Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Brad ReynoldsBrad Reynolds did graduate work at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) before leaving to study under Ken Wilber for a decade, and published two books reviewing Wilber's work: Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber (Tarcher, 2004), Where's Wilber At?: Ken Wilber's Integral Vision in the New Millennium (Paragon House, 2006) and God's Great Tradition of Global Wisdom: Guru Yoga-Satsang in the Integral Age (Bright Alliance, 2021). Visit:


Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

The Miracle of
“Conscious Light”

Seeing with Integral Vision—Part 3

Brad Reynolds

I would like to present these essays on Light—Seeing with Integral Vision—as a multimedia, intellectual-emotional experience, if possible (if you, the reader, will take the time). Thus I have inserted what I call “Mystic Music Movies” (compiled in the spirit of Fair Use) with contributions by many artists (and edited by your author). I hope the music (and talks) will evoke feelings and insights that may help serve the ingestion of the intellectual ideas being presented in these integral essays. Thank you for reading and watching—May we all See and Be the Light! Are you experienced?

5-pointed start

There is evolution, in the sense of the changing (or mutating) of forms, through internal and external interactions—but there is also the Condition of Unity, Which Is the Inherent Condition of every event, and Which Is the Source-State in Which, and from Which, all events proceed (one by one, and, also, simultaneously).

— Avatar Adi Da Samraj (2001)[1]

Zero-Point Void: Dance Floor of Light

Void Clear Light
Void Clear Light
(painting by Alex Grey)

One of the most amazing discoveries of modern physics in the 20th-century, as mentioned (in Part 1), is that the entire universe, both in the beginning and in every moment since, arises from some type of mysterious “vacuum,” a field of “nothing” that supplies the energy for everything (thus it's not merely an abstract blankness). Some say it's similar to “the Void” of mysticism, as many authors have pointed out, for although it is “empty” it's also full of energy—a Void-Plenum. It is science's version of no-thing, nada, zilch, zero (for mathematics breaks down), yet it's also the originating ground creating all physical “realities” building up the subatomic realm of elementary particles—“the patterns that connect” (in integral terms). These patterns unfold in a transcend-and-include manner through the evolutionary process of complexification. The perspective of science, of course, will not concede that this process or “purpose” is one of “Spirit-in-action” (in Ken Wilber's words). They'll never admit that evolutionary forms and patterns are set in motion, and arising within, a Transcendental God or Divine Reality. Yet, this is not a Creator Deity or “Divine Intelligence,” but the Divine Transcendent Source-Condition of everything, arising presently, not just at the beginning. Integral Theory, in contradiction to such scientific materialism (or scientism), integrates what is seen with the “Eye of Spirit” (via mysticism) and what's gained with the “Eyes” of the “Body-Mind” (via science). The Integral Vision embraces and tracks the full spectrum of reality gained from all the Eyes of Knowing (physical, mental, spiritual). Being integral, therefore, has no problem seeing the “physical” universe as the “outer” or exterior manifestation of the interior Divine Spirit radiating as the relative Light of Real God. The Kosmos is Formless God-Light creating (or manifesting) an evolving pluridimensional universe of forms and processes, whether we see it or not.

So what does science say and what is mysticism's stance? What does Enlightenment say about science's views?—these are important questions, yet they're not answered by the rational Eye of Mind alone, for we also need to know (or see) with the Eye of Spirit.

So what does science say and what is mysticism's stance? What does Enlightenment say about science's views?—these are important questions, yet they're not answered by the rational Eye of Mind alone, for we also need to know (or see) with the Eye of Spirit. We must access the Eye of Spirit, in addition to using the Eye of Science (as my previous essays on “Real Integral vs. Fake Integral” emphasized). Miraculously, both views tend to say: Everything comes from Nothing or the mysterious Void through the medium of light-energy. In other words, the absence of Something creates Everything. What a paradox, no matter how you look at it! What was before the Big Bang? This is the most perplexing question of modern physics (other than finding a Grand Unified Theory). Perhaps such a profound paradox is only solved with the mystical vision gained from opening the Eye of Spirit to see beginningless “time” (such as with contemplative meditation and genuine Guru Yoga-Satsang). Everything comes not from one “thing” (or Deity), but from not-a-thing, a view endorsed by both the modern scientist and ancient mystic. This alone is a miracle, in my opinion. According to science, the cosmic vacuum is empty of all things, but it's not totally empty, for that's a logical impossibility (as Aristotle long ago pointed out: “nature abhors a vacuum”). So what gives?

Brian Swimme, The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos

One of the most important discoveries of quantum physics, the science of atoms and their constituents (or subatomic particles), is what is now called the “Quantum Vacuum,” or “Cosmic Vacuum,” also known as the “Zero-Point Field,” or more popularly, as “The Field.”[2] This “field” is of zero temperature—zero-energy—of neither positive or negative charge, hence it's not accurately measurable by the methods of science. Thus, technically, the vacuum is “nothing” from the physical point of view, yet there's still “something” there… or the possibility of something. This led mathematician-cosmologist Brian Swimme to call this vacuum field the “All-Nourishing Abyss” as he explains in The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos (1996, 2017):

