What I call interdependent origination is the embodied insight that arose from my full tantric and soul-realm awakening.
This comes from awakening the depths of every aspect of experience in both my individual being and the collective experience. This is a very mystical experience and the thing I’m pointing towards is having experienced an integration with the entirety of the Universe, as far as this is possible in a human being (which is much further than I possibly could have begun to imagine).
What I’m talking about differs from sutric awakening, which focuses on bringing awareness to things that can be perceived through the mind.
Tantric awakening includes how things are energetically and the soul realm includes what everything means and how we parse this. I’m talking about awakening every aspect of the collective experiences of these things, not just my individual experience of it.
A Sutric awakening of the mind includes opening to the collective experience of perception itself – the impermanent changing nature of how things are subjectively appearing to arise by themselves in this moment.
With Tantric awakening and the soul-realm this included, for example, awakening every part of the archetypal realm or karmic forces. This involved experiencing all aspects of this part of experience – allowing every aspect of meaning to express itself through me and my body. With the physical aspect this involved a lot of pain and energetic purification.
Having gone through this process with a truly unfathomable amount of experience, the outcome is an embodied knowledge of interdependent origination, which is a completely different paradigm to scientific materialism and cause and effect.
How Is This Different?
This is different to what I am going to call dependent origination, which is the outcome of awakening just the mind.
One of the realisations of dependent origination is that the Universe is a simulation that our minds create. Nothing has an independent essence or nature, mind creates everything. While this is a clever idea and an interesting and potentially liberating way of looking at the world, it is patently false. It doesn’t hold up to basic fact checking and any 5 year old could tell you that by asking a simple question like,
“Where does you body go when you sleep? Or if you’re not aware that you dream, do you still dream?”
It can be an important experience to have but it’s not that useful to embrace fully as it tends to leave us in a bit of a disconnected dead end.
Interdependent Origination is more inclusive and holistic than this.
In order to describe interdependent origination I am going to need a word to describe the fundamental building blocks of the Universe. In more spiritual contexts this has been called Buddha nature. In more scientific contexts, this has been called things like String Theory.
For the sake of neutrality, I’m going to call it Universe Soup.
Fully experiencing Universe Soup for the first time was feeling everything in the Universe, including me, as an embodied multi-dimensional rainbow fractal kaleidoscope that existed outside of space-time; it was the container for everything and was contained in everything all at once.
The first time I experienced this took a truly unfathomable amount of build-up to get to, including prolonged and intense psychosis. Experiencing it scrambled my understanding and felt-sense of life in a way that I will never be able to go back.
This has only deepened and I no longer believe in cause and effect in the same way; I exist in a lived experience of a Quantumly-entangled Universe. This is what an embodied understanding of interdependent origination is.
Here is a metaphorical description of the difference between dependent origination and interdependent origination.
Dependent Origination: We get all our energy from the sun. If the sun wasn’t here we wouldn’t exist. Everything is cause and effect. The sun being a metaphor for awareness.
Interdependent Origination: Saying we get all our energy from the sun, is like saying babies are created from sperm. It’s not incorrect but it’s incomplete. Babies are created from an infinite web of life-force, masculine and feminine, circumstance and magic. It’s impossible to identify the root cause of anything – everything relies on everything else.
One of the main insights from interdependent origination is that there is no single source of truth. Anything that tries to boil the experience or the Universe down to a simple formula (‘everything is mind’, ‘everything is cause and effect’) is an over-simplification.
Everything is connected to everything else – the Universe can only be understood as the whole system.
In order to get here, all these different aspects of experience need to be allowed to be present simultaneously:
- I am creating experience: This version of Universe soup only arises because I exist, if I wasn’t here, this aspect of experience wouldn’t exist
- Experience is creating me: I only arise because this version of Universe soup exists, if there was no Universe soup I wouldn’t be here to experience it
- The Universe is creating experience: It is every aspect of the Universe ever that has created Universe soup
- Experience is creating the Universe: The Universe only arises because of Universe soup
The images below show each of them in action – the rainbow part is the source or the Universe Soup, the white part is the part that is being created. The head-fuck is that all of these are happening simultaneously.
This means that it is not really a concept that we can land on – it’s more like an experience that we can simultaneously perceive, feel, embody and know, all at once.
Remember that the Universe soup is in all these places at the same time, but that the different parts of experience – the Universe as a whole and the beings experiencing the Universe – keep it separate from itself also at the same time. They can’t solely be boiled down to Universe Soup – they are here in all their complexity of expression, too.
One of the outcomes of this is that if you follow cause and effect all the way back, the entire concept completely dissolves; everything is in one way happening at once and in another way playing out along the timeline. Everything is all a divine expression that exists both outside and within space-time at the same time.
This is the same Universe that Quantum entanglement and string theory describe. These are new understandings that have only emerged from recent science, alongside the social sciences that were needed to facilitate the subjective experience of this – the subconscious, the collective conscious, embodied trauma, archetypes etc.
You will not be able to grok interdependent origination without having done some serious heart and soul work, as well as getting some understanding of non-duality and/or distributed systems, such as string theory.
A test of whether you feel you could grok this, is whether you can sense or imagine how the whole thing has been engineered.
Here, I have used a donut to represent the Universe.
The mind can’t perceive the karmic forces, or what I call soul. They are invisible to the mind. They can only be expressed, felt and lived.
The importance of including the karmic and felt sense of our world in the understanding of interdependent origination, as opposed to understanding it purely as something the mind can perceive, is that it allows us to step outside of our individual worldview.
If we believe that it is our perception or awareness that creates experience then when we collapse a sense of cause of effect it seems like there is nothing. The Universe arises from nothing and it is us that creates it.
It is our way of looking that creates the world we experience.
If we can see clearly that we are only one aspect of the world that is being created, then this changes the entire game. The Universe is inherently alive and full of rich content that we are an expression of. There is meaning, story and intelligence baked into every aspect of it. This shows us an inherently interconnected Universe, rather than a self-created or self-centred one.
If we experience a sense of nothingness, then this isn’t an ultimate truth or reality, it is not a fixed truth, it is just one thing that is being presented to one person at one moment by the Universe. It is part of the divine expression that is unfolding in that moment.
With interdependent origination, one of the key insights is that there is no one single source of truth or one place that everything has arisen from. It all depends on all the other pieces of the puzzle. This inability for life to solve itself or to land anywhere ultimate or final is the reason why any of it exists.
‘It’ here could be used to describe life, consciousness, the Universe as a whole or experience.
If it was able to solve itself, it would eventually just fizzle out, like a chemistry experiment that had run its course. Or if it could land somewhere solid, it would do that and everything would stop. Or if it could come into unity, then it would become a single machine with no experiencer.
The inability for these things to happen, keeps it in the process; this is what creates life.
If this is confusing for your mind, that is the point – that the mind can’t solve it. We can only show up and open to what is present for us in this moment.
So that is interdependent origination. It can unravel a whole realm of experience and one of the main conclusions is that there is no single source of truth.
Ultimately, we are here to experience this weird thing called life together and go through the process. There’s no shortcut or way out of that, but gaining these insights and experiences can create profound levels of openness, ease and depth of experience.