THE WAY OF BEING
A MANUAL
COPYRIGHT © ANIL MITRA, Wednesday, September 9, 2020
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Contents

Essentials of the way of being  3

The aim of the way  7

The universe  8

Experience, being, power, and the universe  8

There is but one universe  9

The universe has no creator or effective cause  9

The void  10

The universe is the greatest possible  10

The existence of the universe is necessary  11

Individuals and civilizations  12

Paths to the ultimate  14

The aim of being  15

Being and the universe  15

Classes of being  15

The real metaphysics  16

Using the metaphysics  18

A program of realization  19

Program templates  21

Everyday template  21

Universal template  23

Reading  25

In print  25

The internet  26

Essentials of the way of being

The aim of the way,  6

The aim of the way is to live well in the present as inspired and shared discovery and realization of the ultimate.

The essentials of the way, p , emphasize realization. The subsequent narrative also presents present demonstration and conceptual foundation. Overview, outline,

The universe,  7

The universe is all being.

There is one universe and no other.

The universe has no creator or effective cause.

The void, which is the absence of being, exists.

The universe is the greatest possible.

Necessity is the cause of the existence of the universe and realization of the greatest possibility.

The universe is dynamically one (and there is, effectively, but one void). The universe phases between manifest and void form; it has identity.

The universe and its identity are limitless in every possible way—particularly, in form, variety, extension, duration, and peak of being.

Individuals and civilizations,  11

Individuals inherit the power of the universe for, otherwise, the universe would not be limitless.

Individuals and civilizations merge with the universe in its peaks.

Human limits are real but not absolute.

Birth, death, pain, and physical form are real but not absolute limits. Knowledge and fear of death may be employed as cathartic in living well in the present as one with endeavor toward the ultimate.

Paths to the ultimate,  13

There are effective, intelligent, enjoyed paths to the ultimate. To be on a path is not just to follow, but also to share and develop paths.

sangha—community and sharing pathways—is effective in discovery and realization.

The aim of being,  14

If enjoyment is a value, to be on a shared path is a human and moral imperative. To be on a path is a core ethic.

The aim of being is just the aim of the way of being—to live well in the present as the way to inspired and shared discovery and realization of the ultimate. To live well includes ethical living.

The best address of pain and other impediments is dual—therapeutic and engaging with a path. Though not the same, engaging in a path and therapy ought not to be distinct.

Being and the universe,  14

The real metaphysics,  15

The real metaphysics is a synthesis of (i) the universe as the greatest possible, (ii) pragmatic knowledge, (iii) experience of and in the world, (v) reflection, and (v) action, results in a real metaphysics that is a perfect instrument of realization.

Using the metaphysics,  17

To employ the system, we have appeal (i) to tradition and its approaches or methods, of which the foregoing captures a framework (ii) for the ideal part, to imagination subject to critical thought (iii) for likelihood of occurrences, to various paradigms such as mechanism and evolution as known in our cosmos.

A program of realization,  18

This program of realization will use two templates—everyday (immediate) and universal (toward the ultimate).

Outline of the everyday template—rise early (dedication and affirmation), meditative review (life – the way – the day), realize (yoga – work – share; reflection and work on projects), physical exploration (nature, art, society), evening renewal and community, and sleep early.

Outline of the universal template—being in the world, ideas (reflection – writing – sharing, publishing), becoming (nature with psyche; civilization, society, and artifact (technology), and community; the universal—peak, part known, and unknown—being in the universe.

Program templates,  20

Everyday template,  20

Universal template,  22

Reading,  24

In print,  24

The internet,  25

 

The aim of the way

• The aim of the way is to live well in the present as inspired and shared discovery and realization of the ultimate.

The aim defuses the tension between living and becoming (maintained by some ways), which are and should be sought to be in balance.

The essentials of the way, p 2, emphasize realization. The subsequent narrative also presents present demonstration and conceptual foundation. Overview, outline,

The way develops a non-standard and ultimate view of the universe as the greatest possible, p. 9. To understand and use the way, suspension of standard paradigms, immersion in the new, are essential; it may then be possible and desirable to mesh the new view with the old. Except informal use, it is essential reading to adhere to the definitions, which are marked by small capitals.

A bullet (•) indicate essential content. Daggers (†) mark consequences of the fundamental principle, p 9. Two daggers (††) indicate consequences of the real metaphysics, p 15. The consequences may follow directly or also depend on earlier results.