[The] “all-nourishing abyss” [is] a way of pointing to this mystery at the base of being. One advantage of this designation is its dual emphasis: the universe's generative potentiality is indicated with the phrase “all-nourishing” [Shakti], but the universe's power of infinite absorption is indicated with “abyss” [Shiva].
The universe emerges out of the all-nourishing abyss not only [13.7] billion years ago [with the Big Bang] but in every moment. Each instant protons and antiprotons are flashing out of, and are as suddenly absorbed back into, the all-nourishing abyss. All-nourishing abyss then is not a thing, nor a collection of things, nor even, strictly speaking, a physical place, but rather a power that gives birth and that absorbs existence at a thing's annihilation.
The foundation reality of the universe is this unseen ocean of potentiality. If all the individual things of the universe were to evaporate, one would be left with an infinity of pure generative power…. All-nourishing abyss [quantum vacuum] is acting ceaselessly throughout the universe. It is not possible to find any place in the universe that is outside this activity. Even in the darkest region beyond the Great Wall of galaxies, even in the void between superclusters, even in the gaps between the synapses of the neurons in the brain, there occurs an incessant foaming, a flashing flame, a shining-forth-from and a dissolving-back-into….
Instead of speaking of the particles as foaming forth from the universal wave function or the quantum vacuum [as seen with the Eye of Science], theologians [using the Eye of Spirit] would speak of the generative powers of the Logos, or the Tao, or Shunyata.[3]

Although it's officially called a “vacuum,” the emptiness of space is also one giant reservoir of energy, a ground state field of energy constantly interacting with all subatomic particles creating all atoms—this is what science says. Once more, science author Timothy Ferris succinctly summarizes the situation:

The Quantum Vacuum is never really empty, but instead roils with “virtual” particles. Virtual particles may be thought of as representing the possibility, delineated by the Heisenberg indeterminacy principle that a “real” particle will arrive at a given time and place… As quantum physics sees it, every “real” particle is surrounded by a corona of virtual particles and antiparticles that bubble up out of the vacuum, interact with one another, and then vanish, having lived on borrowed Heisenberg time. (“Created and annihilated, created and annihilated—what a waste of time,” mused Richard Feynman.)…. The Quantum Vacuum, then, is a seething ocean, out of which virtual particles are constantly emerging and into which they constantly subside.[4]

As Lynne McTaggart explained in The Field (2002): “Einstein himself believed space constituted a true void until his own ideas, eventually developed into his General Theory of Relativity, showed that space indeed held a plenum of activity. But it wasn't until 1911, with an experiment by Max Planck, one of the founding fathers of modern physics, that physicists understood that empty space was bursting with activity…. a repository of all fields and all ground energy states and all virtual particles—a field of fields.”[5] This indescribable cosmic ocean radiates as the energy of the entire universe, since every exchange of every virtual particle with all the varieties of “real” particles, is the result of this vast inexhaustible energy source, a super-charged, all-pervasive backdrop that pervades and also runs the entire Kosmos. Why wouldn't someone call it “God”… or “Tao”… or the “nameless”?

Subatomic particles that make up everything cannot be separated from the empty space around them. Fritjof Capra, in his hugely popular book The Tao of Physics (1975, 2010) explained: “The vacuum is truly a 'living Void,' pulsating in endless rhythms of creation and destruction. The discovery of the dynamic quality of the vacuum is seen by some physicists as one of the most important findings in modern physics. From its role as an empty container of physical phenomena, the void has emerged as a dynamic quantity of the utmost importance.”[6] Integral physicist Ervin Laszlo put it this way:

This field [Quantum Vacuum] is not outside of nature: it is the heart of nature. It is the originating ground of all things in the universe, and also their ultimate destination. It is the fundamental medium of the cosmos. It underlies all the particles, and all the forces and fields that govern particles and the systems built of particles, throughout space and time. Science has a name for it: it is the quantum vacuum (also known as the “unified vacuum”).[7]

Beneath (or within) our brains is the same energy dance following certain patterns manifesting what our instruments (and measurements) of science attempt to know better. Some mystics simply call it “Spirit-in-action,” if you will (a concept scientists tend to abhor). Since the Kosmos, even according to science, seems to be arising from a mysterious, indefinable Void, a “vacuum” full of potential, then perhaps it's best described as a “Void-Plenum” or “Fecund-Nothingness”—“All-Nourishing Abyss” (as Swimme says)—all terms suggesting both the mystic's vision and the scientist's reality. We can appreciate it from both views (or Eyes of Knowing)—that of science and of mysticism—with each revealing their own truths. But what really matters, when you get down to it, is that every little (and big) thing is composed of both the Immanent-Ground and Transcendent-Goal of Spirit-in-action, God-in-the-making, all valid terms from the perspective of the real Integral Vision.

Werner Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg

The Quantum Vacuum, in so many words, is how energy propels the universe into existence, from the very beginning of time (with the Big Bang) to every moment since then. Is this not a miracle, yes? “The Field” or “originating ground,” science explains, exists as both the microcosmic and well as the macrocosmic worlds, from the minuscule quantum subatomic world (of quarks and strings) to the gargantuan expanses of galactic superstructures (of local clusters and supernovae). Yet, this Empty-Full Field was first discovered by quantum mechanics, the science of the very, very small (a billion times smaller than you or me). In the late 1920s, with a monumental breakthrough, Werner Heisenberg's (1901-1976) famous and perplexing “Uncertainty Principle” showed that the “emptiness” of a vacuum state, a field of zero energy, is exactly where subatomic particles originate. Elementary particles interact with the vacuum in some mysterious dance, a subatomic tango where science can only predict a particle's position in probabilities, not in exact measurements.

