, in a similar fashion, as being made of golden-white light.
Every now and again (particularly during phases of my life marked by extended periods of deep relaxation) when I close my eyes to go to sleep at night, there appears a light as bright as day-light. I’ve come to understand this as something we might call the “light of the Mind” or the “light of Awareness.”
To what extent are such experiences physical phenomena, and to what extent do they belong to a dimension separate from our ordinary Newtonian or even Einsteinian space/time?
What would Neo say?
(oh, right -- he's just a character in a movie ...)