I came to realize clearly that mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars.
This the spirit that Beauty must ever induce, wonderment and a delicious trouble, longing and love and a trembling that is all delight.For the unseen all this may be felt as for the seen; and this is the Soul's feel for it, every Soul in some degree, but those the more deeply that are the more truly apt to this higher love – just as all take delight in the beauty of the body but all are not stung as sharply, and those only that feel the keener wound are known as Lovers.These Lovers, then, lovers of the beauty outside of sense, must be made to declare themselves.
(an answer to a challenge asked by Sean Carroll on Twitter,
originally posed by physicist John Wheeler.)
There is a lot to say about quantum mechanics, perhaps the most mysterious idea ever to be contemplated by human beings, but all we need is one simple (but hard to accept) fact:
How the world appears when we look at it is very different from how it really is.
The Particle at the End of the Universe -
The Hunt for the Higgs and the Discovery of a New World
We are all made of bits moving in complicated quantum motions, but when we look closely at those bits, we find that they are located out at the farthest boundaries of space.I don’t know anything less intuitive about the world than this.
Getting our collective head around the Holographic Principle is probably the biggest challenge that we physicists have had since the discovery of Quantum Mechanics.
The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to
Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
Looking back on how he arrived at this notion of finding one’s bliss, Campbell touches on the crucial difference between religious faith and secular spirituality:
I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: Sat, Chit, Ananda. The word “Sat” means being. “Chit” means consciousness. “Ananda” means bliss or rapture. I thought, “I don’t know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don’t know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being.” I think it worked.
The religious people tell us we really won’t experience bliss until we die and go to heaven. But I believe in having as much as you can of this experience while you are still alive.
If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.
Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us, the labyrinth is fully known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.
We must assume our existence as broadly as we in any way can; everything, even the unheard-of, must be possible in it. That is at bottom the only courage which is demanded of us: to have courage for the most extraordinary, the most singular, and the most inexplicable that we may encounter.
Only he or she who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most inigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive and will wholly expand his or her being.
For if we think of this existence of the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and down.
Thus, they have a certain security.
And yet that dangerous insecurity is so much more human than that which drives the prisoners in Poe's stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their abode.
We, however, are not prisoners. We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us.
Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them.
And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful.
How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses;
perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.
–Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet
By itself nothing has existence.
Everything needs its own absence.
To be is to be distinguishable, to be here and not there,
to be now and not then, to be thus and not otherwise.
Like water is shaped by the container, so is everything
determined by conditions (gunas).
Remember, you are entirely on your own.You must realize first of all that you are the proof of everything, including yourself.
None can prove your existence, because this existence must be confirmed by you first.
Your being and knowing you owe nobody.
You are entirely on your own.
You do not come from somewhere, you do not go anywhere.You are timeless being and awareness.
–Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
I live my life in growing orbits
which move out over the things of the world.
Perhaps I can never achieve the last,
but that will be my attempt.
I am circling around God, around the ancient tower
and have been circling for a thousand years
and I still do not know if I am a falcon, a storm
or a great song.
–Rainer Maria Rilke
Robert Bly translation
How shall I hold on to my soul, so thatit does not touch yours? How shall I gentlylift it up over you on to other things?
I would so very much like to tuck it away
among long lost objects in the dark,
in some quiet, unknown place, somewhere
which remains motionless when your depths resound.
And yet everything which touches us, you and me,
takes us together like a single bow,
drawing out from two strings but one voice.
On which instrument are we strung?
And which violinist holds us in his hand?
O sweetest of songs.
–Rainer Maria Rilke
A leaf says,“Sweethearts—don’t pick me,For I am busy doingGod’s work.I am lowering my veins and roots
With buckets tied to them
Into the earth’s deep
Lake.I am drawing water
That I offer like a rose to
The sky.I am a singing cleaning woman
Dusting all the shelves in
With my elegant green
Rags.I have a heart.
I can know happiness like
So the subatomic particles we see in nature, the quartz, the electrons are nothing but musical notes on a tiny vibrating string.
What is physics? Physics is nothing but the laws of harmony that you can write on vibrating strings.
What is chemistry? Chemistry is nothing but the melodies you can play on interacting vibrating strings.
What is the universe?
The universe is a symphony of vibrating strings and then what is the mind of God? Its the cosmic music resonating through eleven dimensional hyperspace.
We do not “come into” this world;
we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.
As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.”
Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals.Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated “egos” inside bags of skin.You didn’t come into this world.
You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.You are not a stranger here.
look at love...how it tangleswith the one fallen in lovelook at spirithow it fuses with earthgiving it new lifewhy are you so busywith this or that or good or badpay attention to how things blendwhy talk about allthe known and the unknownsee how unknown merges into the knownwhy think separatelyof this life and the nextwhen one is born from the lastlook at your heart and tongueone feels but deaf and dumbthe other speaks in words and signslook at water and fireearth and windenemies and friends all at oncethe wolf and the lambthe lion and the deerfar away yet togetherlook at the unity of thisspring and wintermanifested in the equinoxyou too must mingle my friendssince the earth and the skyare mingled just for you and mebe like sugarcanesweet yet silentdon't get mixed up with bitter wordsmy beloved growsright out of my own hearthow much more union can there be?
Nader Khalili translation