Undecidedly “mysterious” or “uncertain” and “indeterminate,” because particles can't be measured as having either a definite position or velocity (like all other physical objects), means that at subatomic levels our observations even change the position of what is being measured; thus subject-object have merged; separation is an illusion; everything is interrelated and interconnected. There is, in other words, no genuine dualism or separation at the Ground of Being because dualistic opposites dance above it creating everything else (or the “ten thousand things,” as the Taoists say). Integral pandit Ken Wilber explains this perspective well:

So when the physicist or the Eastern sage says that all things are void, or all things are not-two, or all things are interpenetrating, he does not mean to deny differences, to overlook individuality, to see the world as homogeneous gunk. The world contains all types of features and surfaces and lines, but they are all interwoven into a seamless field…. All-in-one and one-in-all. Similarly, in the territory of no-boundary, all things and events are equally members of one body, the Dharmakaya, the mystical body of Christ, the universal field of Brahman, the organic pattern of the Tao.[8]

In this case, Capra (and others) have pointed out there is a noticeable similarity (if not exact correspondence) between the insights of physicists and mystics when peering into the depths of matter-energy making up our universe. For example, Capra went on to compare this energetic display to the ecstatic dance of Nataraja Shiva, the “cosmic dancer,” a sacred symbol found in Hinduism, since “for the modern physicist, Shiva's dance is the dance of subatomic matter”:

The dance of Shiva is the dancing universe, the ceaseless flow of energy going through an infinite variety of patterns that melt into one another…. According to quantum field theory, all interactions between the constituents of matter take place through the emission and absorption of virtual particles…. Modern physics has thus revealed that every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction.[9]

And, not surprisingly, this “Cosmic Dance” is powered by light or electromagnetic force, from atoms to galaxies to brains. Light, then, fundamentally creates and connects everything with everything else in the entire universe as a radiant energy exchange via the Quantum Vacuum. These interactions between atomic and molecular levels then build up the exterior holons to create the higher physiological and biological structures of the Physiosphere, including the brain chemistry of the Noosphere (and its psychic interiors), which is still the play of light being ultimately generated from the Theosphere as one united electromagnetic and subtle-energy spectrum of God's Conscious Light—Spirit-in-action enacting “the gentle persuasion” towards Eros/Love, as some integralists have said.

We, too, are therefore intimately interconnected with Light as it penetrates and creates the mental and psychic-spiritual levels in a graded holarchy of reality, from gross to subtle to causal, the span and depth of the Kosmic Mandala (in Wilber's terms). According to the Mystic-Spiritual Masters—and the enlightened Integral Vision—all levels and structures of the Kosmos, of the whole Cosmic Mandala (in Adi Da's terms), exist within, and dances as, the churning entangled Invisible Formless Light as Real God or Divine Spirit. Only by stepping outside (and beyond) the point of view of the individual self or ego-I do we see (or know) the True Self (Atman) of Real God (Brahman). Or, as the Buddhists indicate: All forms are Empty (shunyata)/all forms are Perfect Space; Shunyata is all forms/ Perfect Space is Kosmos; Consciousness-Energy is all existence/Kosmos is Conscious Light, as our Heart Sutra (slightly modified) sings. Some see the same vision with integral Eyes of Spirit… and sing along.

Perfect Space: Divine Dance of Dharmadhatu

Perfect Space Itself Is Conscious Light. Perfect Space Itself Is also What is,
in the esoteric traditions of humankind, called “Spirit”, or “Shakti”.
Conditionally apparent space-time is an apparition of Energy.
Perfect Space Itself, the Matrix of all events, may be compared to a fractal,
because only Its Own Likenesses are apparent everywhere.
At the “Root”, There Is Conscious Light Itself.

— Avatar Adi Da Samraj (2001)[10]
The Aletheon, Adi Da Samraj

Interestingly, the Adept Adi Da Samraj has pointed out that the entire universe (from the gross to subtle to causal spheres of existence) arises within the “Perfect Space”[11] of Real God (or Consciousness Itself), as do all other possible universes. From science's perspective, as one prominent physicist, Joseph Silk, put it: “From a chaotic mix of primordial fields, there was only one force field, no matter how rare, which emerged triumphant and produced a universe within which galaxies and stars would have time to form.”[12] Nonetheless, the scientific pointers to empty space or the vacuum are not exactly the same as the concept of pure Nothingness, as philosophers and theologians like to point out. Shunyata, the Buddhist teaching of “emptiness,” for example, includes the term “Clear Light Void” since “emptiness” actually reveals that everything (including the self) are empty or void of intrinsic existence as separate entities. It's not that we're unreal, but that we're only relative real. Nonetheless, both views indicate that all holons (or forms) arise within a vacuum of “empty” Voidness composed of no-thing measureable by physicist or mystic alike. Avatar Adi Da further clarifies this radically nondual perspective:

