The first law in thermodynamics says that energy can never be lost; it can only change its state. The second law says that, in an isolated or closed system, energy tends towards increasing states of disorder and randomness; energy is not lost, but it becomes more and more diluted and ineffective. This law is called the law of entropy. Entropy is measured as the degree to which energy has lost the capacity to perform useful work. For instance, when we have given off heat and humidity through our skin and breath, this energy has left our bodies and is no longer ours to use. This second law of thermodynamics applies only to closed or isolated systems. Closed systems are those which can exchange energy with other systems, but not exchange matter. In isolated systems, neither matter nor energy are exchanged. These latter isolated systems are rarely found in nature.
A cup of hot coffee is an example of a closed system. The thermodynamic principles of a closed system state that heat will migrate from bodies of a higher temperature to those of a lower temperature. Since room temperature is lower than hot coffee, the coffee will gradually become cooler until it reaches room temperature.
We can say that this simple principle is one of the laws of life on earth. A closed organic system will sooner or later lose all its heat and die physically; it is therefore entirely dependent on receiving energy from other systems – hence, the food chain. Some of this energy is obtained from the sun, but only plants can use the sun’s energy directly, through photosynthesis. To live on earth, we need food, water, heat, and air, and we simply cannot survive in isolation from our environment. So because of the law of entropy, we must constantly exchange energy with the outer world through a complex network of interactions.
Energy exchange counteracts the rapid deterioration of the external world due to entropy. For plants and animals, the energy they acquire from the outer world is later released back into it in the form of generated heat or various chemical reactions. In the natural world, this process of return often means being eaten by a stronger animal. Humans have learned how to slow and control entropy in some ways and increase physical and energetic sustainability. But there are limits to this. For instance, we are unable to manage or decrease the progress of entropy of the sun or of the universe as a whole.
Emotional Dependence and How to Balance Increasing Entropy
The second law can also be seen as one of the foundations of our social, economic, and psychological structures. For instance, we can see it operating in our emotional relationships with others. Human emotional neediness is like the proverbial well that can never be filled. No matter how much is poured into it, it all disappears as if by magic. Our emotional body, much like our physical body, needs its own kind of nourishment, but often it ‘eats’ without discrimination, in the same way that many people have poor eating habits and then suffer with health consequences. Indeed, most of the emotional attention and even well-intentioned affection we receive from others are like empty calories from a bad diet: they make us fat (emotionally) without nourishing our body (our soul). The problem with not being able to stop indulging excessive emotional cravings is that they result in the acceleration of the entropic process. Not only does an emotionally needy person take energy from others, he himself is also becoming more and more drained and deprived emotionally.
The misguided search for emotional fulfillment is one of the more serious examples of increasing psychological entropy. The amount of energy people expend in order to obtain emotional attention from others is enormous, and most of this energy is completely wasted because nothing is achieved by it. On the other side of the coin are the significant amounts of energy expended to satisfy others’ emotional needs; often one of our primary daily occupations is trying to satisfy others emotionally due to contrived and misguided compassion or morality, resulting in exhaustion and burnout. All such efforts to please others are wasted because entropy is relentlessly progressing in their emotional systems no matter what is offered to them from outside. It is like pouring tea into a teacup with a hole at the bottom: you have to pour very fast just to maintain the same level of tea – and the moment you stop, it all disappears.
The first step in going beyond emotional dependence is to create more of a self-contained psychological system based on the principles of self-love and inner integrity. In this way, we create a more efficient closed system on the relative psychological level: although it will not entirely halt the advance of entropy, it can minimize it. Once we achieve more psychological integrity, we become able to give emotionally to others in a much healthier way. We also increase our ability to receive and retain emotionally, much like an unbroken teacup can be filled up. Such emotional fulfillment will not be permanent because it, too, is subject to the second law and will dissipate in time. But at least a healthier exchange and flow of energies can be established; a truer and more balanced interdependence of giving and taking nurtures the emotional lives of all involved.
Emotional Fulfillment and Decreasing Entropy
Within a more self-contained system in one’s psychology and personality, through having more self-love and attaining more maturity, one can arrive at a point of relative emotional balance. But our personalities are very limited in their capacity for self-love because of their lack of access to pure subjectivity and inherently fragmented sense of self.
The human energy system is continuously leaking into the external environment on many levels. It is flawed, and its nature is imperfection. To really stop the otherwise inevitable progress of emotional entropy, we must embody the light of me and realize our soul. To achieve a requisite level of autonomy and embody the quality of self-love, we must merge with the essence of pure subjectivity. Even though self-love, on the relative human level, is psychological in nature, truer self-love – beyond the mind and its psychology – is the fundamental quality of our pure nature: it reflects our relationship with the light of me and universal subjectivity.
