13 Nov 2013
November 13, 2013

Lawfulness of the Universe


Artwork by Sam Brown 

It turns out that the universe is lawful – not in a logical law, by the way. The law I’m talking about is what would be called the divine law. That is, it’s not logical law in the sense that is and not b. It’s the law that includes paradox and all possibility. Within that law of the universe, everything that is in form –  whether it is on this physical plane or on any of the other planes I’ve been talking about – is all perfectly lawful. When we reduce it to our logical analogue, which is not an exact analogue but similar, we can think in deterministic frameworks. There is no free choice in the deterministic system. That is, if the laws are just running off, they are just running off, and the experience of the free choice is merely another run-off of the law. And under those conditions the past, present, and future are all perfectly lawfully related to one another.

Because we are in time, we think that the future has not yet happened. But it’s very much like being a character in a book, and you’re on page 23 and you don’t know what’s going to happen on page 24, because you think you’re the character in the book. But now imagine you’re reading the book – well, you could turn over and find out what happened on page 24. Now imagine you wrote the book. You would already know what happened on page 24. Hinduism and all these dualistic religio-philosophic movements talk about “the One” or the “one guru,” or satguru, or however you want to talk about it; Judaism says “The Lord is One,” and Jesus says, “My father and I are one.” When you go into these traditions, you see that when he has extricated himself from the attachment I’ve been talking about – physical, subtle, and all these different vibrational frequency plays – then he and consciousness are the same thing. And of course since it is all interchangeable, there’s only one of it. The way in which it keeps manifesting in form or in these different planes and coming down into clouds and then solids – and all this is perfectly lawful – you would say in effect, “He is the law.” God is the law.

That’s the way the word “God” finally comes in, which is a hard one for us. But you could say that’s why the Jews were so interested in the law, and what the Ten Commandments were that Moses brought back. Because the universe of form is merely the lawful manifestation of this energy into patterns, and because it is all lawful – past, present, and future – all are already. Therefore when you are around this being, my guru you see that he is no more in the present than in the past or the future, and to him it’s all equally available. Often when I’m sitting with him he would look at a being and later in just a little conversation when it just comes out for some karmic reason I don’t fully understand, he’ll say something about what’s going to happen to that guy. In the Tibetan tradition there’s like a lama who sends out postcards saying, “Next Thursday at 2 I’m leaving my body. I’m going to die. I hope you will come join me.” And everybody gathers at the Thursday at 2 and he turns around three times, he sits down, and he dies. You know that a fully conscious being always knows exactly the moment he’s going to die, if he cared. When he is going to “drop his body” is what the expression is – and that really is what it is, dropping the body. It means dying to the physical plane. Ramana Maharshi, very beautiful, had cancer of the arm and he wouldn’t have it treated and the devotees said, “Oh Bhagavan – God – take care of your body.” And he said, “No, it’s finished its work on this plane.” They said, “Don’t leave us; don’t leave us.” And he looked at them like he was bewildered, and he said, “Where can I go? Just because you’re not going to see me on the plane you’re addicted to, do you think I’m going anywhere?”

My experience with my guru over this time is that in five years he has slowly taken me over – which is a hard one for Westerners. Like my father asks me, “Are you getting married?” – because the woman I used to live with is in India with my guru, and he keeps calling her Mrs. Ram Dass. So I say, “I don’t know, he hasn’t told me yet.” My father comes out of the tradition where you don’t ask somebody else if you are going…”What do you mean, he hasn’t told you?” he says. “Don’t you make any decisions on your own?” And I say, “No.” No. Now from our point of view we really think we lost something. In the Christian Bible it’s called “Not my will, but Thy will, O Lord.” Because once you realize you are not who you thought you were anyway – how long do you want to play out the little melodrama that you think you’re doing it all? And if you don’t think you’re doing it all, and it’s still all lawful, you might as well just sit and listen to how it all came out. That’s the “Not my, but Thy will.” It’s what is called surrender - which we find so horrible because when we think of the word “surrender” we think of one ego surrendering to another. But if you imagine just surrendering into the law or surrendering the illusion that you are the choice maker… The idea is, when you surrender, is the result chaos? Is Freud right? Is the whole idea right that who we are is a wild animal? Or is that just more of the program?

- Ram Dass, excerpt from The Only Dance There Is 



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  • davidamartin

    Great art? Who is the artist?

  • Lauris Olups

    I’ve always had issues with this kind of philosophy. Where is the joy and excitement of life, where is the happiness of knowing I can change something, create something, have meaningful relationships? A relationship is meaningless if I have no real say in it, if all of it is predetermined by outside forces. What is left of real gratitude when there is no one to thank, because no one did anything anyway? Seems like a very bleak, sad and depressing perspective to me.