The universe

Experience, being, power, and the universe

experience is consciousness—conscious or subjective awareness in all its forms—perceiving, thinking, feeling, emoting, willing, intending, causing, acting, and more. There is experience of (concept), passive and active, and the experienced (‘referent’ or ‘object’)—which is the world which includes experience itself. It is the place of real knowing. When the referent is no more than experience, it is ‘pure experience’. There is a sense in which we never get out of experience. Thus, though it is not all that is significant, it is the place of significance—and thus the effective place of our being and kind of being—and of real and instrumental living, change, transformation, and realization of ultimates.

a being is that which is—i.e., that which exists; being is existence. The sense of ‘is’ in ‘that which is’ is trans-spatiotemporal—i.e., within, enmeshed with, or beyond the arena of spacetime. Since being refers to no other foundation, it avoids hypothetical substance and, potentially, infinite regress. The way realizes this potential.

The hypothetical being that has no direct or indirect on experience is effectively nonexistent.

Identity is sense of sameness of self or other existent.

An individual or person is a being, with identity of form and awareness, for whom the awareness is perceptual, feeling, conceptual, and capable of choice, will, and action.

power is interaction or effective cause—having or receiving effect (self or other). The hypothetical being that has no power is nonexistent.

There is but one universe

• The universe is all being.

There is one universe and no other.

The universe has no creator or effective cause

There is no other being to create or effectively cause the universe; and self cause presumes the universe to be manifest before it is manifest.

• The universe has no creator or effective cause.

The void is the being—or a being—that contains no beings except itself.

The void

• The void, which is the absence of being, exists.

Existence of the void follows from equivalence of its existence and non-existence. This may be doubted. However, existence of the void is consistent with experience of the world and reason. Therefore, existence of the void may be regarded as a rational and existential postulate.

The universe is the greatest possible

laws of nature are patterns; patterns are immanent in the world and therefore have being.

In the void there are no laws.

Reference to a being without a concept (‘experience of the being’) is without meaning. This does not say that the concept creates or is the being. Rather, a being is equivalent to a net aggregate of direct and indirect experiences of it—by itself and other being.

A being is possible if its conception does not rule out existence. The possibility is real if the laws or patterns do not rule out existence. The concept itself may rule out existence; the conditions on a concept to not rule out existence are called logical; in this case the being is called logically possible.

If all that is possible did not emerge from the void, that would constitute a law of the void. Therefore—

• The universe is the greatest possible.

This assertion is named the fundamental principle of metaphysics.

It is clear that the greatest possibility cannot exceed logical possibility. However, for the logically possible to not emerge from the void would be a law. Therefore, the greatest and logical possibilities are identical.

Note that ‘greatest possible’ includes the good but does not mean ‘best of all possible worlds’. It means that if a being is possible, it is in the universe.

The existence of the universe is necessary

• Necessity is the cause of the existence of the universe and realization of the greatest possibility.

From its definition it was seen that there is numerically one universe.

• The universe is dynamically one (and there is, effectively, but one void). The universe phases between manifest and void form; it has identity.

The conclusions above are simple consequences of the definition of ‘universe’ and the fundamental principle.

An example of a ‘method of using the fundamental principle’ now emerges. Imagine or conceive any being (or aspect of a being, which, in any case, is also a being); then, provided the concept is logical, the being exists (this ‘method’ will be extended in § using the real metaphysics, p 16).

•† The universe and its identity are limitless in every possible way—particularly, in form, variety, extension, duration, and peak of being.

Individuals and civilizations

•† Individuals inherit the power of the universe for, otherwise, the universe would not be limitless.

† The individual is the universe.

† There is no being that is eternally isolated. Beings and being are essentially relational. What is thought of as a non-experiential being is a being whose experientiality is zero. That is, in an extended sense of experience, experience and relation are identical. The being that has no effect on or in experience does not exist.

† Our civilization is one of limitlessly many across the universe.

•† Individuals and civilizations merge with the universe in its peaks.

† This realization is given.

† While a ‘limited being’ has limits noted below, those are local limits; relative to the extent and duration of the universe, all beings are limitless; all beings have freedom without limit except the limits of all being.

† The universe may be viewed as a block which contains the trajectories of all beings. A given being is the intersection of multiple trajectories; the merging of individuals in peaks, followed dissolutions, occurs in the intersection and divergence of the trajectories.

•† Human limits are real but not absolute.

•† Birth, death, pain, and physical form are real but not absolute limits. Knowledge and fear of death may be employed as cathartic in living well in the present as one with endeavor toward the ultimate.

† That the ultimate is realized by all individuals is given. But effective realization of the ultimate is found in commitment to this life and the ultimate. Intimate acquaintance with death and fear is transformative.

† For some individuals, seeing and realizing the ultimate is a continuous and visible thread, beginning in this life. It is so for all beings, except when the quality of vision is limited and, therefore, the truth may be hidden. Where we do not have full vision from the present, it is acquired in merging with others, beyond this life.

Paths to the ultimate

•† There are effective, intelligent, enjoyed paths to the ultimate. To be on a path is not just to follow, but also to share and develop paths.

The way is process.

sangha—community and sharing pathways—is effective in discovery and realization.

