In the process of change comes uncertainty. For some, this is a positive opportunity for development, progress, creativity and fresh ideas. For others, it produces anxiety, disturbance and fear of the unknown and unfamiliar. Those who fear change will try to do whatever they can to retain the status-quo they feel most comfortable in. The reality is that this is pointless and in contrast to a universe that is in constant flux. Nothing remains the same.
It is far better to accept the inevitability of change, whether it be in society or the leaves on a tree, or even the eventuality of death. The processes of birth, decomposition and renewal are all about us daily to observe and learn.
Likewise, holding onto myths of nationalism, ethnicity and so on, to the point where violence is even applied to protect them, is folly behaviour in extreme. It is like trying to retain the petals of a flower in a typhoon: The inevitable will happen, whether we like it or not. Change will come, and we had best learn to adapt and flow with it, rather than to resist.
Granite is a strong natural material, but over time, it will be reduced to nothing. As an ancient proverb says, it is better to be bamboo that bends in the wind, rather than bamboo that does not.
“Before we understood science, it was natural to believe that God created the universe, but now science offers a more convincing explanation. What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is we would know everything that God would know if there was a God, but there isn’t. I’m an atheist” – Stephen Hawking
This word “God” is a semantic hurdle. The word can mean many things to many people, including simply or complexly, the universe itself in abstraction. It is just a label applied to the great mysteries that abound, just as the phrase “the Big Bang” is. Words try to find meaning in the darkness. They are conveniences.
I do agree that science can discover great, underlying truths, and perhaps the mind of “God”. We may even discover if the universe is a hologram, and that we are the universe itself, enfolded infinitely. We may even discover, as some maverick scientists postulate now, that the universe is a simulation. We may discover then, that in the beginning was, indeed, the word.
What the mathematics of science brings to Truth is accuracy over the flowery flourishes of metaphor used by mystics. Yet, we must not be mistaken in thinking that the insights of mystics are any less valid and valuable for understanding Truth. I see no difference between the Big Bang and the Aborigines’ Rainbow Serpent dreaming the world into existence. No difference at all, except the words used.
I have always believed that mathematics may well be the language of God. However, the words of great mystics should not be diminished any less in their value for understanding Truth. There is much wisdom, poetry and insight to be found in the metaphors of mystics. Even the mystics themselves though have repeatedly pointed out the inadequacy of words to express the insights they have gained from their experiences of the divine. The Buddha was himself reluctant to try and explain what he had gained, because he doubted that his awakening could be adequately expressed through words. The Sufi mystic, Rumi said, “If I could repeat it, people passing by would be enlightened and go free.”
Arthur C. Clark once wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” In defining something, we often fail to see things as they truly are. Indeed, if I must choose labels, I much prefer the poeticness of magic, over the coolness of technology, regardless of if they are an indistinguishable thing. Perhaps it is the poetry of the term God that makes it such an appealing label for the great unknown.
Whilst sitting with my Zen Master, something suddenly occurred to me:
Human life is exactly like a leaf on a tree. In Spring, it buds into existence. In Summer, it reaches its full potential, bright and green. In Autumn, it begins to lose it’s vibrancy, turning brown and falling to the ground below. In Winter, it decomposes and becomes one with the earth again.
This metaphor is perhaps obvious, but the difference is in how a human life and a leaf go through these changes. A leaf is without consciousness, and passes through the process of existing, very, very quietly and being what it simply is. Humans, by contrast, manifest great anguish as we grasp desperately to what will inevitably be lost. If only we could remain silent like a leaf, being the thing as it is, with the sweet clarity of Truth and without the grandiose delusions of self.
Photography by El-Branden Brazil
Wouldn’t it be spectacular to step beyond faith, speculation, cultural indoctrination, hearsay, imagination, fantasy, convenience and lies, so as to really know what ABSOLUTE TRUTH is? To truly know what lies beyond the universe? Is the universe a construct of our minds? Do we live in a holographic universe? What is the purpose of the universe? Is there life after death? What is time? Does God need to exist? Is it all but a simulation? If so, who built the simulation? Is there no purpose to anything? Is ultimate reality inherently empty? Does intelligence exist elsewhere? How is consciousness possible? What is the mind? What are we? What am I?
…to know if the dream is a dream.