    • Lloyd

      These are all negative feelings you have about the concept. Do you believe negative feelings somehow change the nature of reality? I’m not saying it is true or not. My point is, the way we feel about something has no influence on whether it is true.

      • Lauris Olups

        It’s true feelings don’t change reality, and I never claimed they did. However, certain points of view and life philosophies change the way YOU perceive your reality and live your life. And I simply choose to believe in life-affirming ideas, ones that help me see life as a meaningful and beautiful place, even though I can’t prove or disprove them. It is for those reasons I believe, for example, in the immortality of the soul, or the idea of free will. :)

        • Lloyd

          Fair enough. You know, it’s funny, I don’t experience the same negative reaction you have towards a determined universe. It’s not determined for me, on a experiential level, because I have no idea what will happen. I still have a perceived ability to make decisions. Even if those decisions are somehow destined in the universal script, on the level of my experienced reality, and I completely free to change what I am doing at any time. Even though I am a believer in fated destiny, I still appreciate having free will on the level of my perception. Ram Dass often talks of paradoxes, because different things are true depending on what level of existence you talking about.

          You say a relationship is meaningless if pre-determined by outside forces. However, on that level of understanding, there is no outside forces, because all is one. There really is noone to thank!

          • Lauris Olups

            It’s funny indeed :).

            Though paradoxes are only seemingly contradictory. By definition they are verbal phenomenas, only contradicting because one word is said in different meanings. You can only legitimately say “I am free and unfree at the same time” if you say say the word “free” in two different meanings, or indeed, levels of existence. If our language could be so super-sophisticated as to describe the entire existence in perfect detail and no ambiguity, there would be no paradoxes (apart from the intentional verbal games).

            I just feel that nothing is real, if everything is determined. I don’t believe we are “all one” in such literal sense. I believe we are very much interconnected and inherently made of the same “stuff”, sharing a unified, yet separated and individualized consciousness. And that’s what makes it beautiful to me, my cup of philosophical tea, so to speak :).

          • Bill Fulbright

            What a great discussion between determinism and free will! Both witers here are eloquently debating their view. For my 2 cents, both exist. In order for one to accept the concept of surrender and humility, one must use one’s free will. Therein is the paradox of this discussion. Love it!! This discussion will open doors for the many who have struggled with this question.

          • Stephanie Allard

            I agree with all connected and unified…my cup of tea is that excitement is an emotional roller coaster and we can become addicted to those brain patterns. Ah attachment. I am a spiritual being living in this physical realm that is not real. We see it because this is what we learned. And what we have learned gives all the meaning we have to what we see. even though we may “wrestle” with it. Ah so that wrestling is in our minds not in what we see, on one level. I believe spiritual sight can transcend it all. The physical realm is of the ego. Everything is about me and in relation to me. Without this, what are we left to “value.” Without this we overcome, as Jesus and Others have. I believe that we are here to learn to transcend the physical. Probably many things to learn in the process here now..my free will allows me to choose what I want to learn, when. And in my delay is suffering. Love is all there is…

          • Greg Andrade

            I love this dialogue – interestingly enough I’m moving into a series of art that describes these very insights and as such have found that the planets don’t care what beliefs are and the universe doesn’t mind either but is not adaptive – more of a canvas as we are the beings who paint and as such our painting can not go outside of the lines…

          • Stephanie Allard

            For me, it would take more than my language to be super-sophisticated, to describe the entire existence in perfect detail.

          • Jane Jones

            I believe, in my humble opinion, that the paradox is really the state of our duality, the “yin-yang” of existence, because in everything on the physical manifest is this polarity…the thing is; there is more than this duality-illusion…it is not real, it is not what is true. The truth in hidden behind or in front of that which we need to rediscover within; hint; it begins with L and ends with E..Alpha Omega Love <3

    • Stephanie Allard

      I guess if what you are doing is working for you, stick with it, until it is not.

    • Brenda Ingram

      I have to agree with you in some respects. I believe there is a balance; that we are responsible for our actions, but can be guided if we take the time to listen.

  • Stephanie Edmondson

    Is the beautiful artwork of the universe above available for purchase?

  • Jane Jones

    “Not my, but Thy will.” I agree; the surrender is a allowing the flow and very important to the “be” in the “be here now” Also, I agree as well with the idea of. the “program” which is an illusion and not essential to the “be” of existence; where the be is the reason to be.

  • Nikki

    Where can I find the image used at the top of the post?