Saturday, January 12, 2013

How Do You Know, You Know Anything at All?

"I'm sitting in a room and I close my eyes; I can't see what's around me anymore. How do I know I'm still in the room, or that anything outside my consciousness exists? My thoughts are the sole entities that tell me I’m still sitting in a room. Some may counter - I can still hear the activities of the other rooms, I can feel the floor beneath my feet, I can smell the room's aroma. Well, what if I couldn't? There are many people that cannot see, hear, smell, etc.; if you neglect all of what your senses 'tell' you, since many times our senses lie to us, how (once again) do I know I'm still in the room, or that anything outside my consciousness exists? We may reason that it truly is my thoughts that define my reality. This logic, by association, means our thoughts will dramatically affect reality. When we use our senses we merely perceive what our thoughts tell us to perceive. Focusing on ‘reality’ makes it real, but for reality to be ‘real’ it needs your focus. How we think and what we think about defines our world. What forces do you allow to alter the way you think? What do you give your attention to? Design your thoughts wisely; for they will become your reality.”


For thousands of years, this very idea has been the teachings of great religious prophets and up for debate among philosophers such as Bertrand Russell and many others. How can one truly know the difference between a hallucination, an illusion, and reality, if the senses are the only thing we can rely on for information? Our senses lie to us on a daily basis and we all know they can fool us quite easily. So then what are we left with? That’s simple, consciousness.  Our consciousness is the only thing we are left with when deprived of our senses. And when we are deprived of our senses, interesting things start to happen.

Enter the isolation tank.

Basic Isolation Tank
The isolation tank was invented by the late, great psychonaut John Lilly, in an attempt to find a way to deprive his mind and his thoughts of normal sensory input from the body. The idea behind the tank is that if you can escape the natural signals and distractions, your mind could work in much deeper and expansive state. Lilly came up with a tank filled with water, that is headed to the same temperature as the surface of your skin, and filled with 800 pounds of Epsom Salt, in order for you to float in the water. The reason the water is heated to skin temperature is so that after a while, you no longer feel it. Your ears are fully submerged so you cannot hear a thing, and once the door is closed, you are in complete darkness. With all the senses temporarily disabled, your mind has no other option but to fill it’s self with its own type of sensory input in the form of psychedelic hallucinations. Many people report wild visions and being in a dream state for a portion of the time in the tank. While this sounds awesome in and of itself, another amazing aspect of an isolation tank is the amazing introspection it can provide you with. 

With all the fascinating experiences it can hold, some people have also reported having upsetting experiences to say the least. However, it seems like those are the ones that help people evolve and grow the most. So, if you’re the type of person who is trying to improve yourself on a daily basis and seeks to progress in any way possible, an isolation tank can be an amazing asset. On the other hand, if you’re the kind of person who would rather go through life with the blinders on, be prepared of a psychological beat down.

Quantum Mechanics and Buddhist Philosophy

H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, Tenzin Gyato, explains in his book The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality, that there is a distinct connection between science and spirituality, and that they have a distinct ability to unite the human race. In traditional Buddhist teachings, the Theory of Emptiness states that all things and events are dependent upon one another and are in some way interconnected. One of the most controversial discoveries of quantum physics is that light is both a particle and a wave, all at the same time. Both Buddhism and quantum mechanics demonstrate that the world we know is not what we perceive it to be with our 5 senses, and that us and everything that exists is connected in some way, somehow. In the book, His Holiness cites one of David Bohm’s observations: 

“…if we examine the various ideologies that tend to divide humanity such as racism, extremely nationalism, and the Marxist class struggle, one of the key factors of their origin is the tendency to perceive things that inherently divided and disconnected. From this misconception springs the belief that each of these divisions is essentially independent and self-existent.”

Bohm’s statement is an extraordinary one. He is able to understand the relation between quantum physics and science as a whole, and he is also able to expand his analogy to the entire world. Perhaps if human’s were not so quick to judge, segregate, and isolate each other, we would be able to come to gather and have a much greater respect for the human race a whole, but conquering the ego is no simple task. This comparison of Buddhism and quantum mechanics is very interesting because it has the capability to motivate those who find solidarity in faith, and those who find the truth through facts. Both schools of thought recognize the extremely importance of perception.

Most people often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of their own lives to the point that they fail to realize the fact that their entire existence transcends both space and time. The horrors and evil of this world are not independent of ourselves and depend completely upon misunderstandings tracing from the innate human need to separate itself from the world around it. Whether you belong to spirituality or science, both ideologies call for an immediate re-examination of The Self.

“A man once told the Buddha – ‘I want happiness.’

The Buddha said: Remove the ‘I’, that’s ego. Now remove the ‘want’, that’s desire. Now all you are left with is, Happiness.”


  1. I really liked that Buddha quote at the end; very clever.

    I feel like a problem i have though Is ive heard that said a million times, but what does it mean in terms of real word application? What do i meditate on to release my ego and my desires?

    1. Luke, I feel like it means that you act how you think. So, for example, if you try to see things in a positive light rather than a critical one, you'll end up feeling more positive about the situation your in. Then in turn, reflecting back upon that situation you'll view it as a more positive experience than if you hadn't put conscious effort into being optimistic. Its not like you can meditate on one certain thing (ex. 'i want to be happier'), you have to change the way you think about things to have an influence on your situation. Does that make sense/what you were inquiring?

  2. remove the what. that's intrusion.=D

  3. This got me thinking, what would anything be if it didn't have any of the five senses but a soul?

  4. The world must experience ego death before it can be healed.

  5. BuddhismIsTheBestMay 11, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    dudes,this has been done. It was a psychological experiment which implied a couple of people sitting on a bed that was diagonally oriented towards the floor. There was no lighting nor smell and no sounds at all. I can't remember how they numbened their tactile sense but the bottom line is,15 minutes in,the folks were losing it:D

  6. you have to loose it to achieve what your looking for. every one must find it on there own path people are afraid of loosing it and once it "the ego " is gone the world is different no matter how you look at it . things become clearer , motive are seen and your path is clear even if the finish is nowhere in site. don't be afraid to be alone. what you seek can only be unlocked by you the more you know about yourself the closer you are to finding the it. It will never go away but once you find the ego the motives are clear and never forgotten. It is then that you take control of your life and destiny the choice is yours...