Thoughtline March 1996
Chaos To Coherency
You know, I simply cannot think of the "end" of the Universe. I can think of the end of a sentence, or the end of the year, even the end of an incarnation or of a millennium, but I cannot conceive of an end of the universe, either in time or space.
I have tried. I really have. One morning I was cruising through the ethers in med-drive pondering, you know, on this and that when I decided to launch a serious search for the much talked about end of the universe. I slipped my search engine into hyper-contemplative-drive and went looking.
Shamballa quickly slipped behind and I headed into deep, deep silence. I went further than ever, but besides the usual music-of-the-spheres and the galaxies of far-out ideas, there was nothing. I persisted, and after what seemed like the blink of an eye or an eternity, I started to hear this voice. It was coming from everywhere. I could not make out the words, but it was saying something.
Then I noticed this tiny speck of fight, and I went for it. As I got closer, I began to understand the voice. It was repeating the same phrase, over and over again, like the voice at the airport that threatens to tow your car if you get out of it. Then I could see the sign. It was huge, the biggest sign I have ever seen, even in Las Vegas. It was written in letters of flame-a very nice font called New God. As you might expect, it's kind of a scripty font, lots of curlicues and flourishes. The sign, in bold and underlined, says exactly what this now really booming voice is saying, 'THIS IS THE OFFICIAL END OF THE UNIVERSE!!" The sign ends with two exclamation points.
"Ah ha!" I thought, "the actual end of the universe is an exclamation point. That must be significant of something." But as I began to ponder on this, the two exclamation points at the end of UNIVERSE started to morph into question marks. "What's this?" I said. "Something is fishy here. Is this some kind of God Joke?" and I started wondering what was on the other side of the sign. I took a real quick peek, and sure enough there is a whole new universe behind that sign. Or maybe it's not a new universe, but just a different one. Then again maybe it's not a different one at all. Maybe I am just looking at the same old universe but from the backside.
So, as I say, I try, but all I get is dizzy.
Given this experience, it should be no surprise that I also have a problem with the notion of the "beginning" of the Universe. Somewhere out there, or would it be "in there" since it is the beginning.. anyway, big sign, same flaming bold and underlined New God font says, "THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THE UNIVERSE." I am sorry about this, but my brain and mind simply can't get that. I keep wondering what was happening before the beginning. I wonder if there were tailgate parties, like before the football games.
My inability to grasp these notions is probably why I have so much trouble with some of the chaos theories that have been in vogue lately. One theory postulates a situation in which this chaos that existed before the universe will reassert itself somehow and again take over the Universe. Since I can't handle notions that have "before the universe" in them, I just skipped over that one. But there is another or perhaps a variation that maintains that chaos stuff, disordered formless matter and infinite space, which is actually a part of universe, is threatening to assert itself somehow and
overwhelm or maybe re-overwhelm the universe.
Now, it is OK with me if there is chaos, as long as it exists within the universe. I do not have a problem with chaos so much. I just have a problem with something, anything, existing before the universe. Once we make chaos a part of the universe, we can deal with it. And one goal in this talk is to get a handle on this chaos stuff, ID it, you know, figure out what it is and then figure out what to do about it.
To begin with, I need to lay out the situation as I think it is. I cannot speak for any place other than the earth, and I admit that, even with my hyper-contemplative-drive search engine, what I actually know about this system is rather minuscule. However, based on what evidence I do have, I assume that universe, rather than disordered or chaotic, is perfectly ordered.
I have never examined any system, even a lump of dirt, even an atom, that did not turn out to be a wonder of order. I also do not see chaos in connection with cosmic groupings such as solar systems or galaxies and so forth. When I think, for example, about our solar system or other really big systems, as big as I can imagine anyway, I see order and symmetry, reason and coherency. It appears to me to be somewhat arrogant for a simply human consciousness, no matter how well educated or whatever, to assume that because it cannot ascertain the order of a given space there is none.
