Wednesday, September 14, 2005

"Material World"

First, many of our ancestors thought the world was flat and that the Sun rotated around the Earth (150 A.D., Claudius Ptolemy). It was a kind of two dimensional interpretation of the material world. This was also reflected in art, which often gave a two dimensional representation of the reality as it was perceived at that moment.

At a certain moment this concept was slowly being adjusted to the more three dimensional view of the earth rotating on its axis daily and travelling around the sun yearly (1530, Copernicus). In art a movement became visible of more three dimensional images.

At the end of the 19th century a more detailed view of our material world became apparent, when the electron came into our knowledge
(1897, J.J. Thomson). This was the first step into a world of detail, describing the structure of our material world, which was followed by many more discoveries, now known as Quantum Mechanics (Q.M.History).

We now start to understand that the biggest part of our material world (what we call "reality") is "a "nothing," "void," and "vacuum" [These words] usually suggest uninteresting empty space. To modern quantum physicists, however, the vacuum has turned out to be rich with complex and unexpected behaviour." (Quantum Vacuum)

The same surprising revelation happens to anyone that dares to challenge their own personal construction of reality. When you focus on what your body is telling you, each moment of your waking conscious, you may find yourself confronted with a similar "nothing," "void," and "vacuum". And it may scare the hell out of you when you try to hold on to your past perception and construction of your personal "reality" and identity.

It is when we delve into the depths of our own existence that we discover new insights, both in the scientific realms, as shown above, as well as in the personal realms of our existence. When we dare to challenge the views that influence our perception of reality, we start to turn our experience of "nothing" into an adventurous journey of spaciousness.

As much as we now start to understand "the structure of our material world" which we perceive as reality, it is challenging for us to investigate "the structure of our identity" which we also perceive as reality. As children we build our personal perception of reality, based on what those we trust are telling us about reality, and based on our personal interpretations of emotions and situations. Just like scientists construe reality, we construe our personal reality. And just like "we visualize the vacuum in the same way as the Ancients did because we are still starting from the same limited collection of internal imagery", we are also inclined to visualize our personal reality and identity based on "a limited collection of internal imagery".

Before the "void" or "vacuum" was mentioned by scientists as being "rich with complex and unexpected behaviour", old lectures are mentioning such richness already for thousands of years. An example comes from the Zen Teaching of Huang Po: "The Void is not really void, but the realm of the real Dharma"(Shambhala Pocket Classics). It is a challenge to all of us to discover the void within our own body and mind and to discover the spaciousness within our own structure of reality.

When we explore our personal structure of reality, we discover the elements of our fortification that we have needed, to give meaning to both wonderfully inspiring as well as emotionally hurtful experiences. This is exactly what our ancestors did when they construed a two dimensional concept of their world.

As we become curious about the personal structure that we have created around the "void" within us, we start to distinguish the truths about how we express our being into this world and why we do it in our own unique way. We also start to feel that the "void" or emptyness is not a threat to us, but an unlimited space of potentiality!

I wish you a wonderful and inspiring journey,