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The Nature of Reality

God's Game

Alex PatersonAn interpretation of the rules pertaining to God's Game in this realm by Alex Paterson.

The nature of our 'being'.

The US psychiatrist, Stanislav Grof, aptly describes 'reality' as we perceive it as a 'game', because in essence we and the whole Universe (and that includes all experiential realms, not just the physical universe) are nothing more than a figment of the Creative Principle's imagination. 1

Even our very nature of being separate 'sparks of life' with a 'separate' consciousness and free will is in essence just a grand illusion, for in actual fact we are God and as such there is no real separation between us and God.

Some will find this statement very disturbing, if not heretical, but those who have experienced some form of holotropic state 2 will understand immediately the veracity of the statement associated with their experience of being at ONE with the Universe (Oneness) in that state.

The 'Game' itself is of such a profound nature as to be infinite and beyond time, a concept almost certainly beyond the comprehension of most people. Most humans incarnating on Earth at this point in time are locked into the perception of separateness associated with this realm of existence and as such simply cannot grasp the concept that an aspect of themselves (their ego) is under the grand illusion that they are separate from everything else in the Universe when in actual fact they ARE the Universe and that there is no real separation. From the perception of this physical reality, which is based on the illusion of separateness (I'm me and you're you and never the twain shall meet) and duality (existence versus non-existence, hot versus cold, here versus there, good versus evil, agony versus ecstasy etc) and linear time (yesterday-today-tomorrow) just BEING the Whole in which time, space and separation are meaningless, seems incomprehensible. The paradox 3 of it all simply cannot be understood until one experiences the essential 'ONENESS' of all reality associated with some form of spiritual experience or holotropic state.

None of this is a mistake of course, for clearly there is a purpose to it all. And the purpose is that we are born into this realm 'forgetting' whom we really are for the simple reason the 'Universal Consciousness' wishes to experience the illusion of separateness and all the events associated with that illusory state. Like a good movie, we all play our part in the drama by suspending belief into the true nature of our being. Shakespeare summed it up succinctly in his play 'As You like It':

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts..."

The purpose of the game 4

Mystics throughout history have speculated often as to the reason GOD chose to leave a state of perfect, timeless, un-manfest BEING and create a Universe made up of phenomenal or experiential realms based on duality, with it's attendant state of imperfection. Some mystics suggest that GOD was simply bored with a state of timeless perfection and wished to experience itself. 5

Be that as it may, the concept of 'Creation' as expressed by most religions is not in conflict with the observations of contemporary science pertaining to evolution 6 and the observed laws of science; for the laws of science are simply some of the observed 'rules' pertaining to the 'game'. And clearly if there is to be a 'game' based on a duality of opposites there must be some rules to define those opposites.

NOTE: The fact that the Physical Universe and other realms are based on a duality of opposites does not negate the possibility, if not probability, of there being other realms of existence not based on duality. Ultimately, all realms of existence are just a form of illusion or Maya associated with the MIND of the Creative Principle and as such have no 'real' substance outside themselves. In the final analysis, the only 'thing' that is 'real' is the Creative Principle ITSELF.

The source and purpose of evil

As postulated earlier, the Creative Spirit's creation of the phenomenal realms (associated with a multi-dimensional experiential Universe) is based on the existence of polarities or opposites with its attendant illusion of separation and incompleteness. In essence 'EVIL' is simply a loss of insight (ignorance) into one's true nature, that being a state of perfect 'Wholeness' or 'Oneness'. From this perspective it is clear that 'Evil' is fundamental to the 'GAME' in the physical universe, for without the illusion of separation or ignorance about one's true identity (that being God) there can be no 'game' as we know it. When we think about it, all the polarities we encounter in the 'game' contain a subjective element of either 'good' or 'evil' associated with their so-called positive and negative aspects. (yin and yang) The negative aspects of creation which we perceive as 'evil' are often referred to as the 'Shadow'.

The perception of 'evil' is very subjective and context is everything. Death is a good example of this. Most people perceive 'death' as one of the worst evils they could experience in their lives (whether it be their own death or that of loved ones) yet if the Near Death Experiences (NDE) experienced by so many are anywhere near the 'truth', then the most beautiful experience a human being is ever going to experience in this life is his or her own death. The irony of the perceived worst being the best highlights the cosmic humour which seems to underlie the 'Game' associated with the Creation of the physical universe.

Stanislav Grof elaborates on this insight into evil very well on p117 of his book 'The Cosmic Game'.

"The experience of timeless connection with the 'Universal Consciousness' associated with the 'Void' provides us with a view of the cosmic play in its entirety and we encounter all the positive aspects of creation which is essential radiant and ecstatic and infinite." 7

This state is best described by the composite Sanskrit word 'Sacchidananda' (pronounced Sat-chit-ananda) which means: 'sat' (infinite existence), 'chit' (awareness) and ananda (bliss). Thus in a holotropic state we experience an infinite, dimensionless existence in which we are blissfully aware of the infinite potential of the nothingness associated with just 'Being'.