There are, of course, several places or sets of conditions within which I do not see this kind of order and symmetry. One such set is that in which the inner order, which I am sure is there, is simply too macro for me to visually apprehend. When for example I have had the opportunity to stand on a Mountainside at 9 or 10 thousand feet on a moon- less night at 2 or 3 in the morning and behold the Milky Way, it appears to be, as far as I can tell with my eyes, simply a big, big bunch of stars and systems of no discernible order, chaotically, one might think, sprinkled across an immense span of space.
Now, to suddenly behold the Milky Way is a rather stunning spectacle for a city person like myself who is used to seeing, if any, a small dusting of stars in the night sky. Actually, in moments such as that, I usually do not think at all. When, after emerging from sleep and the pitch blackness of one's tent, one lifts one's face to the heavens, one does not see the stars, one has an encounter with absolute beauty, or as John Keats tried to tell us, with Truth. Truth, I have come to realize, is not something that one can think about. One can however, just barely and at rare intervals, sometimes behold a bit of it. So, although what I see in that night sky appears to be a meaningless, perhaps even a chaotic, dispersion of points of light, I am moved deeply by an unseen sense of order, by the sense of rightness, if you know what I mean, which flows from the beauty and grandeur of the spectacle.
When I do start to think, I first of all invariably think of John Keats. Then I find myself, once again, marveling about how this tiny, tiny speck of dust, which I am, can encompass in its vision such an expanse of manifested reality. And not only can I encompass it, but I can actually stand there and think about it, think at it, think toward it. I can even, if it is not too cold, think about its un-manifest side, which is, of course, also an aspect of universe, about where this presence, this demonstration of beauty came from and how it got to where it is. Then, I can even stop thinking and again almost merge with it and become it.
In moments such as this, God does not seem like such an abstract concept and the infiniteness of space does not seem so far away, so much of an abyss. I sometimes recall Morya's little question, "Toiler, is thy heart fearful or exultant when before thee looms infinity?"
So, in this instance of what appears to the eye as perhaps chaotic, I register a kind of order and symmetry that is almost overwhelming. In this case, I assume that the lack of discernible order, this apparent chaos which we call the Milky Way is simply a matter of my inadequate powers of observation. I can see and encompass with my present quota of brain tissue a rather large bunch of stuff all of which to me appears to be coherent. I assume that if my powers were somewhat expanded, I would be able to apprehend the coherency, which I so powerfully discern with the other aspects of my equipment, of even the Milky Way. And so, I think-insist actually-that the system which we call Universe is coherent.
I don't suppose that insisting on harmony and order as a natural state of universe is very sophisticated reasoning. We have all known of instances where this kind of thinking has actually led people to do some rather foolish things. One need only mention the name of Pangloss (All-tongue)to conjure up visions of all kinds of ridiculous behavior.
However, realizing that the basic keynote of universe is harmonic does not mean that one becomes incapable of rational thought. There is chaos in the world, and it is very important that humans be able to recognize chaos when confronting it. Pangloss, lacking the ability to see even the grossest manifestations of chaos, was a veritable chaos generator himself. Actually, chaos is seldom so crude. It is most often a very subtle thing, and the most advanced conditions of chaos that I know anything about are frequently seen-even lauded-as marvels of order and symmetry. The promotion of competition as a mode of human development comes to mind.
When I encounter what appears to be chaos or incoherency in large systems like Humanity, or small systems like an individual human being, I make two assumptions. The first is that I am not seeing it right. I do not have enough data or a deep enough vision so that what I am seeing appears to be chaos, and I will attempt to look deeper. However, as you well know, we frequently register encounters with chaos with our subjective equipment. So, when I register a sense of wrong, a sense of ugly, a sense of darkness and danger, I watch very closely. If I am sure that what I am encountering in a person or a system is indeed chaos, my assumption is that there is something broken or warped or out-of-line. There is some aberration that is functioning and generating chaos, upsetting the natural harmony and symmetry in the system. I am convinced, you see, that the dark side cannot make or create anything at all. All it can do is warp or twist or introduce chaos into the good. But it is very, very skilled at this.
