…we are only aware of 2,000 bits of information out of the 400 billion bits of information we are processing per second… -What the *bleep* do we know?
According to science (and common sense), our experience of reality is dated. It is said it takes about 80 ms for us to process, and present, the data we have received. It takes time for nerves to pass along the signal, and more time for it to be filtered. Our picture of the world is, from the inception, history. Strangely, there is evidence this is not 100% true. Certain responses happen far quicker than would be expected if this were always true. When you touch something incredibly hot, you will withdraw your finger very quickly, faster than it would take for a hot signal to be passed to your brain, and returned to your finger. But, for the most part, everything you see, smell, touch, taste and hear already happened.
While Vipasana has very few hard set rules, one of its goals is stated to be “be here now”, what is called being “mindful.” Through practice, we move to eliminate the filters, shorten the lag of experience from 80 ms towards zero, and live closer to the true now. if the world I see is 80 ms old, what does the world really look like now? As we remove the filters that compress 400 billion bits to 200 bits, do we experience more of the information? I once heard a shaman comment that if you ever experienced the now, it would most likely drive you mad. Toss a ball straight up in the air. It goes up, it stops, and it comes back down. Here’s a question, how long does it stop? It MUST stop, logic demands it, and yet, mathematics predicts the answer only “approaches zero,” so it never does actually stop. Is it the same with being in the now? If, even through long work we can get infinitely close to the true “now,” can we ever actually reach it?
A thought arises, we can observe it without involvement, and watch it fall away, and then experience the silence between thoughts. With practice we can concentrate not on the thoughts, but on what lies between them. This experience invariable comes for me with time dilation. With more practice I can remain in the space between thoughts for what seems like a very long time. Thoughts follow the stream of time, consciousness does not. My sense is that we do not so much turn off the thoughts as we do slow down the time it takes for one to arise. I believe that in order for me to truly be here now, I would have to stop time. I also believe it’s possible, and happens all the time. The mystics call it “enlightenment.” The amount of energy required to do this is probably enormous, and I really imagine that I would not be able to maintain the experience. It is widely commented that the experience is worth the work. I am still doing the work, so I can’t speak to the experience yet. One thing I have taken away from it is that thoughts, and what is commonly believed to be “consciousness” is a shell of reality we wrap around ourselves. In truth, consciousness is quite different. When everything else is gone, it remains. Everything we experience arises from the foundation of consciousness.