January 17, 2014
We all experience the invisible world in our lives. Even those of us who believe in the methods and proofs of science, to the exclusion of all other modes of reaching belief, know of love, truth, insight, and trust. Such things do not fit comfortably into the systems built by and upon empirical belief structures; even if we agree that limbic neuropeptides comprise a necessary but insufficient explanation for our deepest and brightest feelings. Chemicals cannot tell the whole story of profundity — and even if they could, down to the subatomic level — would that make love and trust more palpable, measurable, even banal?
The point I’m leading to here is not about the ontological status of scientific belief or theory; it is about the areas where the invisible and the manifest intersect in space-time. Feelings, ideas, the pure elegance of vision, concept, and mathematical perfection — these are all of the invisible, the immaterial, the formless. We all have a sense for these, because we have all experienced them thus. Where our trust tends to waver or collapse is not in this, but in the matrix wherein the immaterial and the manifest connect and co-influence, where we can sense and affirm that they are two aspects of the same reality.
So even as we acknowledge the reality of love, inner truth, and even spirit, we demand that they hold to their places. They do not belong in the workplace or in most areas of personal material life — or at least their place in those arenas is restricted, confined, distorted through a process of delimitation. I used to suspect that this is because we have a poor understanding or experience of the invisible realities of our lives; and that might still be part of the explanation. But I now think there’s much more to it, and one way I think we can test this thought is to explore that space within and around us where the noumenal meets the material, that matrix in which the invisible communicates with the manifest, and influences both its measure and direction.
This is one of the primary benefits of meditation, that it can help us to explore that territory where the invisible and the manifest coalesce and interact. It is only seemingly paradoxical that certain metaphors of science may help us there. One of my current favorites is string theory, an organization of concept and mathematics that attempts to unify diverse and seemingly conflicting notions about the primal order and behavior of the universe. If you can spend 40 minutes with Michio Kaku (especially the last 10-15 minutes of the video below), you may be able to begin to see the point.
What if we could experience ourselves, our lives, in this way? What if we could perceive the foundation of money, work, relationships, physical health, and all the other material aspects of our lives in the context of a vibrational harmony that underlies and influences all of these — a nexus of invisible energy that makes the visible itself possible? Isn’t this what science is supposed to be about, after all — something to help us approach and actualize reality and truth in our own lives through an apperception of a greater understanding than is superficially apparent to us? In such a model, the vibrating harmonics of the sub-sub-atomic reality that subsumes and enables everything in the macro realm of the molecular and the manifest represent our inner and hidden reality that enables and nurtures what is apparent and measurable.
Take another look at that video and Kaku’s description of the four forces: the first one, gravity, is a principle of attraction. What, after all, is Love? Could we not understand gravity as a primal form of Love? Electromagnetism could similarly be seen as a principle of inner and outer action, communication, and personal energy. The nuclear forces can comprise the energies of existential attraction — of destiny, if you will; they are the invisible catalysts of the visible phenomenon known as success.
Clearly, this is only an idea, and perhaps a poorly formed one at that. Even at its most basic conceptual level, actual string theory contains complexities that whiz over the heads of ordinary folk like you and me. Nevertheless, scientists like Kaku wouldn’t do youtube videos if they didn’t want us to attempt some understanding, however flawed or incomplete, of their work and their ideas. To make such an effort is to cross, or at least to perceive, the line between ideology and understanding; between dogma and an apprehension of a deeper reality within ourselves.
One truth that is reinforced by such an attempt, for me, involves the movement from an obsession with change to a trust in transformation. Change is the shifting or reordering of manifest reality, the things and circumstances we all worry about in our lives. Poverty to wealth; illness to health; loneliness to relationship; disenfranchisement to a sense of belonging; feelings of despair to those of purpose — these movements occur in the realm of change; they comprise the macro-matter of our lives, the stuff created and potentiated by something else, another field of being and action through which the subliminal becomes apparent. If there are no strings within, there will be no particles without; if we cannot understand and participate in the harmonic of transformation, there can be no change.
So again, it is not a matter of me or anyone else prescribing to you how to make that crossing between transformation within and change without. If string theory doesn’t resonate with you, then something else will; the histories of our literature, spirituality, music, science, and mythologies are replete with guides to making the crossing, to stretching the borders of understanding to encompass and surpass the material, the manifest, the apparent. Success in this is less a matter of direction than of attention; less of belief than of experience.
Thus, we come back to effort. But we will not attempt anything that seems futile or misdirected. Before there can be true effort, then, there must be trust — trust in your own potential, that there is something greater and deeper within you that has not been touched or released into the world, and which, once realized, will enrich the external. Experience that trust, and follow it, and you will soon discover that all the effort you need to cross the threshold between survival and living; helplessness and confidence; image and reality, will be there for you in abundance.