Book Commentary on COLLIDER by Chris Hejmanowski March 1, 2013Posted by rwf1954 in afterlife, book review, books, Chris Hejmanowski, Collider, consciousness, metaphysics, novel, novel review, spirituality.
Tags: afterlife, book commentary, book review, books, Chris Hejmanowski, Collider, consciousness, metaphysics, novel, novel review, spirituality
Collider, written by Chris Hejmanowski, is a novel that makes an ambitious attempt to blend physics and metaphysics (an idea I have been playing with since I predicted a completed union of the two by the year 3000 in my essay published in on-line journal “New Works Review” – “Predictions for the Next Millennium”). From my perspective, for my priorities, Collider spends more time on the imagery of heaven and hell in the afterlife, and on the demons in hell, than on the science. But the attempt to link the two is present and stimulates thought processes toward this grand, for some unthinkable, unification. So I am commenting about this book today, recommending it to people interested in this subject.
Collider is the story of particle physicist Fin Canty, on the verge of a trip to the CERN particle collider to evaluate what may be a seminal particle physics discovery when he is killed in what appears to be random gang violence. (As the novel unfolds, we find out Canty’s death was not random at all.) His post-death choice to leave heaven to pursue his toddler daughter, who has ended up in hell after being killed as a result of the same gang violence, brings him into contact with vivid, horrifying imagery and sensations. The result of his efforts to rescue his innocent daughter burst forth into the consciousness of living humanity with the potential of creating a bridge between science and the Divine.
Within the action of Fin Canty’s struggle in the afterlife, and the investigations of the still-living characters into Fin Canty’s murder and its aftermath, Hejmanowski addresses issues of faith and belief. The strength of Fin Canty’s faith serves him well. But faith also warps some of the other characters’ motivations and behaviors. Faith and belief are very much double-edged swords for Good or Evil in Collider.
Collider is a vivid, suspense-filled story set within cutting-edge physics suggesting a union between science and religion—entertaining and thought-provoking simultaneously.
Also/Afterthought: I enjoyed the quote at the beginning of Hejmanowski’s novel from Albert Einstein: “Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” I think this quote reflects the human limitations of perceiving reality. We are only capable of perceiving what is available to our own three/four dimensional space/time frame of reference. I would not use the word “illusion,” unless we want to call reality a shared illusion. I have read that cats occupy the same locales as their pet-owners, but experience a very different reality with different focuses and priorities. This is “relativity” demonstrated at its most basic level. I think we humans face the same issue. But, it is a persistent reality we occupy—even if we understand we may not perceive what other consciousnesses perceive, this is what we have! Perhaps a more accurate quote would be: “Reality may shift depending upon the perceptive capabilities of the consciousness experiencing it, but we have only our own perceptive tools available, so are stuck with reality the way it is.” On second thought—Einstein, yours is simpler, and more elegant!
I explore these issues in other blog posts on this subject:
Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness – Commentary on Dr. Eben Alexander’s book PROOF OF HEAVEN February 1, 2013Posted by rwf1954 in afterlife, consciousness, Eben Alexander, metaphysics, nature of reality, nde, near death experience, Proof of Heaven, spirituality.
Tags: afterlife, consciousness, Eben Alexander, metaphysics, nature of reality, nde, near death experience, Proof of Heaven, spirituality
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At the beginning of the year 2000, at the outset of the new millennium, I wrote about my predictions for the next one thousand years (published in an on-line journal “New Works Review.” My most “out-of-the-box” prediction was that science and religion, physics and metaphysics, would join—the spiritual world would come together with the material. Since then, I have gone into my own speculations about the subject, very conscious of the daunting nature of the subject and how I am trying to skip centuries ahead of my own prediction. But I have seen signs that this predicted union inches closer and closer. Proof of Heaven, written by Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon, brings us a piece of the puzzle. I found this book invigorating, inspiring and a harbinger of what I hope will be a spiritual leap forward for humanity, as elaborated in my year 2000 prediction for the year 3000.