Emotional dependency stems from our inability to appreciate who we are, and we clearly cannot appreciate something that we have not actualized. When we are lost in the state of forgetfulness, our emotional frustration will grow constantly (unless it is repressed) and further accelerate our emotional entropy. We use others to try to get what we think we want, even though we do not really know what that is. And others use us: this is the exploitative and mutually parasitic emotional ‘eco-system’ of our societies. To transcend this, we must establish a relationship with the source of our existence, realize our light and, through this, effect the transformation of our psychological and emotional being.
The more our emotional existence is linked to our true self, the more we become pure and transparent manifestations of love. True love results in decreased entropy because love’s innermost nectar comes from the divine source, dispensing with any further need for the emotional exploitation of others. Love is its own source of energy, as long as it is realized in the context of our unity with the source of existence.
Love and the Law of Reverse Entropy
As noted, when the soul is awakened and enters the inner plane, entropy begins to decrease. The soul can be viewed as a relatively closed system. Unlike the material universe and those who live in the physical world, she is nurtured by the source of creation, which does not lose energy when it shines through the light of its manifestation. The soul is actually both an isolated and a closed system: it is isolated as the embodied light of individuality, but also closed since it merges and exchanges energies unceasingly, both receiving and giving, with universal subjectivity. The soul’s individual subjectivity is unified with the transcendent reality, and her self-nurturing takes place from being fully infused with the universal energy. She also nurtures the relative human self, acting as an energetic bridge from the inner to the outer realm.
Unless we are linked to the source of absolute energy, entropy is bound to increase in all facets of our life. Without this link, we desperately try to keep entropy in check by continually using the external world. No true balance between giving and taking is possible on this level because the earth is not a self-sustaining system. This one-way taking results in a win-lose situation in the short term and a lose-lose in the long term because we cannot take forever from a physical realm with finite resources. This kind of imbalance is transformed radically when we enter the inner universe of light and love. Not only are we then able to tap into the inexhaustible source of spiritual energy, we ourselves realize this inexhaustible self-generated energy within our own being. This is what Buddha meant by ‘Be a light unto yourself.’ This is also the meaning of the Zen koan, ‘If you have a staff, I will give you a staff. If you have no staff, I will take it from you.’ What the Zen master was really saying was: if you are not a light unto yourself, you are condemned to live in the condition of increasing entropy.
For our system to reverse the otherwise inevitable increasing entropy, it must find the source of its energy inside. This is unthinkable in the physical world, in the same sense that it is impossible to construct a machine that generates perpetual motion (one which will continue moving by itself indefinitely). Fortunately, different laws than those of the physical world apply to the inner universe, where the original force of existence is found within the realm of pure subjectivity.
The soul cannot be fully independent (alive in perpetual motion) in isolation from universal subjectivity, but she achieves her individual and relative independence through a combination of embodying her own light and the light of universal I am. In her relationship with universal I am, she is not merely taking without giving in a parasitic sense (like we take from the sun in the physical world); she is contributing to the universal through her very expansion into the inner realm. She is not just being nurtured by universal reality, like an empty vessel, but is able to generate her own light in the state of communion with the light of I am. After all, universal subjectivity is nothing but our own higher self. Looking even deeper, the relationship between the inner realm and the soul is beyond giving and taking: it is a relationship of love that never ceases to expand into higher states of love – an infinite reverse entropy of love that is continually arriving at increasingly higher conditions of divinity, truth, and empowerment.
Samadhi and Reverse Entropy
Even though we are part of the outer world, we are also separated from it. This means that, in spite of being naturally supported by its energy, we still have to make further efforts to sustain ourselves and survive. Most of the creatures on this planet spend their days seeking and eating food. They are constantly busy supporting their own separate physical-energy systems. If they stopped putting so much energy into survival, they would succumb to increasing entropy and die much sooner.
The inner world of samadhi is different. In it, we do not need to do anything for spiritual sustenance because we are plugged in to the absolute source of power. Being one with the real time of universal evolution, our spiritual entropy is operating in reverse, and so constantly decreasing. The result of this is that we keep growing into higher and higher levels of perfection. This evolution from perfection into higher perfection is what can be called ‘reverse entropy’.
The wonder of the soul is comprised of her flawless presence together with her immaculate absorption in the heart of creation. But her state is not static – it is flowing endlessly into the mystery of the supreme reality and, as it flows in real time, intelligence evolves into higher intelligence, understanding is transformed into higher understanding, bliss is transformed into higher bliss, love is transformed into higher love, and perfection is transformed into even higher and unimaginable perfection.
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