The common view is that space is a kind of empty container, or empty vessel, wherein all kinds of “objects” are appearing. However, the conditionally manifested universe is not merely “in” space. Rather, the conditionally manifested universe is space. Apparent space is the conditional context of all conditional events. Perfect Space Is the Source-Nature, the Source-Condition, and the Source-State of the conditionally apparent universe. Reality-Space Is Perfect Space….
Truly, “matter” is not a “something” at all. There is only Continuum, only Non-separateness, only Indivisible Reality Itself—only the Single and Self-Evidently Divine “Substance” of Conscious Light Itself….
Space Itself Is Conscious Light.
Space Itself Is Reality Itself. Space Itself Is Divine.
Space Itself Is Perfect Space—and not merely “outer” or “inner” space.
Everything is arising in Perfect Space—Which Is Divine, or Absolute, or Reality Itself.[13]
The Spectrum of Consciousness

As mentioned earlier, this is similar to the Mahayana Buddhist teaching on the Dharmadhatu (see Part 1), which is based on the Sanskrit word for “space” (dhatu), to represent the ultimate reality (which is perfect and empty). This is because the Dharmadhatu is conceived to be the entire realm or matrix of all phenomena and noumena, whether samsara or nirvana, yet it's always “empty” or “void” (sunya), although it is “where” all phenomena and beings arise, abide, and dissolve. Also known as the “realm of Truth,” since Dharmadhatu is the essence of all things, therefore in relation to sentient beings it is identified with Buddha-Nature (tathagatagarbha), the fundamental nature of Consciousness (or “Mind-Only”). In this case, it is also associated with the Dharmakaya or “Truth-body” of the Buddha or Divine Person, the highest Realization of our ultimate state-stage of human evolutionary development. As one Buddhist sutra states: “The dhatu of beginningless time is the matrix of all phenomena. Since it exists, all beings and also Nirvana are obtained.”[14] Indeed, integral philosopher Ken Wilber recognized this authentic vision of reality in his first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977):

In Mahayana Buddhism, this “within which is beyond” is called the Tathagatagarbha, or Matrix of Reality. The word “matrix” suggests the universal field-like nature of reality, and thus is reminiscent of the Dharmadhatu or Universal Field. In fact, the Tathagatagarbha is actually identical to the Dharmadhatu as centered on the individual, just as in Hinduism the Atman is identical to Brahman as centered on the individual. But the Tathagatagarbha (as well as the Atman) has a more psychological and “personal” ring, as evidenced by the fact that it also means the Womb of Reality, the womb in which we are reborn…[15]

The famous Mahayana Buddhist philosopher-Adept, Nagarjuna (ca. 150-250 CE), founder of Madhyamaka (the “Middle Way”) and author of several Prajnaparamita Sutras (some of Buddhism's greatest literature), also penned the classic Dharmadhatustava (“In Praise of the Dharmadhatu”). In this sacred text Nagarjuna claims: “Dharmadhatu resides in every sentient being… This very purity is Nirvana.”[16] The primary teaching of Mahayana Buddhism is that we, as separate egoic beings, stain or distort the purity of our innate Dharmadhatu and Buddha-Nature. Once these afflictions of mind and emotions (i.e., the egoic self-contraction) are purified or released, through practice and sadhana (and the Guru's Grace), then prajna (Enlightenment) dawns or awakens allowing us to become the Buddhas that we truly are. As one Buddhist scholar explains: “The whole point in terms of the Dharmadhatu, natural purity, Buddha-Nature, or the luminous nature of mind is that there is absolutely no transformation of anything into anything else.”[17] Dharmadhatu is “always already the case” (as Adi Da says). This Nondual Enlightenment is the ultimate (and most natural) development in human life allowing our full expression of true happiness, love, compassion, wisdom, and freedom. Wilber, in a similar manner, also explained:

It must be re-emphasized that the Dharmadhatu… is ultimately not a philosophy but an experience based on prajna, or the nondual mode of knowing; and prajna reveals Reality as cittamatra, “Mind-only,” or Brahman, “one without a second,” or Jehovah, “there is none beside Me.” Thus the reality or the ground of all separate “things” is Mind [Consciousness], and hence each thing, because it is really nothing but Mind, is identical to all other things, for they, too, are nothing but Mind. Every inside is an outside, the World is a grain of sand, and Heaven is a wild flower.[18]

When this Awakening or Enlightenment (prajna) occurs, the “luminous mind” will shine forth as Conscious Light, according to these sacred teachings. Nagarjuna, in poetic stanzas, points us to realize our luminous, nondual “mind” or Consciousness as It IS, the bright boundless Light of Dharmadhatu:

Once the afflictions' web pulls back,
Stainless prajna brightly shines.
This dispels all boundless darkness,
And thus is The Illuminating. [80]

It always gleams with light so pure
And is engulfed by wisdom's shine,
With [all] bustle being fully dropped.
Hence this [practice is] held to be The Radiant. [81][19]

Not only is this Realization one of “Light,” but also one of “Great Bliss” as well, for awakened consciousness (prajna) is experienced as a composite of bliss and the realization of emptiness. This view is the culmination of Highest Yoga Tantra: “The generation of this consciousness, in which the feeling of bliss is mixed with emptiness such that they seem to be undifferentiable [“One Taste”], is the greatest achievement of tantric practice.”[20] This is why shunyata is not just “Voidness” (or an empty blankness) but also “Clear Light-Bliss.” These are not just metaphors, but are signifiers of our actual reality, as the great (and largely unknown) Tibetan Buddhist Lama, Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (1292-1361), clearly understood, as one pandit-scholar explained:

In brief, Dolpopa considered the Buddha-Nature to be naturally luminous radiant light, which is synonymous with the Buddha-body of reality (Dharmakaya), and a primordial indestructible, and eternal state of great bliss inherently present in all its glory within every living being.[21]

Some Western scholars of Tibetan texts have difficulty in interpreting or conceding the selection of terms meaning “clear or bright light,” “lucidity,” “luminosity,” or “luster,” as actually being a source of light.[22] Yet, this “Clear Light Void” or “clear light (nature) of mind” is precisely correct in describing what it means if we see the two truths of the Absolute and relative alive as One Nondual (Acausal) Dharmadhatu… or “Perfect Space” or “Real God” (in Adi Da's words). We don't necessarily “see” visible or optical light (like the light at “the end of the tunnel”), but rather experience it as luminous energy or Awakened Consciousness.

