It struck me, while watching the steam rise off my pan of hot water earlier, that the universe, in physical terms, behaves in the same way today as it did 4 billion years ago. Before life even existed in any conscious form. When the earth was busy shaping itself from its own internal pressures. Spewing out toxins and branding itself with molten rock. Change comes from within, and is nurtured from external sources...
Early this morning I picked up a spider to put him outside of my room, where he had been busy decorating my ceiling with intricately woven threads and lifeless, half-eaten flies. My intention was to give him a new home, where he could spin to his heart’s content and concentrate on his hunting skills. But in the transition from here to his new place in the hall, at the top of the stairs, I accidentally hurt one of his legs and when I put him down he limped off pitifully, leaving me feeling guilty and sad. This was not the outcome that I had envisioned in my idealistically inclined, slightly deluded mind. The last thing that I wanted was to injure another sentient being, but unfortunately it is in the nature of my karma, our collective karma and other beings’ individual karma, for the outcome of my actions to be in some way harmful.
To use the analogy of the web, these are the threads that bind us and connect us and constitute the means by which we are held in Samsara until the weight and pressure of Dukkha transforms our perspective enough that deep religious insight becomes possible.
I’m reading a book about gravity, space-time and general relativity theory. I love that stuff. One of Einstein’s most powerful and least understood insights, that later gave way to a comprehensive understanding of the universe, was that time does not follow a linear trajectory, as suggested by our somewhat shallow perceptions of it. But is embedded in the fabric of space, which curves around massive objects, creating extremely complex distortions that dictate the way we travel from the past though the present and into the future. As a result of this phenomena there is an almost imperceptible suspension of the present moment in relation to our experience of external objects, which increases in proportion to the distance that we are from them. Until we have perceived an object, it cannot be said to be relative to us in terms of past, present or future because it is following a course through the universe that is not relevant to our position in space-time.
As I contemplated these things in the kitchen this morning, I saw the statue of Amida sitting in the corner, smiling warmly. He made me think of Sukhavati. Peace, bliss, neither here nor there...but somewhere. ‘’Could Other Power be thought of, experientially, as an extended moment between the past and the future?’’ I thought.
I love the fact of these complexities that are inherent to our realities, which are taken so much for granted and thereby, to some extent, stripped of their depth and meaning. They speak to me of our struggles as Humans to understand and interpret the lives of our fellow beings. We cannot possibly know and comprehend the depths and intricacies of the forces that conspired to bring us to this point in the vastness of space-time, let alone the causes and conditions that are insidiously influencing others’ ideas and actions. We only experience a tiny fraction of what goes on for them, the strategies that they have formed in order to navigate this psycho-social super-swamp of fear and love and tumult, with some degree of dignity and peace of mind. The structures, physical, psychological, spiritual, social...that they cling to in order to anchor themselves in something familiar in the midst of all this change.
I don’t really know where I’m going with this now. So I’m just going to finish with one of my favorite quotes by Isaac Newton(who, many people don't know, was a Master Alchemist as well as a physics genius) keeping it in the spirit of science and spiritual growth:
‘’The changing of bodies into light, and light into bodies, is very normal to the course of nature, which seems delighted by transmutations.’’
Namo Amida Bu( :
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