Look at the world. Not from where you stand now; look at it from space. See that image you have seen a hundred times or more, the big blue marble as captured by some Apollo astronaut. Do you see it? Hold that image in your mind’s-eye. Every thing that ever was, or is now, or ever will be from the perspective of what it means to be a human being exists only there. All the fear. All the worry. All the pain. That floating orb contains the sum total of what we imagine it is to be alive, to be human. All the stories we ever heard. All the miracles and wonder. All the tragedy and horror. You – the part of you that is capable of recognizing your mind, your thoughts, that elusive entity we call the self, is now outside and apart from the place where everything you know has happened; looking, observing a form that is no more than a container.
Your thought, or your awareness, seems to be encased in a container of its own – your body. You believe you’re in your body. That notion is as convincing as the one which anchors you to the larger container, the orb called Earth. You’re in a body, inside some structure like a house or a cafe, that sits tenuously on top of a thin layer of crust floating on magma compacted into a tight ball due to spin. Or so you think. Because somewhere within the strand of proteins inside each cell of your body is a little switch, an ingrained truth, one of billions, but this one is extremely important, it really is the basis of the most fundamental religion, and it is so much a part of our nature, our conception of reality, that it’s rarely questioned. That rarely questioned truism is this: Seeing is believing.
I see it, therefore it is real, it is true. If I touch it, or if just one of my other animal senses confirms my observation, then it becomes an absolute truth.
But truth is eternal. And nothing you can see or touch or sense with any of your body’s primitive mechanisms is eternal. Every thing you can see is temporary and will, at some point in linear time, vanish. Including the orb called Earth. You are eternal. The part of you that is aware of you. Your self. The I Am that transcends label, identity with form. Matter is not eternal, despite what your science teacher told you. So all of this preoccupation with form, with beauty, with ugliness, with nature, with shapes, geometry, curves and lines and light and shadow, it’s a Will-O-the-Wisp.There is no there there. But we are drawn to it.
Shapes. Objects. Shades of beauty. When I look at a mountain, at a sunrise or a the face of a child I feel something. It’s as if the form, with all its nuance of texture and color and shadow, contains the essence of something more powerful, more meaningful; something truer than a physical reflection or physical reality itself. And that something has a powerful effect on my body and my mind, these containers that hold the something else that cannot be contained. Form, which is transitory, and not true, conveys the ineffable formless.
See then this little island of kelp. A tiny fragment of an underwater forest washed up on the sand; striking, out of it’s element and glistening like a freshly landed fish at the bottom of a boat. I can describe it to you with words, but each label, each syllable, dilutes. I don’t have to tell you anything. You have eyes. You see what I see. Complexity and simplicity entwined, like a strand of DNA. It is something and it is nothing. It seems to be there, and it was. But what you see no longer exists. It is dust. It has been subsumed. As magnificent and startling at the World Trade Center once was, a set of towers magnificent in their structure, reduced to particles than can no longer be observed and which now exist (we believe) as fragments of other forms, or just fragments, without form. Fragments made of fragments. Quarks inside of quarks.
One day you’re walking along the beach, not thinking about anything you can remember now, and you look down and there’s this thing you call beautiful and so it’s captured, held, preserved, and it becomes the thing that is remembered. There is nothing else about that day that I remember. No petty concern, no interval other than the one I kept and now convey to you, stranger, unseen, and who knows how far away? We share the interval. Across time. Across space. Our minds merge for a moment, or have they always been so? Have we just merely awakened to each other, again?