Basically, Proof of Heaven is a chronicle of Dr. Alexander’s near-death experience when he becomes deathly ill with E. coli bacterial meningitis. Of course, near-death experiences have been described in diverse publications for many years. What makes this one different is that Dr. Alexander is a highly trained specialist in the human nervous system and human brain function. He acknowledges he would have previously explained near-death experiences as the final convulsions of dying brains, illusions, spiritual mirages tantalizing the fading consciousnesses of purely material beings. His transformation from that point of view into his certain embrace of a spiritual component of reality, and of “life-after-death,”—with all his training and indoctrination into a material medical way of thinking—makes this story compelling. If he was a different person, we might offer some explanations as to why he would offer this story. Maybe he is a person easily fooled by his brain’s malfunction. Maybe he is a person looking for money or attention. But the truth is, this is an individual who would be extremely unlikely to be fooled by brain malfunction. This is a prosperous person not in need of a bestseller for money or status. In fact, Dr. Alexander specifically refers to people “with medical degrees” as the most likely to be skeptical of the description he gave of his experiences. So this book could well hurt his status as a still-practicing doctor.
Of course, I recommend reading the entire book, and I’m hoping most people who come across this post have already read the book and are interested in discussions about the joining of physics and metaphysics this book is certain to generate. This post is not intended as a book review—I am relating Dr. Alexander’s book to some of my own thinking on the potential unification of science and religion, of physics and metaphysics.
During this post I will refer to two of my previous blog posts about the issues raised by Dr. Alexander’s book:
- Dr. Alexander makes it clear he was not suffering from a sick, poorly functioning brain—“the neocortex was out of the picture” during his experience, he “existed completely free of the limitations” of his physical brain. This refutes any theory that Dr. Alexander simply experienced the sensations of a brain in its death throes.
- Dr. Alexander discusses the difficulties of communicating his experiences, what he learned, within the limitations of human communications capabilities. He describes for us imagery and sensations, but we sense his frustration as his words are clearly inadequate to convey the full scope of his recollections. He says “I’m struggling to give you the vaguest, most completely unsatisfactory picture of… the single most real experience of my life.” As I discussed in Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness II, we are interacting energy fields with the limitations of our unique human sensory abilities. Dr. Alexander refers to entering what I call in Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness the “all-consciousness.” He cannot relate this entire experience to us because of human perceptive limitations. A challenge we have as humans, on our journey toward unifying the material and the spiritual, is to identify what is knowable and pursue that knowledge with all our ingenuity and creativity, and to identify what is unknowable, and not chase the unknowable or even worse, argue or fight about it. This, of course, is much easier said than done.
- Dr. Alexander mentions instant knowledge and understanding. I believe this addresses another issue I have previously discussed. Time, time’s forward arrow, is a perceptive tool reserved for humans. I believe time, in the ultimate reality, in the all-consciousness, does not exist as we perceive it—in arrow form, in strings of causes and effects. Everything exists always—simultaneously. Dr. Alexander experienced this. Knowledge exists always. There is no time needed to learn. Learning is a time-dependent, time-arrow activity. Instant knowledge comes from immersion into the all-consciousness.
- Dr. Alexander says “certain members of the scientific community, who are pledged to the materialist worldview, have insisted again and again that science and spirituality cannot coexist. They are mistaken.” Thank you, Doctor. Well said. For most of humanity’s existence, we have sensed a higher power. Now, in a few centuries, we are rejecting all of that? Are we really so much smarter than all those past human beings? Should we really be so smug and arrogant that we discard spirituality, with a casual dogmatism, with a narrow-mindedness that adherents to the scientific method should categorically reject?
- In my meditations on these issues, I have wondered why we are treated to such a small slice of consciousness, and why we can’t tap into more of it during our lives. More disturbingly, I wonder why the death of the brain should free us to tap in to more of the all-consciousness—common sense points to the opposite idea. Dr. Alexander offers an answer. From his near death experience, he learned “the brain itself doesn’t produce consciousness… it is, instead, a kind of reducing valve or filter, shifting the larger, nonphysical consciousness that we possess in the nonphysical worlds down into a more limited capacity for the duration of our mortal lives.” He goes on to explain the advantages of this. In my words, the interconnected energy fields that make up our physical reality are full of gigantic amounts of information. We need filters to simplify all of this so we can function in our narrow human existences. Life is a gift of intense, narrow sensations, captivated into three/four-dimensional space/time. Dr. Alexander hints at an “afterlife” existence that blends us with the all-consciousness, but which would surely lack some of the focus our narrow perceptive abilities require—and grant to us as a result of that requirement.