This perspective is further confirmed by modern Adepts as well, such as by Adi Da Samraj, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Paramahansa Yogananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (and others), who help clarify such enlightening matters by including the knowledge of science to promote a “science” of Yoga. Yet, it is on the mystical vision of God-Realization that they take their ultimate stand. They point to the Absolute Conscious Light that transcends all lesser (relative) lights. For example, the Western-born Avatar Adi Da uses symbols and terms like “Midnight Sun” (pictured as a white circle on a black field) or “The 'Bright'” to signify the ineffable and luminous “Brightness” of the Divine Fundamental Light that is ultimately “Above and Beyond” the relative light of the Kosmos, and even above the esoteric anatomy of the human being (pictured by Adi Da as a mandrake plant with a “root ball” as the brain-mind and a “Tree of Light Above the head”),[23] which is, of course, paradoxically always already the case, regardless of where you stand (or in what “shoes”):

That Eternal “Midnight Sun” Is the Source-Light of the “world”. But It is only a Vision. It is “Objectified”. When That Vision is entered into without any “shoes” at all—without anything held on to, in a disposition that is not based on any conditions (gross, subtle, or causal) at all—then the True Nature [Dharmadhatu] of the Divine Self-“Brightness” Is Most Perfectly Realized…[24]
Deeply moved Spiritual beings have always been heart-Attracted to This Source-Light—and, to all who see It, That Light Is Shown to Be Infinitely Above. The Source-Light has traditionally been presumed to Be the Divine… But This Sun is not “Other”. It Is the One and Indivisible Divine Conscious Light in Which there is no “Other”. Even if the Vision of This Source-Light is clearly seen, the Divine Self-“Brightness” of the Source-Light must yet be Most Perfectly Realized. Otherwise, That Light is simply a reflection glimpsed for a moment—and, then, you find yourself standing in your own shoes again.
“Midnight Sun” / The Rose Tree
(esoteric structure of the human
being envisioned by Adi Da Samraj)

Such nondual teachings of Divine En-Light-enment, where all is included-yet-transcended, is what all the great Sages and Siddhas, Avatars and Messiahs, of the Great Wisdom Tradition of humankind, and even some integral philosophers, are trying to get us to realize. Wilber once eloquently wrote in his first published book: “The doctrine of mutual interpenetration and mutual identification of the Dharmadhatu represents man's highest attempt to put into words the nondual experience of Reality which itself remains wordless, ineffable, unspeakable, that nameless nothingness.”[25] Sometimes this Matrix of Reality is compared to “a net of glittering gems”—known as Indra's Net—for it is the “Womb of Reality,” a vast holographic Matrix-Field, as Wilber explains, “wherein each jewel contains the reflections of all the other jewels, and its reflection in turn exists in all the other gems: 'one in all, all in one,' or 'unity in diversity, diversity in unity.' Thus Universal Field or Universal System is actually but a different approach to the Void.”[26]

Indra?s Net of Holographic Jewels
Indra’s Net of Holographic Jewels

The integral pandit has always emphasized there is a spectrum of consciousness connecting the relative Many as being grounded in (and embraced by) the Absolute One:

The various levels, then, are mutually interpenetrating and interconnecting, But not in an equivalent fashion. The higher transcends but includes the lower—not vice versa. That is, all of the lower is 'in' the higher, but not all the higher is in the lower…. Thus, when the Mystic-Sage speaks of this type of mutual interpenetration, he or she means a multidimensional interpenetration with nonequivalence. The explanation, by the Mystic-Sages, of this multidimensional interpenetration forms some of the most profound and beautiful [spiritual] literature in the world.[27]

The Integral Vision, in this case, realizes that by integrating what is seen (and known) with both Eyes of Science and Eyes of Spirit, we then see Reality as It more truly IS. By seeing with Integral Vision a person appreciates-yet-differentiates the various levels of Being (ontology) from the evolving (or developing) state-stages of Knowing (epistemology). Thus, the integral pandit maintains: “The fact that all things are God, but some things are more God than others—that is another version of the paradoxicality of Being.”[28] Indeed, this paradox of the Immanent-Transcendent nature of the Nondual Divine (or Prior Unity) manifesting as the “Great Nest of Spirit” has been fundamental to the real Integral Vision from the very beginning:

The levels of the Great Chain [of Being] are thus levels of decreasing shadow and increasing light, culminating at the opening to spirit, whereupon we realize there was always and only spirit, even at the lowest levels (although this can only be realized at the highest). This does not mean that the levels of manifestation are pure illusion or pure unreality, for they are all manifestations of Being and, therefore, bathe, in various degrees in its glory.[29]

By seeing fully (and truly) with the Eye of Spirit, then all possible (and lesser) modes of knowledge acquisition are included… yet also transcended. In this case, nothing is left out (or leftover) for Spirit is Everything as well as Nothing (i.e., existing within and as a result of the Empty-Full Vacuum). Hence, we can only rightly conclude: What a Divine Miracle! Do you not see?

