The infinite universe. Within it, the speck of human consciousness. Many consider a single person to be insignificant in its smallness. On the grand scale of things, we stand almost imperceptibly small.
In addition to our diminutive stature, we feel absolutely cut off from the rest of creation. We stand alone, separated from God and Goodness by the sins of those who came before us, with only the barest of chances of being Saved. It sounds pretty grim to me. Get it wrong and it’s a one-way ticket to nowhere. Gain access to an exclusive club, however, and you’ll be alright. Yeah, that definitely sounds grim to me.
As I grew up, I experienced the perception of being an entity that is separate from everything else. It wasn’t until I began serious meditation in my mid-to-late teens that I discovered the logical fallacy of that premise. It discovered that there is a lot more to us than, literally, meets the eye. We may inhabit seemingly finite bodies, but we are very much infinite beings.
The first logical failing of separation is that anything born of a universe that is entirely energy could somehow exist apart from it (or anything) in any way whatsoever. We spring forth from an infinite intention to form a bubble of consciousness, and possibly matter, that is very much aware of its relation to other so-called bubbles. These bubbles interact in various ways.
Bubbles of consciousness manifest in different ways. We label them in different ways, e.g., dark matter or dark energy, etc., yet the fundamental aspect is that these “things” all know about everything else in existence in some way, shape or form and interact with it all in meaningful ways. Some bubbles of consciousness are very, very small, called strings. Other bubbles are very large, called galaxies. And there are all manner of smaller-yet-complex organizations in between such extremes. Human beings are but one example.
Some of you reading this might have trouble associating a galaxy with consciousness, but the basis of the assertion is that All That Is in the universe is comprised of complex organizations of energy. So yes, Toto, this isn’t Kansas anymore and, yes, that asteroid we call Ceres has a consciousness. Not in the same vein as we recognize in humans, of course — that would require human physiology — but I maintain that all organizations of energy in the universe, including matter, have consciousness.
Exhibit A in my defence of this position is the fractal nature of the universe. One of the most astonishing things I’ve experienced is looking at complex organizations of matter and seeing the fractal expressions at all scales ranging from galaxy clusters down to the microscopic. There’s little, really, to differentiate the movement of the Local Group from a herd of whales. Sure, the whales change direction a little more easily, but the similarity is obvious. At least, it is to me.
When we zoom in from galaxy groups and zoom in on a solar system we see the sun and planets, looking remarkably like an atom’s nucleus and its orbiting electrons. Regardless of how far out you look or how far in you go, the fractal nature of what reality presents to us is a remarkably telling characteristic of our universe. Whether you’re looking at the chaotic aspects of crystal growth, fluid dynamics or galaxy formations, fractals come into play.
Fractals show themselves at the cellular level and subatomic level, too. It seems not to matter how small we try to go, either. Break apart a block of granite and what do you get? Smaller bits of granite. Get more granular and you get that granite into disparate little bits. Let’s call ’em particles. Break down those particles and you get smaller particles.
We’ve been breaking down particles for a lot of years. Somewhere in those particles, we feel, exists Truth: The Ultimate Particle. Except that probably isn’t really the case. Why? Well, for one thing, the universe isn’t comprised of particles, it’s comprised of energy. At some point, physical laws will reach the threshold of particleness only for us to finally have some boffin discover some other elementary something-or-other that’ll start off the whole search anew.
The Truth is more beautiful and subtle than physics’ quest for the Mother of All Particles, though. Simply put, the Truth is:
There is no separation between the Finite and the Infinite.
A certain Good Book describes that you were made in the image of the Creator. From a fractal view of the universe, this necessarily describes that you are the Creator. That’s because fractal expression implicitly includes inheritance. Which is to say by way of example, the parent always passes on its characteristics to its children. Object-oriented programmers will get this immediately.
We often think of the Creator/Universe as being complete and the rest of us being incomplete. I can’t accept that way of thinking in my view of reality. If I really do live in this universe (and I did the last time I checked), then all that I am must follow the same rules of the universe that all the other stuff does. The ramifications of this are far-reaching. Moreover, unless you want to kid yourself about Life, the Universe and Everything, it’s really worth thinking about for at least a few minutes.
We are One with All That Is. We are Spiritual Beings who are currently enjoying a physical expression. In our universe, energy is immutable, meaning that it cannot be destroyed. Since we, at our most elemental aspect, are energy, it means that we have everlasting life. Right off the top, then, you need fear not. You’re not going anywhere. You’re going everywhere.
In my next iteration as a physical entity, I think I want to be a star. Not a rock star or a movie star. A star. A big, fiery Class O giant of a star. After all, it’s better to burn out than to fade away. 😉
In a way you are a star, or at least comprised of heavy elements that were created within the super hot and high pressure guts of a star billions of years ago, and then spread across the universe to recollect around the orbit of a new young star in the form of planets that now include carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen / building blocks for carbon life etc. So as we live our lives feeling small & insignificant, separated from each other and or “god” therefore looking for inclusion to something that brings meaning and significance, in reality we already exist as a part of and product of a cosmos so much larger & in some cases infinitely larger than ourselves. We as a species are part of something HUGE with great significance and meaning.
