(This week's entry is excerpted from my upcoming book "Be: A Radical Understanding of Self and Universe", currently a work in progress.)
A long time ago...
When I am about to begin my shamanic work, I call in the compassionate spirits of the directions. When I look and call to the East, I refer to it as the “land of the dawn, source of new beginnings”. In a way, it is the direction of the emergence of the New.
Normally, we look from East to West. We follow the arc of the sun across the sky as it tilts to the South (for those of us in Northern Hemisphere) and makes its way to the western horizon. But what happens if, instead, we direct our consciousness to go East and stay East? Keep going?
It feels to me like going back in time. I go back into what was new last month, last year, last century...
If we go East long enough, we find ourselves in the Garden of Eden, that mythological, paradisaical place of our first sentient “awakening” - the beginning of our awareness of “self” and, with it, the great separation of ourselves from one-another and from God. Books can be written about this moment, this place.
But what happens if we keep going East from there? What is East of Eden?
Human consciousness begins to become vague. It “de-separates”. It looks (viewed with time going in reverse) like human consciousness is dissolving back into God. Before we were human, and had our human brains and human thoughts and human words, we...weren't. God did not have this kind of “vehicle” through which to experience the Creation. God did not have this kind of voice for creative expression. There was nobody to cut and polish the emerald. No one to quarry the marble or carve La Pieta. No one to create the beautiful Roman font or carve it on the frieze of the Roman Forum.
So God expressed him/herself through the cycles of life and culture and relationships among all the animals and plants.
Further East, though. Further. Waaay East.
Walking back through the Hebrew creation myth, out of the darkness, God created Light. And thought it was good.
But wait. One more step back. From the Gospel of John: “In the beginning, there was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God.”
Before there was Light, there was the Word. Before there was Light, there was “information”. Where was that “information”?
I humbly submit: it was in the Void. The Void was not (is not) empty in the way we think of a void being “empty space”. The Void was/is full of...information. Some kind of meta-information, proto-information out of which everything can be constructed. An information “field”.
What happened next was the combination of Information, plus Intention (God said, “Let there be Light...”).
We call that moment, in science, the Big Bang. I don't think that's accurate. I think it's more likely the “Big Bloom”. Our universe is unfolding. Infinitely unfolding. Scientists call it the “expanding universe”. But we have this notion that the “in between” space, that space between the galaxies, between the stars, between the planets, even the space between the protons and electrons inside our bodies, is “empty space”. It's not. It's the Void. That very self-same Void out of which, when God thought, “Hey, let's have some light!”, light spontaneously appeared.
Confounding physicists earnest desire for that space to be empty, recent scientific probing has discovered evidence of...something...lurking in that empty space. Physicists have a placeholder term for what seems to be hiding there - they call it "Dark Matter" or "Dark Energy", which they cannot detect but have a sneaking suspicion is what makes up more than 95% of the mass of the Universe.
We're not living in a universe that is the buckshot fired from a shotgun shell, spreading and slowing and becoming more random. We're living in a Universe that is like a flower, with the potential for infinite bloom-lets to bloom within its bloom. Our Universe is one big fractal blossom, with every space within it full of infinite potential for the spontaneous emergence of “more”, perhaps even as much “more” as another whole Universe, or an infinite number of other Universes.
Interestingly, that is one of the interpretations of the “meaning” of quantum theory. One interpretation of its weird properties implies that with every decision of “quantum significance”, additional universes are brought into being, even though, because of our limited consciousness, we can only perceive the one we're in. Again, I am not making this up. Quantum physicists are.
So. What is waaaay East of Eden? Infinite potential. And that same Infinite potential exists in the space between the sub-atomic particles in just ONE of your body's atoms. As surely as there is a universe “out there”, there is a universe “in here” - inside of you – that is no less real, no less powerful, no less magnificent and wondrous. The full potential of the Void is there, within you. You just haven't said, “Let there be Light” yet (...and the neighbors thank you).
Interestingly, the Void within you is not actually separate from the Void “out there”. It's all the same fabric. It permeates everything and is within and around everything, in full measure. When I think about this notion, I get light-headed. I experience a bit of vertigo, and my consciousness seems to be less tethered to my body. My body also undergoes a transformation – it becomes more permeable. More like a sponge, with the mystical Void passing through it. With every breath or motion, I become aware of the gargantuan spaces between the sub-atomic particles of me. I realize that I am, by volume, vastly empty of “things” and vastly full of “Void”. To be a bit more precise, the human body is no less than 99.99999999999% Void. And, depending on one's interpretation of the nature of a proton (is it made of quarks?), then we're actually 100% void. Everything we are, feel and perceive is a “field effect”.
No BBs or billiard balls at all. None. Just “points of energy expressing themselves together” in a field.
Kind of like a symphony of instruments creating a wall of sound you can feel.
As perplexing as this language sounds, and as mystical as it sounds, this is the nature of the reality you live in, as understood and described by modern physics. And as understood and described by mystics and wizards and shamans and holypersons of every stripe and color and from every culture and age.
Interesting. Very interesting.