The Dharmadhatu is ON!

The Miracle of Spirit-Energy: Seeing with the Eye of Spirit

Seeing the darkness is clarity;
Knowing how to yield is strength.
By using your own Light,
again return to Brightness (the Source of Light),
This is the way to be saved from harm,
This is called practicing Eternity.

— Lao Tzu (ca. 500 BCE) Tao Te Ching, Chapter 52

Light, when seen with “integral eyes,” or the Integral Vision, can have this strange but paradoxical quality of being both the Absolute Transcendent One as well the all-pervading presence or “Field” (of “Perfect Space”) that is immanent throughout all possible worlds and universes (embracing the Many). In this case, it is God-Light manifesting as all forms in the “emptiness” of the vacuum that can also be seen as the physical-energy manifestation of radiant “Spirit-Energy,” the “Primal Energy” of Real God (as Absolute Indivisible Light). As Ken Wilber pointed out in an integration of East and West:

Any physicist will tell you that all objects in the cosmos are simply various forms of a single Energy—and whether we call that Energy “Brahman,” “Tao,” “God,” or just plain “Energy” seems to me quite beside the point.[30]

This “blossoming forth” (the root meaning of physis) is what is “creating” or “unfolding” or “evolving” the entire universe or Kosmos.[31] However, as Adi Da (and other Awakened Adepts) wisely (and paradoxically) point out:

There is no “God” that is the “Creator” of the “world”. Real (Acausal) God Is the Context of the “world”. There is no “God” that is found by going “back” to the “beginning” or (otherwise) by going “forward” to the “end”. Real (Acausal) God is found only through the most perfect transcending of egoity—in present time, moment to moment.[32]

Through self-transcendence (or “ego-death”) the world is seen more clearly as it IS, as all the world's wisest Sages maintain. This driving evolving movement of light is what “Spirit-in-action” is really about as evolution unfolds its many forms and spheres (physis, bios, nous, theos), like the Tao manifesting the “ten thousand things” (or all holons). Spirit-Energy, in simple words, is the Immanence (or all-pervading emanation) of the Transcendent (or Absolute Indivisible Light), visions that are only truly seen with the Eye of Spirit. Light is not a “force,” per se, acting on physical processes, but is the “Force Field” from which all “forces” arise. Sadly this enlightened Integral Vision is overlooked by the “priesthood” at Integral with its emphasize on scientific materialism. Therefore, it's critical we turn to our Awakened Adepts to see (and know about) the real Way to the Truth of our holistic Divine Condition. Then we must test their suggestions with our own experience and understanding. This means we can integrate reason and science with mystical spirituality—seeing with Integral Vision. As only one example (among countless), Avatar Adi Da continues:

On the one hand, it is obvious that human beings are, in some sense, “material”. Therefore, there is an obvious legitimacy to the investigation (or rational examination) of the “material” nature of the human being (as a pattern or form). On the other hand, every conditionally manifested form is Always Already in the Condition of Inherent Unity with Fundamental Light—and, therefore, every conditionally manifested form is, simply, a modification of Fundamental Light. This Greater Truth is the Basis for the true religious and Spiritual approach to the investigation of conditional existence.[33]

By taking a true religious or genuine mystical approach to Reality (seen with the Eye of Spirit) then we shall see, as only an Adept can express so well:

When Inherently Indivisible Light, or Real God, Is (Apparently) Objectified to Itself, It Appears As The Cosmic Mandala Of all conditional worlds, forms, and beings. Thus, Inherently Indivisible Light, or Real God, Utterly Pervades all conditional worlds, forms, and beings. All conditional worlds, forms, and beings Thus Inhere In, Are “Lived” (or Sustained) By, Are Not Other Than, and Can Directly Realize A State Of Inherently Most Perfect Identification (or Indivisible Oneness) With Inherently Indivisible Light, or Real God. Inherently Indivisible Light, or Real God, Is The Literal or Inherent Condition, Substance, Reality, Quality, and Destiny Of all conditional worlds, forms, and beings.[34]

This means the evolving Kosmos (or Cosmic Mandala) is God, that God is the evolving Kosmos—Spirit-in-action—yet God is not limited to the Kosmos (or Cosmic Mandala). This is the Transcendent-Immanent paradox. By transcending the universe and point of view of the ego or separate self, we will see the always already Light of Consciousness, the Bright Spirit of God by using all Eyes of Vision: those of Flesh, of Mind, and of Spirit. Then we are truly Whole; then we live Free by transcending-yet-including the whole Kosmos in the “Bright” Divine Light of Real God, the Heart of Reality. What could be a greater “vision” than this? Only the heart really knows.

Through self-transcendence (or “ego-death”) the world is seen more clearly as it IS, as all the world's wisest Sages maintain.… This means that God is the evolving Kosmos—Spirit-in-action—yet God is not limited to the Kosmos (or Cosmic Mandala). This is the Transcendent-Immanent paradox.

Kosmos as Body of God—Envision That!