YES! You absolutely got it. I completely agree that we are a part of something huge. In fact, I suspect that the universe itself is evolving and becoming something greater, with each of us offering our experiences as aspects of this universal introspection and self-awareness. I don’t think for a moment that we’re insignificant at all. Just as every cell in our body plays a vital role in our being human, we play just as vital a role in terms of the universe’s own existence.
Peace, and thanks for sharing. 😀
How do you think an event horizon might tie into there being separation or no separation?
That’s a great question. I guess it would depend on what kind of event horizon we’re discussing, but let’s stick with the more common association of black holes. Basically, within the black hole, all lightlike paths curve in on themselves due to the massive gravity of the singulariy. The event horizon itself is unique in that it has “friction”. Time cannot be reversed in this field.
It’s an interesting problem, to be sure, but it prompts the question: Is energy destroyed within the black hole? As far as I understand the math involved, the answer to that is still “no”. Moreover, while it used to be that we thought of black holes as being pretty much barren with regard to characteristics, new work suggests that they have both temperature and emit Hawking radiation.
Colloquially, one could envision passing the event horizon as entering a room without doors or windows. You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave. Appearances of separation aside, how can anything that is in the universe be separated from it? Ultimately, it can’t be. Black holes are not separate from the universe, they are a part of it. As such, the contents of black holes, too, loss of organization and integrity aside, remain a part of the universe.
Can metaphysical consciousness survive such an environment? Do the laws of physics allow for such elementary organizations of energy to remain viable in the presence of such unimaginable gravitational forces? I don’t know. I know the energy remains; I do not know the form it can take in such realms.
I suspect that one day the scientific community will understand the problem domain and have developed a language sufficient to describe an answer. In the meantime, we skirt between science and philosophy.
“….We stand alone, separated from God and Goodness by the sins of those who came before us, with only the barest of chances of being Saved. It sounds pretty grim to me. Get it wrong and it’s a one-way ticket to nowhere. Gain access to an exclusive club, however, and you’ll be alright. Yeah, that definitely sounds grim to me”.
“….in my next iteration as a physical entity, i think i want to be a star…
after all its better to burn out than to fade away”
A BIBLICAL AND SCIENTIFIC REBUTTAL TO REINCARNATION:
The concept of reincarnation is widely accepted among non-Christians, probably because it appeals to many who would like to believe that they would be given a second chance in case they failed to make the grade in this life. Christianity disputes reincarnation because it is unnecessary, since anybody can “make the grade” simply through an act of their own will through faith in Jesus Christ. The scientific rebuttal to reincarnation is quite simple. Because of the population explosion, more people are currently living on the earth than have ever lived on the earth for the entire history of humankind. In other words, over half of the people who have ever lived on earth have never died even once! There simply are not enough dead souls to go around for a second time. This does not absolutely eliminate reincarnation, but it does severely restrict its extent, especially for those who have claimed to have lived several times before. However, some people believe that souls can be reincarnated into or from animals. In that case, it is possible that many people have been frogs before they became princes.
What the New Testament says
Let’s look at what the New Testament says first. The most quoted verse disputing reincarnation is from the book of Hebrews:
And in as much as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)
Obviously, if a person dies only once, then he can’t be reincarnated. Other refutations of reincarnation came from Jesus. In His description of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man, Jesus indicated that the rich man was unable to do anything about his fate (eternal torment in Hell).2 Reincarnation is supposed to allow a person a second chance at heaven or nirvana. Jesus, in His teachings, indicated that people would have only one chance to obtain eternal life, otherwise suffer eternal punishment:
If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. (Matthew 18:8)
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)
“Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:45)
The New Testament letters also indicate that unrepentant people would suffer a final, unpleasant fate.3 Therefore, it is widely accepted by Christians that the New Testament declares reincarnation to be false.
What the Old Testament says
Is the Old Testament really so unclear about the fate of the dead that reincarnation is a possibility? Contrary to what I had originally thought, the Old Testament is not silent on the issue, but provides a clear stance on the subject. Many Old Testament verses affirm that the dead do not return to the land of the living.4 The Old Testament also affirms that people will enter into an eternal destiny after death. 5 The strongest argument against reincarnation comes from the book of Job, which declares several times that the dead do not return to the land of the living:
“When a cloud vanishes, it is gone, So he who goes down to Sheol does not come up. “He will not return again to his house, Nor will his place know him anymore. (Job 7:9-10)
While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. (Job 8:12-13)
Before I go– and I shall not return– To the land of darkness and deep shadow; (Job 10:21)
But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As water disappears from the sea or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so man lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, men will not awake or be roused from their sleep. (Job 14:10-12)
“For when a few years are past, I shall go the way of no return. (Job 16:22)
I have heard that certain rabbis interpret the verses from Job as denying resurrection rather than reincarnation. However, Job could not be referring to resurrection, since he specifically refers to returning to his house or his place. In addition, at one point, Job affirms resurrection, since his skin will be destroyed yet he will see God in his flesh.