- Dr. Alexander now understands explanations for “dark matter” and “dark energy.” Good luck with that one, folks. We only know about these phenomena by implication, by mathematical calculation. Right now, no one can even find this stuff to study it.
- Dr. Alexander also discusses good, evil and free will. Free will seems an elemental part of the gift of life. But if there is free will, good and evil have to follow. The ability to make choices make it absolutely unavoidable. He says he became aware of much more good than evil. I hope he is right. I’m not sure this necessarily follows logically, at least from the information we are working with. He does say “beings” in the “worlds above” are watching us as we “grow toward the Divine.”
- How do we “grow toward the Divine?” Love. I was gratified to read this, because I wrote specifically about this in the seventh paragraph of Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness. I mentioned the difficulty of maintaining that love. Dr. Alexander’s experiences may help guide us toward a way to find it more often, and more widely. Perhaps confidence in an afterlife of the type described by Dr. Alexander could help humanity in that direction.
- Dr. Alexander mentions religion and discusses an important distinction: “I didn’t just believe in God; I knew God.” He describes an incident after stepping up to take communion with tears streaming down his cheeks. I couldn’t help but think Dr. Alexander, with the experiences he describes, would not limit God to one religion. I think his experiences also argue there could well be more than one path to God. I mean, do we really think that God, the Divine, the all-consciousness, has finished revealing Itself/Himself/Herself? That just a few spiritual sages from humanity’s past, pre-scientific revolution sages, have given us our religions and there is no more spiritual discovery to come?
- Dr. Alexander takes on quantum physics, cutting edge knowledge science has to offer us on the elemental nature of our physical reality, bringing those ideas into the context of his experiences. He says “on the subatomic level… this universe of separate objects turns out to be a complete illusion. In the realm of the super-super-small, every object in the physical universe is intimately connected with every other object. In fact, there are really no ‘objects’ in the world at all, only vibrations of energy and relationships.” This, to me, leads to the inevitable conclusion that everything exists always—I go into details on this in Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness II. Why should we assume an interconnectedness only at the quantum level? I think Dr. Alexander’s spiritual experience, and his insights linking his cutting edge spiritual experience with cutting-edge physics, leads us to this conclusion.
- Dr. Alexander discusses our still barely rudimentary understanding of consciousness. He suggests “we live in the dimensions of familiar space and time, hemmed in by the peculiar limitations of our sensory organs and by our perceptual scaling within the spectrum from the subatomic quantum up through the entire universe.” My suggestion—the all-consciousness may well exist as a single point. Our own piece of consciousness creates our perceptions of size and dimension beyond that point.
Yes, I know at times during his post, I seem to be saying “Hey, I mentioned this in my previous blog posts.” What I am really saying is “Hey, Dr. Alexander, I get it. Not at a level of direct experience like you, but I get it. It makes sense to me.” I invite others to comment if they “get it” too.
Dr. Alexander has a website set up for further development of these ideas:
Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness II October 7, 2011Posted by rwf1954 in consciousness, metaphysics, nature of reality, spirituality, Uncategorized.
Tags: consciousness, metaphysics, nature of reality, spirituality
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(This follows “Meditations of Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness,” originally posted on August 30, 2011.)
We exist as a series of energies arrayed in entangled fields. Our senses sift through these energy fields, creating our own unique human perceptions of reality.
Human science has attempted to poke and probe physical reality into revealing its nature. At the micro level, we have gone from molecules to atoms to electron/neutron/protons to quarks. At the level of the tiniest particles we have found there is a lot of space between particles, and the particles seem to be in constant motion. At the extreme micro level, this leads to one of the truly mind-boggling aspects of quantum physics—that the act of measuring a particle’s position and direction changes that particle’s position and direction, and that the best we can do to designate position and direction is to use probability formulas. We perceive solids, but these solids are really full of space, with tiny particles in motion, teeming with energy. Various forces rule these particles, forces that harness the energies of all these particle motions into fields. The interactions of these energy fields hold atoms, molecules and larger perceived solids together.