The aim of being

• If enjoyment is a value, to be on a shared path is a human and moral imperative. To be on a path is a core ethic.

• The aim of being is just the aim of the way of being—to live well in the present as the way to inspired and shared discovery and realization of the ultimate. To live well includes ethical living.

• The best address of pain and other impediments is dual—therapeutic and engaging with a path. Though not the same, engaging in a path and therapy ought not to be distinct.

Being and the universe

Classes of being

The categories or classes of being are classes at or just below being in inclusiveness, chosen for effectiveness in understanding and reason.

Begin with ideal classes of being, two aspects of being itself—direct and experience of (intrinsic, concept) and the experienced (instrumental, referent or object)—i.e., psyche or mind and world (world includes mind). Note that because experience is experienced, the distinction between the intrinsic and the instrumental is a continuum.

To add a practical complement, we may use a system of the culture in which we live. Such systems are invariably imperfect relative to ‘ideal knowledge’. However, if imperfection is invariable, the imperfect is the only instrument in realization of the ultimate and, given the inevitability of the ultimate, the imperfect is perfect relative to that goal. In a western worldview, the world divides into the following pragmatic classes of being: nature (which contrasts to the artificial or constructed and includes the elementary or physical at a range of scales from micro to cosmological and more, the complex or living, and psyche—the experiential or mental aspect of nature), society (at least partially constructed and includes civilization and artifact or technology), and the peak, part known, and unknown elements of the universe.

The real metaphysics

Tradition will mean—what is valid in cumulative cultural history (inclusive of art, science, and technology), of in process and enhanced by reflection, experiment and action, and learning.

† There are two systems of understanding—the ideal and tradition or the pragmatic. The ideal shows an ultimate real and value and so illuminates and guides the pragmatic; the pragmatic illustrates and is instrumental toward the ideal. The pragmatic is ‘limited truth’ according to traditional criteria of perfect faithfulness. However, the pragmatic is the only and therefore ‘best’ instrument so far in realization. Thus, in terms of the ethic of realization, the pragmatic has an ideal or perfect character (and the ideal may be seen as a limit of the pragmatic). Thus, the ideal and the pragmatic constitute a single perfect system for living in the world and realization of the ultimate. This system is named the real metaphysics. In summary and conclusion—

• The real metaphysics is a synthesis of (i) the universe as the greatest possible, (ii) pragmatic knowledge, (iii) experience of and in the world, (v) reflection, and (v) action, results in a real metaphysics that is a perfect instrument of realization.

Using the metaphysics

• To employ the system, we have appeal (i) to tradition and its approaches or methods, of which the foregoing captures a framework (ii) for the ideal part, to imagination subject to critical thought (iii) for likelihood of occurrences, to various paradigms such as mechanism and evolution as known in our cosmos.

Consequences of the real metaphysics are marked ††. Examples follow.

†† To see how individuals merge as one, consider that the ‘individual’ is a unity of individuals, and, by analogy, the one is a unity of the many. Though introduced by analogy, this is logically possible and therefore necessarily realized.

†† The cosmos in which we live is one of limitlessly many, which are relatively stable and symmetric in form, and, which, together are limitless in magnitude and quality—and which are in transient transaction with the void. This description is—most likely—inadequate to convey the variety of being.

†† To see why the majority of cosmoses would be formed, analogy from the theory of evolution, suggests an incremental emergence in which forms with near symmetry are more stable, and it is longevity, which results from stability, that accounts for the majority. Cosmoses with intelligent experiential beings would obviously the ones that are recognized.

A program of realization

• This program of realization will use two templates—everyday (immediate) and universal (toward the ultimate).

To make the range comprehensive,  the templates draw from the ideal and pragmatic classes of being, p 14. The ideal classes are reflected in both templates—the experienced or intrinsic is especially significant as the place of being and ‘becoming’. Intrinsic means, e.g. meditation, are supported by the instrumental—e.g. hatha yoga and technology. The pragmatic classes are reflected, especially in the universal template.

The pragmatic classes of being are psyche, nature, civilization (society), and the peak, part known, and unknown. These classes are reflected in the templates, especially the universal template.

An outline of templates follows (details follow in path templates for realization, p 20). The templates, derived from experience with the program of realization, p 18, are rendered adaptable to a range of circumstances and personal orientations. They are intended to be adapted and modified.

Outline of the everyday templaterise early (dedication and affirmation), meditative review (life – the way – the day), realize (yoga – work – share; reflection and work on projects), physical exploration (nature, art, society), evening renewal and community, and sleep early.

Notesyoga includes meditation; practice extend to action throughout the day (the reading has sources on yoga).

•† Outline of the universal templatebeing in the world, ideas (reflection – writing – sharing, publishing), becoming (nature with psyche; civilization, society, and artifact (technology), and community; the universal—peak, part known, and unknown—being in the universe.

