Waking up in the Planck Epoch

All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together . . . We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.

~ Max Planck

. . . rejoice that what illusions seemed to separate is one forever in the Mind of God (S-1.in.2:3).

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Mind, which is abstract, identifies with the body, which is believed to be not abstract but material and thus substantively other than mind. When and as mind does this, it denies that it does this. Then it forgets that it does this. Then it forgets that it forgot and, in this way, ends up believing it is a body. Any suggestion otherwise (there’s only consciousness, et cetera) feels silly, unbelievable.

This identification of mind with body is ancient, deep and entangled. It spirals out into the cosmos; it touches every atom. Body and world, world and universe, are one projection.

When mind believes it is permanently yoked to a body, fear arises. Desire and longing arise. Expectation and judgment, sorrow and happiness arise. These are all forms of suffering! They are all caused by the same illusion, which is that we are separate from – alien unto – Creation. We think we’re bodies but we’re not (W-pI.199.7:8); we think we’re in a world but there is no world (W-pI.132.6:2).

So separation is what we have to address. We have to awaken from the dream of misidentification that is separation. We have to realize we are not bodies and there is no world, and then see what happens. A Course in Miracles provides a framework to do this.

But remember: in truth, nobody awakens. Awakening is not an experience any body has. Even Jesus is just a projection! If you think you’re awakened, you’re kidding yourself. If somebody professes they’re awakened, they’re kidding themselves and you. None of this is a crisis (because none of it is real) but it is a kind of self-generated drama that keeps us from true peace and happiness.

Are we not ready to try something new?

That question is a trap! It’s a trap because whether you say yes or no, you are asserting that awakening takes effort and there’s a you somewhere that gets to decide the effort is worth it, let’s go for it, et cetera. And then you’re right back in the problem you meant to leave behind.

Try to see that there is no free will. Everything is caused by something else. Every belief we hold, every thought we have reflects prior conditioning. We’re just repeating what Mom and Dad said, and when enough of us do this, we call it culture. It’s what brains in bodies do – generate a self that thinks it’s responsible for everything.

This raises an interesting question: what caused our desire to awaken? Deep down you recognize in yourself something beautiful, strong, tender, just and merciful. What caused that? What is this energy that longs to remember itself through you by expressing itself as joy and peace for everyone?

What happens when you ask those questions in a serious and attentive way? What happens when you wait on answers that don’t come from you but from the Holy Spirit?

It’s okay to trust the part of us that wants to awaken. It’s okay to be guided by it. To do what it asks us to do: wear saffron robes, practice the ACIM daily lesson, pray a rosary, cut off a hand and throw it over the monastery wall. This longing to awaken is how God reaches for us; why not reach back?

Yes, I know – “reach back” is nonsense. God is nondual. There is no subject and object in God. There is no sky father with earth kids. There is no separate intelligence using language and concepts to call parts of itself back to itself. God is One.

“God is One.” We think we know what this means! But what is interesting is when we let go of our knowing.

The Planck epoch is an impossible-to-imagine time period a million million million million million million millionths of a second after the Big Bang. In it, our understanding of the laws of physics breaks down. We know the epoch exists but we cannot say what it is. Is not knowing a problem? When we learn that we have no idea what “God is One” means, we also learn that we knew all along. It’s this: this this.


    1. Thank you Evie! This comment makes me very happy! I am a big Bob Denver fan, believe that Krebs – and later Gilligan – were exemplars of the Tao, early archetypes (along with Shaggy from Scooby Doo) in U.S. TV culture of how awakening is child-like, simple, hassle-free and without worries.

    2. Reading Sean’s post, I was thinking “need to forward to my daughter, but she would think ‘this is really heavy Mom’. Then I saw your post. My daughter’s name is Evvie, who believes the spelling of her name is the “right one”. Emogees needed.

  1. Hi, Sean,
    I’ve only recently discovered your posts, and since in my many years of Course work I’ve never joined a group online or in the community – a few tries, but not for me – I don’t get one of the basics here: how to read your citations to text, specifically W-pl. Could you let me know?
    In your recent posts I’m appreciating a slightly less analytical and slightly more “there” feeling, which does encourage me. In general, the Course words and sentences themselves contain such enormous power and depth that I have a hard time thinking anyone else can summarize or even begin to approximate that quality, which is so clearly not of a human mind. But even though I can navigate, or at least accept, even appreciate, the many paradoxes and put off for later understanding some areas of confusion, I have rough patches. In a future post I may ask about my big one, but here I wanted to contribute – and this is more in response to a previous post – that one small step toward getting rid of distinctions in this seeming world is to give up favorites. Or perhaps it’s that favorites give themselves up. I can no longer even begin to answer questions about my favorite this or that. Likewise, it’s helpful to see how absurd comparisons are because they are so easily revealed to be the product of incomplete understanding. In particular, comparisons of people, especially children, are often devastating. We can begin to move away from some of the ways the “world” attaches our attention to distinctions. As we work with the Course, this sort of thing just happens of itself, in my experience, not something you have to try to do. It’s almost a realization of a layer falling away.
    So, thank you. This feels good, a forum to express some of our experiences as we move along the path together.

    1. Hi Dierdre,

      The “W” refers to workbook, and the lowercase p followed by a Roman numeral means either part one or two of the workbook. Then the lesson number: paragraph: sentence. So W-pI.150.2:3-4 would mean the third and fourth sentences of the second paragraph of lesson 150 in part one of the ACIM workbook.

      “T” is Text, “M” is Manual for Teachers and so forth. It’s a little cumbersome but I find it helpful, especially when folks want to read the quoted material and get their own sense of the context.

      With respect to your comment about distinctions, comparisons and judgment, I can only say: right on, Sister. We are of a mind on this; the course teaches us there is a better way to see the world (in all its complexity – other people, plants, animals, etc) and then helps us find a way to bring that new way of seeing into application, which is a lot harder than we realize. Indeed, the mental understanding is the easy part (and that’s pretty tough in itself) but actually loving in the unconditional way we are called to love . . . that takes divine intervention, which is how I understand “it happens by itself.” I don’t do it; the cosmos – the vast plenitude of creation – does it. My work mostly is getting out of the way.

      Please do stick around and keep sharing or just generally keep in touch. I’m grateful for your company.

      ~ Sean

  2. Thank you, Sean, for stretching the comfort zone of my/our most limited ordinary minds.

    Thanks also to Max Planck and the devoted laser physicists who followed him for the sophisticated near-infrared light devices that helped repair (my) fractures from a spectacular accident, and which I now use in my somatic practice—an amazing tool for healing.

    I’m fond of this Max Planck quote at my office, closely paraphrased: “We are part of the mystery we are trying to solve.”

    1. You’re welcome Susan! I’m sure Max Planck would be disappointed in my use (or mis-use) of that quote; he was an atheist after all. I think he intended something closer to where Donald Hoffman is these days (e.g.,”consciousness, not spacetime and its objects, is fundamental reality”). But I can’t resist; I have always admired Planck and the epoch which bears his name makes me happy, for reasons I can’t really discern, other than probably my innate desire to keep a little mystery in the cosmos.

      I love that quote you shared. So much opens up in terms of healing when we realize – as the course puts it – that we are doing this to ourselves, and so can choose another way. And, of course, our choosing is not for us alone. We heal together, as you so neatly point out, and then pay it forward for the joy of it, I guess.

      And why am I not surprised that we share an affinity for Planck’s work? 🙏 😊

      Thanks for sharing, Susan. I hope all is well. Talk soon –


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