At the macro level, we have looked out as close as we can to the edge of what we perceive as an expanding universe. A consistent finding is that there is a lot of space between the various celestial bodies we are looking at. And our best measurements show “space” expanding at break-neck speeds, with everything in motion. We perceive reality as having a general lack of motion unless something is done to start the motion. (This is one of Newton’s basic laws of physics.) As I write these words, I’m stationary with pencil and paper (and eventually will be stationary with my word processor). But I am actually on a spinning planet, hurtling through space in orbit around a star, which itself is part of a moving galaxy, occupying an expanding space, with constituent parts accelerating away from each other and all the other galaxies. Here I am, this shimmering bundle of countless energy fields bound together, flying through space, but somehow able to contemplate the nature of it all, and perceiving myself as solid, interacting with stationary objects.
We human beings consist of a complex set of energy fields, forming a unit of consciousness, one of many such units on the planet, and likely one of even more consciousness units in the universe. As I suggested in “Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness” (August 30, 2011), consciousness is the key understanding the nature of reality and to bridging physics and metaphysics. The truth is, we barely know what consciousness is. Some argue it is entirely a product of brain, that mind completely derives from the chemical/physical reactions taking place within our skulls. When brain dies, consciousness ends. That view assumes there is only physical reality. But any contemplation of “mind,” of what we as humans are capable of with “mind,” seems to counter this idea. We suspect there has to be more than the physical—we encounter the evidence in our minds every moment. But can we cite any evidence for consciousness existing beyond brain?
Here we run into the quantum physics observation problem again. How can we reliably observe the intricacies of our own faculties without influencing the results of our own observations? Can we step out of our own orientation toward reality to make sense of how we come to understand and experience reality? This is a mind-bending task, a task that requires a willingness to throw over every assumption about reality that our education and even our senses provide to us. We will likely be looking at indirect evidence of something like the all-consciousness that I described in “Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness,”—God, or a god-force.
One huge piece of indirect evidence of something beyond only physics, beyond only a massive cauldron of interacting energy fields somehow accidentally leading to the extraordinary gift of consciousness, is provided by discoveries in physics. The universe as we know it would not be possible without a number of fundamental constants of the physical universe existing exactly as they exist. This includes constants like an atom’s mass number, Avogadro’s number in chemistry, Newton’s gravitational constant, Planck’s constant—this mentions only a few of many such constants identified by physics. If one of these basic constants was just a hair different, reality would be totally different, and life, therefore brain, could never have come into existence. Could our universe really be a lucky accident, or is there something beyond brain, beyond mere overlapping energy fields, that explains this extraordinary convergence of universal constants to create our reality? Does this imply an all-consciousness force/creator beyond physical, beyond brain, that we touch with mind? And no, we can’t say there is an obvious answer to these questions. There could be, over the vast time-scale of existence, an infinite number of “big-bangs,” forming all sorts of universes where these constants did not come together in the right combinations to form what we know as our own personal, tailor-made universe. We’re only conscious of the one that works. The rest? Just a lot of energies flying around in nothingness with no conscious life-form available to turn them from nothing into something.
But we don’t perceive the world as a cauldron of energy fields. We sense separateness—solids, colors, sounds. We share this basic perception of reality with all our fellow human beings. We may actually share the universe with other consciousnesses we are not aware of because we do not share their way of experiencing this cauldron of energy fields, their “consciousness lenses” as I called them in “Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness.”
So how do we absorb reality? First, we experience a time arrow. This is fundamental to our interface with the cauldron of energies. I believe (here is a word—needed when the unprovable comes in) that everything exists always. I have read “Big Bang scientists” say that at the beginning, everything was in contact with everything else as a small point of extremely hot, dense matter/energy/forces scrunched together under enormous pressure. Why isn’t that still true? Just time and space as separation? The results of quantum physics experiments show particles continue to interact with each other over vast distances, seeming to disregard the speed of light for whatever force is at work during the interactions. The best explanation is that these particles are still connected—they are always connected! They seem oblivious to any time arrow, existing as if there is no time arrow. This is because time’s arrow is built into us as an observational tool, as a way of sorting and understanding reality. But overall, reality makes more sense if everything exists always, and we occupy a small part of the total existence. The findings of the physical sciences, the apparent infinities as part of what we perceive as a finite universe—these may be explained with the idea that everything exists always.