Notes—the areas of activity are driven by the ideal and pragmatic classes of being, p 14. The templates below outline an explicit and in principle complete program.

Program templates

Supporting material and versions of templates with greater detail and explanation are linked in reading, p 24.

Everyday template

Time

Activity

 

Rise early—before the sun, dedicate to the way and its aim, affirm the universal nature of being. Morning reflection in nature. Breakfast.

 

Meditative-contemplative review priorities and plans—life, the day, the way. Reflect on realization, priorities, and means; employ simple reflection, (calming—Shamatha—for re-orientation of purpose and energy, contemplative or analytical meditation—Vipasana—to see what is essential now and in other time frames; see the discussion of experimental yoga).

 

Realization—(a) work, (b) care and relationships—networking, (c) ideas and action, (c) experimental and structured yoga-exercise-meditation-share in practice and in action, (d) other activities or ‘engagement in the world’—e.g., languages, art.

 

Tasks—daily and long term; midday meal. Attitude—in tasks and toward others and the world—an element of realization; light; yoga in action. May merge with Realization.

 

Physical activity—exercise and exploration of the worlds of nature and culture for discovery and inspiration.

 

Evening rest, renewal, review, meditation and realization, network, community, tasks, supper, preparation-dedication for the next day and future. Sleep early.

Universal template

1.     

Being in the world—Dimensions (a) Pure being (b) Community (c) Retreat for experience of the real.

2.     

Ideas—Dimensions (a) relation, knowing (as relation to the world); reason and art (b) acting (effectively, creating the real). Means—reason, yoga (meditation), and the real metaphysics, p 15.

3.     

Becoming—Dimension: nature as catalyst to the real. Animal being and devolution—observation, situational empathy, defocus, reason.

4.     

Becoming—Dimension: society. Civilization as vehicle and path to the real. Transformation via psyche—by immersion in social groups as place of being and catalyst to the real.

5.     

Becoming—Dimension: artifact. Civilizing the universe (especially technology as enhancing being in the universe)—universe as peak consciousness via spread of sapient being.

6.     

Becoming—Dimensions: universal, incompletely known. The common way from self to peak being (Atman to Brahman), via the block universe and extended secular worlds consistent with experience of and in the world.

7.     

Being in the universe—Dimension: universal. Realizing Being (Brahman) in the present. Apparently, rarely achieved in ‘this life’ which is a beginning that is continued beyond death. Outcome of items #2 to #6. The means are in the previous dimensions and open.

 

 

Reading

This work outlines a way shared discovery and realization of the ultimate. It does not define a complete program. Indeed, it ought not to, for a real program, it was found, is not just to follow but also to forge paths. The suggested readings supplement the way.

In print

(i)     Ian Baker, The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet’s Lost Paradise, 2004. An exploration of travel to the heart of nature as means of self-transformation.

(ii)    Chagdud Tulku, Gates to Buddhist Practice: Essential Teachings of a Tibetan Master, 1993, Rev. 2001. A readable account of Tibetan Buddhism, its worldview, and practice. Has practical advice, based in the worldview, on dealing with everyday issues, especially blocks to being on a path.

(iii)  John Hick, The Fifth Dimension: An Exploration of the Spiritual Realm, 1999. An excellent account of the meaning and reality of spirituality from within the worldview from modern science.

(iv)  Christopher Wallis, Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition, 2nd ed., 2013. An immense source of ritual for those who may be interested. Somewhat aligned with Tibetan Buddhism.

(v)    Pema Chödrön, How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind, 2013. On the practice of meditation and its use in becoming centered—in living well with one’s imperfect self. The book is open with regard to aims of meditation.

(vi)  Eknath Easwaran, trs., The Bhagavad Gita, 1985. A practical guide to a world view similar to that in this work, as well as an account of the realms of Yoga.

(vii)   Richard K. Nelson, Make Prayers to the Raven: A Koyukon View of the Northern Forest, 1983. Nice account of a primal world view and way of life.

The internet

The internet pages below are reading suggestions for a program and its development. The links are to the way of being site, http://www.horizons-2000.org, and other sites. The page for the links is at http://www.horizons-2000.org/2020/reading.html.

(i)     Everyday and universal templates for action—with further resources.

(ii)    For a system of knowledge based in the real metaphysics, a system of human knowledge, reason, practice, and action. It attempts to synthesize and go beyond sources that include the ancient and the modern, the eastern and the western.

(iii)  The way of being and other essays linked from the site above.

(iv)  The main influences on my thought.

(v)    For its suggestiveness for the background metaphysics, the framework of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein.

(vi)  For a program of action in our world, a journey in being: problems and opportunities.

(vii)   Background on yoga in traditional and modern approaches to living in the world as a system of realization and on the ultimate nature of the self. For more on yoga, see A Sourcebook In Indian philosophy by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore.