The Paradox of Radical Inclusivity: Another excerpt from my new book.
Inclusivity does not become radical until it becomes infinite. My experience of inclusivity during a meditation retreat did not become radical until I realized that any experience I ever had, or could ever have, was already exactly the way it was and could not be otherwise. My deepest spiritual experiences, found by following the meditation instruction “Let everything be as it is,” lead to the realization that there was no way to not be meditating. Everything already is as it is, regardless of what I do.
The realization of Radical Inclusivity is the recognition that you are already on the inside (although what inside means may be different in different circumstances and contexts.) Ultimately there is no way out because there is no outside that is not inside. The experience of Radical Inclusivity points to the indisputable fact that there is no outside to reality.
My experience lead me to an extraordinary and paradoxical realization. There is a part of me that is always aware even if I am not aware of it. Consciousness, I discovered, is radically inclusive. Everything exists inside of consciousness. In the third chapter I will return to this notion to explore it in detail, but for now you will have to take my word for it when I say that there is a part of me that is always awake even if I am not aware of it.
Let’s take a moment to examine the weirdness of a realization like this. There is a part of me that is always aware even if I am not aware of it. The paradox here is that I seem to be aware and not aware at the same time; or that there are in fact two of me, one that is always aware and one that is sometimes not aware of that.
It seems that the experience of Radical Inclusivity will always—at least for the foreseeable future—include some level of paradox because these experiences actually exist in a different level of consciousness. Our minds are currently running in an operating system that we could call dualistic thinking, which distinguishes things in terms of pairs of opposites—this/that, here/there, now/then, inside/outside, etc.
Our experiences of Radical Inclusivity are paradoxical in nature because they actually exist in a new level of consciousness. When we are in the middle of them, they don’t feel paradoxical at all. They seem normal and as obvious as the back of your hand. Later, when we return to our normal level of consciousness and think back about the experience of Radical Inclusivity, it becomes paradoxical. That is because what had seemed normal and obvious when we were experiencing it in one state of consciousness now looks impossible from the vantage point of another.
These jumps in consciousness resemble the hyperspace jumps I loved in science fiction stories as a child. You start out in one spot in the universe and then hit the hyperdrive, and, boom, you are on the other side of the universe. In even more exciting variations of the theme you actually end up in a new universe, one that occupies a space and time different from the universe you came from.
The metaphor of hyperspace is a good one to help us understand how we come to experience Radical Inclusivity. These experiences of the infinite inside of reality happen in a different universe or, if you will, a different dimension of reality.
One characteristic of this kind of travel is that it happens spontaneously, without any elapsing of time or traversing of space. You were in one place, and then you were in another. And the new place you end up in, especially if it is not just a different location in your universe but a different universe altogether, can be very weird.
The structure of matter and the laws of time, space, and causality might all be completely different. There is simply no way to know what you will find in a new universe and no way to be sure that your mind, conditioned by the reality of one universe, will be useful at all in understanding anything in the new one. This can make things very weird.
Our trips into the new universe of Radical Inclusivity are similar. They exist in a different reality, a different consciousness from the one that our minds have been trained in. We travel into these experiences instantaneously and spontaneously with no time elapsing and no space being traversed. We are simply in one consciousness and then find ourselves in another.