Also offered in “Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness,” is the idea that our piece of the all-consciousness is like a gleam along the vast gem of the all-consciousness. Time’s arrow, the perception of space—really it’s a space-time arrow—and our senses, are gifts to allow us to experience our gleam in the all-consciousness gem.
Our physical senses are identified as sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Sight allows us to perceive light and form it into colors, shapes and distances. Our eyes and brain work together to process this information, inverting images, even filling in blind spots. (This has been confirmed experimentally).
Our ears take vibrations and turn them into sound. Again, our brain aids in the processing of this information. The perception of sound gives us the great pleasure of music, a gift that brings extraordinary joy to me personally. Music brings something beyond vibration—it is to mind as sound vibration is to brain. Humans have relished some form of music for most of their existence. I believe (yes, here is intuition over the provable again) that music touches the all-consciousness, the God force, God, in a deep and meaningful way. But that idea will need to await expansion and development at another time.
Touch allows us to perceive boundaries between our self-contained network of energy fields and other networks of energy fields. Taste is part of this—molecules interact with the nerves in our tongues to allow us to form ideas about what we should and shouldn’t consume for sustenance. Smell works similarly—particles come in contact with nerves in our noses to communicate information about nearby energy networks giving off those particles. Our brain processes this information as well. Touch is also fundamental for sharing emotional bonds between us and those we love. We embrace our loved ones—our children, our parents, our spouses. We touch to make love to reproduce. Touch is an extraordinary gift with the potential for physical pleasure. Touch also uses pain to let us know when we are encountering something that is dangerous to our physical well-being.
So we experience our gleam in the all-consciousness, from what we perceive as birth to death. For the all-consciousness, we are a tiny, tiny speck in the huge, teaming-with-energy-fields whole. For us? Consciousness creates our existence. Where do we go after our gleam is over? Back into the cauldron to be reformed into another gleam? If this was true, I believe we would have more direct evidence of it. Do we simply reexperience our gleam over and over? There is no way to answer that question. If we take only the evidence of right now, then because we are conscious, we can conclude that we are always conscious. A comforting thought when life is going well. A terrible thought when life is not going well. Heaven might be the description for great life lived always. Hell might be the description for a terrible life lived always.
So, we are bundles of energy fields, experiencing our lives through a time arrow using the senses of sight, sound and touch/taste/smell. This is our window to the all-consciousness, to perceiving a reality where everything exists always, where time and space are distinctions for us, but not true distinctions in ultimate reality. These senses, these perceptions, come together to form our consciousness, our interface with the all-consciousness. Consciousness brings us existence—what it is, how it works—still mysteries, possibly unknowable mysteries. But maybe, when physics and metaphysics come together, we will unravel these mysteries.
Meditations on Physics, Metaphysics and Consciousness August 30, 2011Posted by rwf1954 in consciousness, metaphysics, nature of reality, spirituality, Uncategorized.
Tags: consciousness, metaphysics, nature of reality, spirituality
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There is an answer to the fundamental metaphysical question: Why is there something instead of nothing?
For a rock, for an isolated hydrogen molecule, there is nothing. When elements combine to form even the rudiments of consciousness, something emerges. “God,” the “God force,” is all-consciousness. Religions are a tool to reach as far as possible into the all-consciousness. But we are limited by our physical presences to small pieces of the all-consciousness. We occupy a small part of the all-consciousness. We have our little “gleam” in a facet of the gem of existence, and existence consists of all time, all space and all dimensions. (Some of the current theories of physics posit ten or more dimensions as an explanation for the nature of physical reality.) Consciousness is our personal lens enabling us to view and experience our part of the all-consciousness space-time gem/mass/conglomeration. It limits us as to how much of the all-consciousness we can perceive. Our senses, our tiny location in the vast space-time gem, create that limitation. But everything exists, always, including aspects of existence outside of the limitations of our own consciousness lenses. Some of those aspects are completely unimaginable to us, the way the sensation of sound would be unimaginable to a conscious creature without the ears to sense the vibrations of sound, or the way the sensation of sight would be unimaginable to a conscious creature unable to sense light reflecting off images. That means we exist always in our piece of the all-consciousness. Our consciousness is like a tiny gleam on the vast gem of all-consciousness.