The recent and ongoing developments in Bosnia and Rwanda are excellent examples of how some aberration can destroy the symmetry, the order and balance of a human communal system. Harmony and order are precisely what is missing in any form of racism, anywhere, at anytime. Racism, ageism, sexism, hate, any kind of exclusivity or superiority, the ancient illusion of separation which generates these kinds of aberrations, this is the face and these are the clothes of chaos.
As far as I can recall, nobody taught me to assume a rational and ordered universe as a natural state of affairs. To think this way, to see from this perspective or through this glass, I call harmony thinking. It is something that I realized once during a particularly chaotic episode in my own life. It surfaced as I was making an effort to maintain my own sanity and a balanced, or I guess you could say poised or even coherent, position between a set of oppressively visible and very painful aberrations which were making me actually doubt my own reasoning mind and that which is invisible but certainly there-if you know what I mean.
I think that, like a lot of you, I was born this way. Whatever the case, it is an approach that has done several things for me, not the least of which is helping to maintain a sense of humor and a kind of knowing hope and joy that, if dealt with properly, the passing charade, this apparition of chaos, stalking the land dressed in the rags of separation and deceit, will indeed pass. I know in my soul and from personal experience that it is possible to reassert the natural order of things, which is harmony, and to restore the balance, the coherency of life to any system that is under attack from some aberration.
This attitude or bent in my thinking has also consistently propelled me into the future in an indefatigable quest to find out what is really going on. "Such is the mode of evolution," Djwhal Khul says, "for it is ever a pressing forward towards the sensed." A Treatise on the Seven Rays, Vol. V, p473.
Recently, I have been watching my mother, Loretta, who is approaching 88, cope with a rather severe condition of short-term memory loss. This condition was introducing something very much like chaos into Loretta's life. She was frightened, embarrassed, angry and in a great deal of pain over this situation. However, somewhere in the process, she seemed to forget that she was forgetting and all of the fear, pain and embarrassment she had been inflicting on herself simply stopped.
After recognizing what was going on with Loretta, and getting over the initial shock, no one in the family ever demonstrated any negative reactions toward her. When she asks how our day was or is 5 times in as many minutes, we never reproach her. We do not say anything like, "You just asked me that." We just answer her again.
In the course of this development, I noticed that as she seemed to be disintegrating from the social fabric of normal family life which involves clocks and calendars and such, Loretta had become interested in the physical plane and in arranging things in some form of coherent order. She has a button collection, which she started when she was 20 or so and to which was added-on the advent of their deaths-the button collections of her mother and Aunt Mimi, respectively. This button collection fills several very large tins and a large plastic kind of tool box. When the button collection is out of its containers and spread over her bed, though it is not as huge, it reminds me of the Milky Way.
Loretta, like some distant God, will dip into her button collection and make arrangements of buttons. Or she will simply start in the middle of the apparent chaos of the spread out collection and start to order it, arrange it. Her systems have order, symmetry, coherency. They will be great wheels of various shaped and colored buttons, or organized stacks of shapes and colors arranged in geometrical patterns, or simply rows.
They come into manifestation perhaps out of her mind, as she imposes the will of her inner understood purpose and order on the mass of buttons. Or perhaps, she sees the order in the buttons as she gazes at them and simply arranges them in the order they suggest. I asked her once about this and she said it was a little bit of both. Whatever it was, Loretta would be completely immersed in the project for hours at a time and a kind of peace and joy would be animating her features.
Her systems, or her "doings" as she calls them, persist for a while and then go into pralaya. When she tires of them and leaves for a nap or whatever, the buttons go back into the button box. I have come to think that the buttons, like the sea of matter out of which we and the planets and solar systems and galaxies have emerged, have been imbued with the impression of the order of the system they recently configured, and when next they come out of the button box they will suggest new systems and new arrangements.
While watching her one afternoon, I remembered sitting with her as a child making picture puzzles, and I thought that she might find that an interesting thing to do. I acquired a few puzzles, pictures of cats and little children, things to which she seemed to still relate with a great deal of animation and energy. I started her off on a very simple puzzle of a 150 pieces which she liked OK. She was not really interested in the 1500 to 2000 piece puzzles. I thought at first that the pieces were perhaps too small, but I later concluded that she simply did not like to search for the pieces that fit together.
