We can appreciate that the colors we experience are just appearing in the mind—the light itself is not colored, it is simply energy of varying frequencies, the color we experience coming from the representation of that frequency in the mind—but it is more difficult to appreciate the same is true of the solidity we experience around us. It not only looks solid, we can touch it and feel its solidity, and experience how it impedes our movement.
We seem to be experiencing the world directly—overlooking the fact that all we experiencing, including this solidity, is a representation of the world “out there” that appears in our field of knowing.
Even more challenging is the fact that the space in which these forms exist, from right in front of my nose to the distant skyline, is also an appearance in the mind. Our knowing has taken on the appearance of space, and within this space are placed the images we have made of the world around—the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations that have been constructed.
The space we see around us is in fact the space of awareness in which all experiences appear. But now it has various substantial forms distributed throughout, confirming the assumption that we are directly experiencing an independent reality “out there.”
What we thought of as solid matter turns out to be largely empty space, and even so-called elementary particles turn out to have no real substance. As the German physicist Hans-Peter Durr put it, “Whatever matter is, it is not made of matter.” Matter as we conceive of it, exists only in the mind. Matter-stuff is just another concept, another form of mind-stuff. Another modulation of the field of knowing.
Moreover, anything we may say about the world “out there” is another form appearing in the mind. All our ideas about the world—our scientific theories and mathematical equations, our concepts of matter, energy, quarks, strings, particles, waves—they are all appearing in our field of knowing. They are no more substantial than our thoughts.
In the final analysis, it is all mind-stuff appearing as matter-stuff.
Everything I know is an appearance that “I” have taken on. “I” am, appearing as this thought, these feelings, the sounds I hear, the world I see before me. It is all arising from and within my own being.
This is very different from the claim that I am one with everything, which assumes an external reality with which I am identifying, or feel a oneness with. It is not so much that I am one with the world—the physical world I imagine around me—but that the world of my experience is one with me. This is all me!