Time does not separate cause and effect in the all-consciousness. Everything is connected and exists simultaneously. Time’s arrow is a property of the lens of our own consciousness within the all-consciousness. In essence, we experience reality through three dimensions of space, and a fourth dimension of time—a unidirectional time arrow. Individual time arrows overlap and intertwine with all the time arrows for all the consciousnesses within the all-consciousness. Connections can flit about in all sorts of exotic and unusual ways, either discovered or not discovered by our individual lenses. Our lenses very much influence and even create what our consciousness reveals to us from the all-consciousness. What our consciousness lens focuses on shapes our perceptions of reality. This is where recent spiritual concepts such as the “Law of Attraction” fit in. Even the “Big Bang” is a huge time arrow. Everything before and after the “Big Bang” exists always as part of the all-consciousness. If no consciousness evolves, then we have nothing instead of something. But consciousness did evolve—no, “evolve” is a time arrow idea—consciousness existed from the beginning so exists always.
When we tap into the interconnections and expand deeper into the all-consciousness, we move closer to “God,” though with our lens limitations, we can never completely access the entire all-consciousness. This also supports the “more-than-one-Path-to-God” idea. There can be many ways to access the all-consciousness. Assimilation of ideas and methods used by great spiritual sages is a way to connect.
As to the rightness or wrongness of a particular Path to God, the key is love. Not love for a spouse, or a child, or chocolate, or a country or even a religion. It’s an inner feeling that glows from within. It’s a feeling that puts a smile on our faces, that has us greeting every human, every creature, with benevolence. It’s a feeling—not always possible. We fight to maintain our own consciousness within the all-consciousness, to keep our own lens into the all-consciousness aware and alive. Our physical bodies house the lens. So we defend our lives, a precious gift, a gift of a small piece of the all-consciousness. When we feel threatened, we find it hard to find that feeling of love. But we are better off if we can use whatever method or Path to God we develop to access that love. People of all different religious persuasions have found a viable Path to God—of this I have no doubt. Is one path better than another? Of course. The Aztec priest tearing the heart out of a living fellow human as part of his religion could not have been experiencing the warm glow of spiritual love in the midst of such horrendous cruelty. The Christian slaughtering an innocent “infidel” at the time of the “Crusades,” a Muslim blowing up a crowd of innocent people—such a warm spiritual glow would not be possible. The Golden Rule, a universal concept that has emerged in cultures and traditions at many different times and locations on our planet, a concept probably universal to all conscious creatures everywhere, is a good guideline for behavior, and for whether a particular “Path to God,” a particular religion or approach to our lives using the tenets of an organized religion, reaches toward the all-consciousness with the flow and glow of love. Would that Aztec priest want his own heart ripped out of his living body? Would the infidel- slaughtering Christian crusader want to be killed because someone did not like his faith? Would the Muslim terrorist bomber want himself or family members killed by a fanatic trying to pile up bodies to make a twisted religious statement? The Golden Rule guides us to make these judgments. The Path to God can be found with the guidance of great spiritual sages opening doors to the all-consciousness.
I will be writing about this. That is what I do. Right now, the concept is a series of short stories, skipping about on the vast gem of the all-consciousness, lighting up gleams from different times and places, telling interconnected stories exploring these ideas, exploring spirituality and consciousness, and Path to God, at different times and places. To start, I’ll stick with earth, our familiar planet. But my imagination, my own attempt to connect with the all- consciousness from my nearly infinitesimally tiny gleam on the gem, could carry this almost anywhere. Stand by for more details as the project takes shape.
This feels to me, at this point in my time-arrow, for my lens, like another baby step toward unifying physics and metaphysics.
The great spiritual sages, for the most part, were not focused on founding new structures of organized religion. They were focused on the Path to God, on clarifying it, and making it available to wide numbers of human beings—a direct Path to God that does not require intermediaries.
On feeling the glow and flow of spiritual love:
The best way to attain it—focus on helping others, on improving the situations of others.
The way to lose the feeling—focus on the self, on the wants and desires of the self, especially material, transient desires and pleasures.