Many years ago I watched a TV documentary which mentioned a tribe in Africa whose creator God was given the name Mulungu. But the word Mulungu is not only used by the people of the tribe to refer to their creator, but also to refer to any number of phenomena which are beyond their understanding. In other words if something happens which they do not understand or have no concept for, they quite often just say Mulungu. In the so-called developed world we might laugh at people like this and we may also believe ourselves to be more sophisticated or better educated. We have many more words in our language and we believe we understand a lot of concepts about which it might seem that other cultures have little or no understanding.

We have a number of words and phrases which we can use to talk about spiritual subjects including energy, vibration, resonance, consciousness, the subconscious and unconscious mind, divine, love, light and so on. But does the fact that we have more words to describe phenomena mean that we know any more about them? If you had to describe to someone what energy, vibration or consciousness actually is, would you be able to do it? Can you explain it to yourself?

Physical sciences deal with phenomena in the physical world. They detect movement, disturbances and fluctuations in anything that is physically measurable. Physical sciences study physical cause and effect. But what is the cause of a physical cause? If we believe in the theory of the Big Bang as opposed to any other creation story, we conclude that the cause of everything that has happened since the Big Bang can be traced back to a singular event in which the entire universe was born out of… what? Beyond that point no-one can say with any degree of certainty. What was the cause of the physical event called the Big Bang?

When it comes to any physical phenomena caused by humans, none of these phenomena occurs without human consciousness. Not only that, without consciousness we would not be able to perceive any phenomena at all and would therefore be unable to say anything whatsoever.

Critics may argue that it is possible to create machines which can cause phenomena and to detect physical phenomena and that these machines do not require consciousness but the fact is that all human activity and all human perception arise from consciousness. Also, human consciousness would be required in the first place to create any such machine.

And what can we say about consciousness with any degree of certainty? Very little. We can say that it exists or that it arises. Why it exists or how it arises is another matter altogether. Where does consciousness come from and what causes it to be?

It is not my intention to rekindle a debate which has been raging since the 1800s, namely which comes first, consciousness or matter (spiritually-biased people believe that consciousness gives rise to form and physically-biased people believe the reverse, that form gives rise to consciousness) because even if it were possible to prove the debate one way or the other, it would still leave the question of what gave rise to the one that was the original cause?

Where all of this is leading is this: many people talk about spiritual theories with a great deal of certainty and content themselves with saying things like “everything is energy” or “everything is vibration or consciousness” but to me that amounts to the same thing as saying “Mulungu”. No matter what you say you can’t adequately explain the words which you use in your explanations.

It seems as though the vast majority of all human experience exists within a kind of bubble and that the only way to really “know” about cause and effect beyond the physically detectable phenomena is to go beyond that bubble. It is like a veil which is drawn over our consciousness. It is like in the film The Truman Show in which the lead character begins to suspect that there is something about his life which does not make sense. Eventually he travels far away from his home and discovers the edge of the world. At the edge of the world he climbs a few steps and goes through a doorway to discover the true nature of the world from which he came. The film The Matrix is another beautiful example of the same concept.

If anything in our world is to make any sense at all there have to be further levels of consciousness beyond that of our current human consciousness.

No matter what you believe and no matter how certain you are about your beliefs, your perceptions of the world can only ever be models, maps and approximations. If you content yourself with your beliefs and conclude that you know all you need to know you will be shutting your mind off from new experience.

We indulge in intellectual pride when we believe we are smarter than other people or when we know all there is to know. We indulge in spiritual pride when we believe we are more spiritual than someone else or that we are more spiritually advanced in some way. Any form of pride amounts to the same thing, namely a puffing up of the ego, and we should therefore be mindful to practise humility as the necessary antidote.

If you keep your mind open to new information you may just make discoveries which take you into realms of consciousness and realms of experience about which you can now only dream. I say all of this, not to quash your beliefs, but to encourage you to greater heights. As Goethe said:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

Next Chapter: Self-Importance >>

*** This chapter is taken from my book The Light Within ***