She soon returned to her button collection which she preferred. I do not know why, but as I mentioned, I fancy it was because the coherency which she brought to her button systems came from her own will and purpose. Rather than being forced to search for the puzzle's predetermined fits, the buttons were a kind of raw matter that allowed her to interact and to exercise her own design strategies. It sounds a lot like the process I imagine that we, as souls, go through when we are preparing to reincarnate.
As I mentioned, Bosnia and Rwanda, because they are so large and so obvious, are excellent examples of how chaos looks in action. However, individual humans are systems, too. We know that, as in the case of Loretta, we experience the results of chaos. We know the lack of joy and the absence of coherency and order and balance in our lives. We also know that just as coherency and joy always and only co-exist, pain and chaos always and only co-exist. And we, all of us, know pain.
How, I have often wondered, does the chaos get started in our little systems? What brings it on? I have often pondered on this and come up with many reasons. Then, one afternoon, when I was writing a letter to a friend, I got a rather keen glimpse into the issue. The friend had said that he had just gone through a great deal of clearing out of personality resistances to the work that he saw he had to do. He said that he had accepted this situation, however little it agreed with his personality. It had, he said, been a purifying time. I knew that this time was also a time of pain, knew, just as you would have known, because I had been there, too.
There was in my friend's letter a deep sense of calm and joy (This energy, by the way, stayed with the message even though it was an e-mail document and had been transmitted via the Internet.) I realized that when my friend accepted the work that he knew he was to do, he had merged, so to speak, with his destiny. He eliminated major portions of chaos from his system by choosing to go with that which his inner life prompted. He retouched the coherency, harmony and order that was inherent in his life when he decided to pattern forth, to impose on the matter of his existence the vision of his Soul.
The generator of chaos in our little systems is very, very often just this refusal to listen to the voice of our destiny. We can think of a million reasons to not take the steps we know, deep within our heart of hearts, lead to our own self-chosen destiny. We want something grander, or more glamorous, more exciting, more in line with our incredible talents and skills, our amazing intelligence or whatever.
This space, I have concluded, is the last refuge of the separative personality. Sensing that its sovereignty is about to be terminated, it will belittle that which it knows it is destined to do, making it seem so much less than that which it thinks it ought to do, which, it loudly protests, it so richly deserves to do. As you undoubtedly know, even if you are counted among the group which is still in the throes of the struggle, the personality eventually gives up. It is inevitable. I am sure that we know this even as we persist in a vigorous and painful struggle that can last years, even in some cases lives.
Perhaps the most valuable service we could perform now in this Aquarian moment, would be to simply say yes to our destinies.
However, we should not think that saying yes to one's destiny solves all of one's problems, or restores perfect harmony to one's system. As I mentioned to my friend, and as I am sure those of you who have had a period of merging with your inner director know, the merging does not make anything any easier. It just saves a lot of time that used to be spent in squirming around and suffering about accepting the inevitable.
It is true that there is more energy available to do the job, but the job seems to somehow always be bigger than whatever can be brought to it anyway. So I find that I am still frequently very pressed and just doing the best that I can, which is nowhere near what I can see needs to be done. But as Morya has said, "The path of joyous achievement is a thousand-fold shorter than the path of mournful duties." I do not bleed over the inadequacy of my efforts nearly as much as I used to. And joy is a much more frequent visitor to my life than it used to be.
The presence of joy and the calmness of tension are always present in coherent systems. Harmony, symmetry, balance, these are the qualities, these are the features of the face of coherent systems. Loretta, no matter how much of her recent memory she has lost touch with, is in a state of complete coherency when she is fashioning her button systems. When she forgot that she was forgetting, she moved, I believe, to a much more primal state, to a state much closer to her Soul, and way, way beyond the ability of chaos to touch her.
We are, you know, all of us, just made out of buttons.