One of the Greatest Mind Stretchers

      Before Abraham - by Stan Satlin - © 2011
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Every now and then I am tapped to give a workshop to a group of sufficient strategic importance that I cannot refuse. Although I am there to tell them about THEI (the Human Effectiveness Institute), they usually tell me they have sought me out to start them off in some far-reaching planning cycle by simply helping them to first stretch their minds. They see me as a provoker of out-of-the-box thinking. I’m grateful for the opportunities this perception provides to disseminate THEI techniques conducive to higher performance.

In recent posts we have been stretching our minds by considering the possibility that the original spark of consciousness in the Universe is what each of us experiences as our own sense of self. In the preceding post we offered a sample from our book to leverage this stretching into the removal of biases in our thought patterns and in the language we use based on the hidden assumption that matter is the supreme substance of the universe.

These biases come from our senses, which detect matter through the medium of energy interactions between our matter molecules and those of other matter molecules. In recent posts we have also worked to counteract these biases by focusing on the fact that it is only our consciousness, our sense of self, our experiencing of information that we detect directly, and can therefore say we “know”. Our sensory information comes to us through abstract hookups and translations of one thing into another, i.e. coded information that can be presented any number of ways. We do not “know” through our eyes as well as we know that we exist as a self even in a sensory deprivation tank.

These biases are magnified by Acceleritis, the accelerating information overload that has outstripped our processing capacity except when we successfully use psychotechnology — the output of THEI and others practiced in the art, notably the advanced yogis, classic philosophers, religion founders, the writers of the literature of sages, and the synthesizers of this material via their esoteric schools such as Arica, Insight Meditation, Freemasons, et al. All of these people have tried to condense and pass along psychotechnology techniques conducive to shifting an individual’s consciousness into flow state, aka the Zone; this too is THEI’s raison d’etre.

In this post we will pass along one of the most mind stretching and mind bending exercises, one that must have existed before written language, because some of the very first things ever written down related to this exercise.

Except that those who first thunk it, and those who wind up thinking about it today, do not see it as an exercise, but rather as a stream of thought that suddenly turns a weird corner. Here’s how it happens. I promise you your mind will be stretched. How you use the extra limbering is up to you — we hope you will leverage it for something important to you.

It starts with thinking about the universe — whatever the individual knows or feels intuitively about the universe — stars, galaxies, the Big Bang. The next thought is usually “What was there before the Big Bang?”

This thought in itself is a mind stretcher. The imagination fires up a few cylinders and takes a crack at coming up with an answer. Before reading further we suggest you mentally go off by yourself and see what answer(s) your mind comes up with for the question “What was there before the Big Bang?”


Hope you enjoyed that. Quantum Mechanics (QM) and Relativity have today evolved to having a point of view about the answer to this question. Today the perspective is that fluctuations in quantum possibility caused the Big Bang. That presupposes that quantum possibility existed all along but in a state of equilibrium until these supposed fluctuations took place without a cause i.e. randomly, which raises the question “What created the quantum possibility?” Not to mention “What the heck is quantum possibility?”

In fact quantum possibility is simply the old metaphysical concept of “possibility” with the word “quantum” in front of it to make it sound scientifically respectable.

The ancient saying “Out of Nothing, Nothing Comes” reflects the human intuition that there is no free lunch. It also means that something cannot come out of nothing, because that would just mean the something was there in the nothing all along, but hiding.

So it is also possible that the universe could have in the beginning been simple nothingness, without even quantum foam, today’s term for the aether i.e. the spatiotemporal matrix as it exists before you count anything that is in it. In fact, isn’t it much more logical that nothing should have ever existed? After all, where would something have come from?

The human intuition is biased toward including time in every picture — time which QM says does not actually exist out of the context of an observer’s consciousness — and is therefore not a constant something in itself but is different for different observers. Yet we insist on intuiting with time in the picture. This makes us think “There must have been some beginning, but what was there before that, and what started time?”

The other way of thinking, without the bias toward including time, is that everything is already in every state it will ever be in, at once, i.e. all of time is condensed into a single frame in the consciousness of the universe. Thus there was no beginning, no something coming out of nothing, because what has always existed is this single master consciousness, existing in its own view within a single instant of its own time.

This could be Its motivation in creating its little selves like us who can scoot around in a series of instants and have a rollercoaster ride unlike any other route through the game that any other created little self has ever traveled before. Thus there can be an infinity of experienced information within the one instant.

Going back to the time-based way of thinking, if there ever had been Nothing, could anything have come out of it? An emergent characteristic of the Nothing?

If Possibility is a real thing then Possibility could have co-existed with the Nothing, because Possibility is not a something, it is just a possibility of a something. But are these mere words without real referents, i.e. for things that actually exist?

“Nothing should ever have existed” is a permanent perception of one part of my mind, the part that thinks in terms of there being a beginning — which most of me doubts. It is comforting that we do not know everything, yet some day we might learn the real answers to these incredibly important questions in understanding who and what we are.

Nothing should ever have existed — that’s like saying “They gave a universe and nobody came.” It just seems improbable that anything could exist since how could the universe start out in any condition other than Nothingness? Nothingness seems to have to be the rest state — the starting condition — doesn’t it?

Thinking this way the ancient Kabalists saw the universe being formed in three steps:

  1. Ain — Nothingness
  2. Ain Soph — the Nothingness becomes self-aware forming a singularity in space (first Kether)
  3. Ain Soph Aur — endless light begins to stream from the singularity in space

I wrote a book for my grandson Nicholas David called The Nothing’s Imagination based on this premise: the active cause for the bootstrap operation by which Nothing gave birth to Everything was the imagination of the conscious Nothingness.

Hope you’ve enjoyed a little mind stretching contemplation of the virtual beginning of everything. If your mind feels different, please do something creative and fulfilling right now, or as soon as you can.

From now on we will start each post by stating the intended benefit of the psychotechnology in that post, as we did here.

Best to all,



One thought on “One of the Greatest Mind Stretchers

  1. DG

    Hi Bill,

    Great probe. For me the key to thinking about what existed before the Big Bang is to focus metaphorically rather than literally. Quantum Science seems to be pushing us more towards Depth Psychology than to literal laboratory results.




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