The soul in its nature loves God and longs to be at one with Him…
Thus we have all the vision that may be of Him and of ourselves;
but it is of a self wrought to splendor, brimmed with the Intellectual Light [Nous],
Pure, buoyant, unburdened, raised to Godhead or, better,
knowing the Godhead, all flame….
It is a knowing of the self restored to purity.

—Plotinus, The Enneads (ca. 270 CE)

Manifested light is Spirit-Energy coming from the Void or “Emptiness” of Absolute Fundamental Light (Dharmadhatu) that “creates” all things or holons (wholes that are parts of bigger wholes). Therefore, Energy can be seen esoterically as the “Body of God,” the living forms of the Formless, all the way up, all the way down, inside and out. It is Spirit-Energy—Spirit-in-action (Shakti)—that creates the atomic and molecular forms which combine to create the complex systems of Nature, from bosons to brains: the “Web of Life” is the “Web of Light” dancing in patterned rhythms. The Spirit-Energy of light pervades all systems and structures, from the smallest (quantum) to the largest (galactic). From the light-heat of the Big Bang to the light of the Sun comes the “flow” of energy moving through the eco-systems of Nature (of flora and fauna), the “current of life” flowing through the human compound body-mind complex enlivening our breath and beating heart. At best, through yoga and meditation, our esoteric anatomy of subtle-energies will spark alive with the prana of life and we will see visions of higher consciousness and, ultimately, of Divine Light. It is the radiant light of the Sun that generates the photosynthesis feeding plants, that then feeds fish and animals, that then feeds us, and so on—a Web of Life-Light! Professor Swimme wonderfully sees the science and mysticism of the Sun, our principle source of light and life here on Earth:

The Earth is just the tiniest fraction of the Sun's matter—only a millionth of the Sun's volume…. The Sun, each second, transforms four million tons of itself into light. Each second a huge chunk of the Sun vanishes into radiant energy that soars away in all directions….

The Sun is, with each second, giving itself over to become energy that we, with every meal, partake of. We so rarely reflect on this basic truth from biology, and yet its spiritual significance is supreme. The Sun converts itself into a flow of energy that photosynthesis changes into plants that are consumed by animals. So for four million years, humans [and proto-humans or hominids] have been feasting on the Sun's energy stored in the form of [berries or] wheat or maize or reindeer as each day the Sun dies and is reborn as the vitality of Earth. And those solar flares are in fact the very power of the vast human enterprise….

During the modern period when materialism [see Part 1 of my essay] came to dominate, such a suggestion would be rejected as “mere poetry.” We simply did not know that the actual energy coursing through our respiratory and nervous systems was bestowed upon us by the Sun and that our own vitality is a natural evolutionary development of the Sun's vitality…. Even as we take a single breath our energy dissipates and we need to be replenished all over again by the Sun's gift of fire [or light].[35]

Our life, our breathing, in other words, is active sunlight activating subtle energies circulating throughout our body-minds. Indeed, our modern civilizations run on ancient fossilized sunlight (as fossil fuels); our agriculture is fed by solar radiation and photosynthesis; our mind awakens by seeing the Light within. The flow of Spirit (or light) throughout Nature's natural systems is responsible for the health of the system as a whole in order for Gaia to sustain all Earthkind. Obstruction or contractions in the flow of Spirit-Energy, whether in the individual body-mind or the body of Nature, creates the knots and blocks leading to illness and disease (or ecological disaster).

Light must be breathed in again and again and circulated for optimum health to actively thrive on a planetary and individual level. By understanding the play of Light, the dance of Spirit-in-action, we can heal our planet and serve all beings, saving the human race from extinction—such is the mission behind the real Integral Vision. I suggest we all contribute to this worldview's expansion and improvement, not denigrate it with mockery; improve it if it ails, tweak it if it needs correcting, but honor its direction and purpose. Spirit-in-action is an evolutionary truth that must be seen by everyone for our health and the well-being of our planet Earth.

Without absolutizing physics or the world of gross matter-energy (the Physiosphere), Light becomes the story of the relative, the perpetually changing, the dynamically-energized, as well as leading us into directly seeing (and knowing) the Absolute Truth of Real God. Thus our sacred story includes such odd scientific facts as the strange paradox of the “photon,” the vibratory packets of light or “quanta” spanning and spinning and spiraling the entire spectrum of electromagnetic energy as it creates and energizes literally every holon in the Kosmos. Huston Smith, the eminent scholar of world religions, one of America's true religious Sages, in his book Why Religion Matters (2001) clearly outlines the profundity of light being described by physics as being the power of the universe:

Now let us spin all this around and look at it from light's point of view. Imagine yourself sitting on a particle. On that single “piece” (or quantum) of light you are going nowhere. You are weightless. There is neither time nor space, nor are there separated events…. Moreover, it would seem as if the world were pouring out of you, you and your fellow photons, because light creates. It pumps power into the spatio-temporal world. This is most obvious in the process of photosynthesis, where the immaterial light flowing from the Sun is transformed into the Earth's green carpet of vegetation. Plants absorb light's immaterial energy-flow and store it in the form of chemically bonded energy. If we look beneath biochemistry at nature's foundations, we see that light's creativity “comes to light” there through its early appearance in the sequence that produces matter in its successive stages.[36]

This dynamic dance involves the unifying “Force” or “Field” of the Void-Quantum Vacuum as expressions of Spirit-Energy underlying all forces and particles binding all atoms, molecules, galaxies, and other forms, uniting all existence as one Continuum in the Prior Unity of Divine Light. This isn't simply enchanted religion or personal beliefs or even esoteric yogic philosophy, but it is grounded in Reality as It IS, whether measured by scientist or mystic. It is these energy exchanges and interactions taking place altogether on all levels, in all quadrants, as all holons, that generates the entire AQAL Matrix (in integral terms), producing a vast hierarchy (or holarchy) of interiors and exteriors, “all the way up, all the down” (even atoms, for example, have interiors, such as prehension).