(it's a mouthful I know, but just read it again and let it sit with you for a moment) 8

This state of Sacchidananda or Existence-Awareness-Bliss has its counterpart or 'Shadow' which is what we perceive as 'evil' on this plane of existence. The characteristics of this state, which is the opposite 'Sacchidananda', is described below: (Grof p 118)

  1. The first aspect of Sacchidananda is 'sat' which means infinite existence. Its opposite is associated with our illusory perception of "limited existence, termination of existence (death) or even non-existence". (Grof p118) The consciousness associated with our physical 'lives' on earth is associated overwhelmingly with a perception of a 'finite' physical universe in which everything in it, including the physical Universe itself, has a finite temporal existence.
  2. The second aspect of Sacchidananda is 'chit' which means infinite awareness, wisdom and intelligence. The corresponding category of evil associated with the opposite of infinite awareness is the various forms of limited awareness and ignorance and covers a wide range of phenomena associated with the harmful consequences associated with that lack of awareness. (Grof p118) 9
  3. The third aspect of Sacchidananda is 'ananda' which means unlimited bliss. The corresponding category of evil associated with the opposite of unlimited bliss involves an entire range of painful emotions such as anxiety, shame, depression and guilt and unpleasant physical sensations of pain; some of which we all meet on a daily basis.

As mentioned earlier, these 'shadow' aspects of Sacchidananda are fundamental to the Universe as we perceive it and as such 'Evil' is fundamental to this game, for without it there can be no 'Game' as we know it. (a Game based on the duality of opposites) In a sense the Physical Universe can be likened to a gigantic aircraft simulator of cosmic proportions and just like a simulator session we are all here to experience and deal with the circumstances we have undoubtedly 'earned' and created. Our task is not to resile from evil or pretend it does not exist, but rather to recognise its source; that being our ignorance as to who we really are (i.e. God) associated with our planned 'loss' of memory (e.g. the biblical 'Fall') and with that in mind attempt to invoke the opposite of it in our lives and eventually regain our awareness. (the biblical return to 'Heaven')

Mephistopheles sums up evil very well when he introduces himself to Faust in Goethe's play by saying:

"I am the spirit that negates".


1. The term 'GOD' has been distorted, trivialised and discredited by mainstream religions and culture. Even the names like 'Absolute Consciousness' and Universal Mind' are hopelessly inadequate to convey the immensity of this 'BEING'. I've chosen to use the term 'CREATIVE PRINCIPLE' in an endeavour to avoid the personification and attendant perception of separation associated with the term 'God'.

2. HOLOTROPIC state was a term coined by Stanislav Grof in 1992 to describe altered states of consciousness. It is a composite word meaning "oriented or moving towards wholeness" and is made up of the Greek words 'holos' which means whole and 'trepein' which means moving towards. Source: 'The Cosmic Game' by Stanislav Grof (p5)

3. A paradox is the confluence or joining together of two or more seemingly incompatible ideas or 'events'.

4. PURPOSE. The whole concept of purpose presents an irreconcilable paradox which is simply beyond the resolution or understanding of the human mind. 'Purpose' implies a direction which, by definition, is a form of limitation if only because purpose and direction require the defining, and then ultimate negation, of all that is NOT part of the said purpose or direction. The physical universe clearly displays order as evidenced by the laws of physics, which strongly suggests it is NOT purposeless. However, BEING infinite, the CREATIVE PRINCIPLE (i.e. God) is beyond limitation. Purpose only has meaning in a paradigm defined by limits, such as the physical universe (e.g. up versus down, hot versus cold, here versus there etc) From the perspective of the un-manifest infinite, purpose is meaningless.

5. In many respects the phenomenal realms (i.e. realms defined by phenomena, of which the physical Universe is but one example) and the perfect state of timeless BEING associated with the Void are two ends of a vast spectrum. The Phenomenal realms would appear to be defined by EXPERIENCE whilst in a state of limited awareness as to who we really are (i.e. we become 'relatively' ignorant of our essence as BEING the whole); whereas the perfect state of Timeless BEING is a state of complete AWARENESS devoid of experience. It would appear our purpose as humans is to 'experience' life in this realm whilst gradually working our way back towards a state of total awareness. (i.e. total awareness of our BEING from the perspective of experience, which would appear to be a paradox) William Cozzolino described it succinctly in his book, 'The Path', as 'being' a state of BALANCE (p177).

6. The term 'Evolution' in this article does NOT imply support for Darwin's Theory of Evolution, which is considered by the author to be an incomplete, over simplistic and fundamentally flawed model of the evolutionary process.

7. Source: 'The Cosmic Game' by Stanislav Grof (p117)

8. Having briefly experienced this state on a number of occasions as a child and once as an adult all I can say is that it is the most REAL experience I've ever had, and the most awesome.

9. It is the author's impression that this lack of awareness about our true nature is the primary source of 'evil' on this plane of existence.



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ruleJoy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” -- Marianne Williamson

Keywords: nature of reality, belief systems, consciousness, quantum physics, spirituality and quantum physics, spiritual, spirituality

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The Nature of Reality
Alex Paterson is a former airline pilot, now living in Tasmania, Australia.

He writes articles and advises on issues pertaining to aviation, politics, sociology, the environment, sustainable farming, history, computers, natural health therapies, esoteric teachings and spirituality.
Stanislav Grof, M. D., Ph. D. (Transpersonal Conversations)
Stanislav Grof, M. D., Ph. D. (Transpersonal Conversations)

Stanislav Grof was one of the original founders of consciousness research and the field of transpersonal psychology.

Dr. Grof covers, in detail, a myriad of tough subjects, including: Near-death experiences, non-ordinary states of consciousness, shamanism, the public's view of parapsychology, and much more.
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