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; (Job 19:26)
Reincarnation is a popular belief among many “spiritual” people, and is commonly held in most major religions. It has such popularity because people would like to believe that they will be given a second chance if they “blow it” in their first life. In Judaism, where salvation is based upon “being good,” one could be condemned quite easily by making some major mistakes in his life. The “hope” of reincarnation provides an escape from a God who demands righteousness. However, both the Old and New Testaments do not leave reincarnation as an option that God chose to use. Why would God not allow a second chance for those who made mistakes on their first attempt? The answer is quite simple. Salvation is a free gift for all who want it. It requires only repentance from your former life (admitting you were wrong and wish to change) and belief in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross to atone for your sins. Anyone can be saved through the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ. Don’t expect a second chance to go to heaven. Today is the day of salvation!
I fully appreciate and respect that your faith disagrees with the idea of reincarnation. That said, I do not feel that science has disproven the idea of it. In fact, in the purest of physics, science would have a hard time ruling out reincarnation.
One of the immutable laws of physics is that energy can neither be destroyed or created; it can only change its state. This means that the number of souls we see in our Earthly experience must come from a finite pool of resources. These souls aren’t “poof” coming from nowhere, they emerge from the elements that make up Creation.
A flaw in the souls argument is that Christianity assumes that all peoples’ souls will only be people. That belief is a side effect of the ego needing to be different than animals and, therefore, stand apart from them. Although Christianity teaches that souls are the sole domain of humanity, there is no science to back up that assertion.
If one accepts that humanity is a part of Creation (the universe) and that humanity came from and must adhere to the laws of Creation, it creates the situation where we have to assume that not only do humans have souls, but all other animals, plants and likely even what we consider to be inanimate objects.
Our greatest impediment to understanding the greatness of Creation is the failed assumption that Man being created in His image means that God LOOKS like us, ACTS like us and THINKS like us. A more open interpretation would be that we have come from the elements of Creation itself and are inextricably linked to the matrix of all that is.
All life is eternal. Energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed. When we depart this plane of existence, we emerge into another to begin the next step of our journey.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. 🙂
Much love to you!
Please understand that the bible is divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and not the product of academic research. What is written in it , is specifically what God ask to be written. That said; Christianiy does not teach that souls are the sole domain of humanity. The bible tells us that man created in the image of God has an immortal soul and is therefore accountable, whether animals have souls or not, they are not accountable and cannot be judged.
”God LOOKS like us, ACTS like us and THINKS like us”? NAH! – We look like God. God clearly states that he neither acts nor thinks like us. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55 vs 8 – 9)
“All life is eternal. Energy cannot be destroyed.” – 100% correct. But, when we depart this plane of existence we transit to one of 2 places in the other realm and must spend eternity in one of them. The road to one eternal existence? “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and the road is narrow. The road to the ‘other’ eternal existence is actually very wide, but very horrible. And those who have had NDE’s and were lucky to return confirm this, after coming face to face with truth. Whether they were Athiest, Buddist, or Hindu, they returned as evangelical Christians, they didn’t need anybody in this realm to preach to them, they knew better.
Much Love, Gloria
“Please understand that the bible is divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and not the product of academic research.”
Indeed. Divine inspiration is a wonderful thing, yet one’s interpretation of the message comes via one’s cultural and linguistic wrappings of the era. Parables teach the morals of a specific culture and time, using examples that are understandable by the people within that culture and time. That is why, for example, we have modern translations of the bible, and it is why we have so many branches of Christianity. Each teaches somewhat different interpretations of The Word. Sadly, violence over which version of Christianity is correct is not uncommon.
“What is written in it , is specifically what God ask to be written.”
That is a matter of opinion and belief held by those who follow The Word. As I am not a follower, I’m more inclined to say that what is written is what the person was inspired to write in order to pass on the teachings in the best possible way.
” But, when we depart this plane of existence we transit to one of 2 places in the other realm and must spend eternity in one of them.”
Here is where I fundamentally disagree. The whole concept is: “Unless you do things our way, you’re going to suffer for all eternity. The only way to avoid that suffering is to join our exclusive club.” Any religion that announces that it is right and all others are wrong is exclusionary and divisive.
“Whether they were Athiest, Buddist, or Hindu, they returned as evangelical Christians”
That’s an optimistic and incorrect assertion. On the topic of the NDE, Dr. Raymond Moody wrote: “Of all the possible near-death elements, the light exerted the greatest influence on the individual. Patients interpreted the light as a being – a being that radiated love and warmth. Christians recognized the light as Christ. Atheists identified the spirit only as a guide.” (The Light Beyond, p.22)
I’ve had a near-death experience. It was extremely profound and made me entirely aware that I’m not alone in my life journey (something that has been proven since then many times). It did not, however, convert me to Christianity.
Much love. 🙂
Sorry for the typo/grammar