Light, in other words, makes up the cosmic, natural, and human realms of existence and beyond (those of gross, subtle, and causal energies)—layers upon layers, patterns within patterns, fields within fields, vibrations within vibrations, rhythms beating rhythms, nests within nests, holons within holons; a spectrum of One Reality. This is the entire expanse and depth of the evolving Kosmic Mandala of Spirit-in-action arising from the quantum to the cosmological, from the magnetic to the sentient, from low to high, from exteriors to interiors—all nothing but vibrating patterns of Light arising as the one Kosmos of Divine Spirit-Energy, the Radiant Presence of Real God, i.e., if you see it that way. Open your Eye of Spirit. Can you see the Light now? Can you feel it? Breathe it?

It's up to us to see It! NOW! We are It!

Enjoy God as your Consciousness of Love-Light and Eternal Bliss.

The Light is always already On!

5-pointed start

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four


[1] Adi Da Samraj, “Space-Time Is Love-Bliss” in Real God Is the Indivisible Oneness of Unbroken Light (2001), p. 218.

[2] See: The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe (2002) by Lynne McTaggart, for an excellent and thorough review of the scientific search for understanding the “Zero Point Field” and its implications, thus providing this paragraph with some of its scientific descriptions.

[3] Brian Swimme, The Heart of the Cosmos (1996), pp. 99-101.

[4] Timothy Ferris, Coming of Age in the Milky Way (1988), pp. 351-352; Richard Feynman, talk at the University of Southern California, December 6, 1983).

[5] Lynne McTaggart, The Field (2002), p. 23.

[6] Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics (1975), p. 223.

[7] Ervin Laszlo, Chapter 2: “The Rediscovery of the Akashic Field” in Science and the Reenchantment of the Cosmos (2006), pp. 26-27.

[8] Ken Wilber, No Boundary (1979), p. 42.

[9] Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics (1975), pp. 245, 244.

[10] Adi Da Samraj, “Indivisible Perfect Space” in The Aletheon (2009), p. 1773.

[11] See: Adi Da Samraj, “Indivisible Perfect Space” in The Aletheon (2009), p. 1757ff.

[12] Joseph Silk, The Big Bang (1980, 1989, 2001), p. 122.

[13] Adi Da Samraj, “Indivisible Perfect Space” in The Aletheon (2009), pp. 1772, 1766, 1772.

[14] Abhidharmasutra in In Praise of the Dharmadhatu (2007), translated by Karl Brunnhölzl, p. 84.

[15] Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977), p. 87.

[16] Nagarjuna, In Praise of the Dharmadhatu (2007), translated by Karl Brunnhölzl, p. 117.

[17] Karl Brunnhölzl, In Praise of the Dharmadhatu (2007), p. 63.

[18] Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977), p. 72.

[19] Nagarjuna, In Praise of the Dharmadhatu (2007), translated by Karl Brunnhölzl, pp. 119-127.

[20] See: Daniel Cozort, Highest Yoga Tantra (1986), p. 42: “In the context of Highest Yoga Tantra, yoga also refers to the union, in one consciousness, of the sublime and the profound—a sublime feeling of bliss combined with the profound realization that persons and other phenomena lack inherent existence.” Also see: Clear Light of Bliss (1982, 1995) by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, for further confirmation of this Vajrayana Tantra Buddhist perspective.

[21] Cyrus Stearns, The Buddha from Dolpo (1999), p. 83.

[22] See: In Praise of the Dharmadhatu (2007), translated by Karl Brunnhölzl, p. 68.

[23] See: Adi Da Samraj, Hridaya Rosary (Four Thorns of Heart-Instruction) (1997, 2005), for a full review of this esoteric anatomy (including “The Rose Garden Of The Heart”).

[24] Adi Da Samraj, The Aletheon (2009), pp. 1690-1691.

[25] Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977), p. 73.

[26] Ken Wilber, The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977), p. 72.

[27] Ken Wilber, Eye to Eye (19983, 1990), pp. 129-130 [emphasis added].

[28] Ken Wilber, Quantum Questions (1984), p. 16n.

[29] Ken Wilber, Quantum Questions (1984), p. 16n.

[30] Ken Wilber, No Boundary (1979), p. 42.

[31] See: Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics (1935, 2014).

[32] Adi Da Samraj, “Indivisible Perfect Space” Essay in The Aletheon (2009), p. 1763.

[33] Adi Da Samraj, “Space-Time Is Love-Bliss” in Real God Is the Indivisible Oneness of Unbroken Light (2001), p. 223.

[34] Adi Da Samraj, “Real God Is the Indivisible Oneness of Unbroken Light” in Real God Is the Indivisible Oneness of Unbroken Light (2001), p. 169.

[35] Brian Swimme, The Heart of the Cosmos (1996), pp. 39-42.

[36] Huston Smith, Why Religion Matters (2001, HarperSanFrancisco), p. 138.

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