Just Imagine

i watched this video and tears came to my eyes. i am crying.  crying.

our world is so screwed up.

we dont have the money to teach arts in schools, because we need to build arsenals.

we make weapons to destroy, instead of music to heal.
we strive to kill, when instead we should strive to give each child a home and comfort.
we make food into fuel, when we could feed the poor.

all of this could change. if you want to see children smile, to end suffering, to make war a thing only read about in our history books, then you have to be the first person to say so. others only count when you count yourself.

i dont want my son to see war.  i never want my daughters to know the fear that daughters all around the world know when armies approach. my children, your children, all children deserve better.

i deserve better.

you deserve better.

Energy, Time and Understanding

Big Bang SupernovaIn that timeless moment when the multiverse erupted from a single point in non-space, when all that we see today was only pure energy; was there a remnant of thought and understanding there? Before the first neutrinos coalesced out of the flowing energy foam, before the first atoms began to bind together into first structures, and eons before the first differentiated points in this new space were formed; was there a compassionate Buddha-nature pervading that energy as it raced out to become all that there is?

The table that my laptop rests on as I write this, the mass that is the table, it was present there in that moment of the big bang. In fact, all that I am, was there in that moment too. The atoms, the elements that make my body, my skin, my hair and my heart, all of those atoms where nothing more than energy in that super-expanding ball of energy. This is a very hard idea to grasp. Of course the thing trying to grasp this idea was in the Big Bang too… my mind.

How is it that the electrical impulses that are the foundation of my consciousness were at one point rolling around the formless void of pre-space? In the moments before the multiverse became substantial, what was all of this energy? Was it really the size of a pin head? Super-compacted into this point of potentiality? Hard concepts to speak about without being mystical too.

I know that Hinduism teaches the universe is in an endless cycle of rebirth, even to the point that the universe itself collapses and is reborn anew. At the end of a Kali Yuga, the last stage of the universal timespan, the universe will chaotically devolve and then upon destruction be reborn, in effect restarting the clock. By the way, a Kali Yuga, which we are living in now, lasts 432,000 human years in traditional Vedic understanding and is known as the Iron Age. The qualities of this age are: the climate is one quarter virtue and three quarters sin and the human lifespan is 100 or 120 years. (Read more about the Hindu theory of time here: Hindu Theory of World Cycles)

But, getting back to my earlier thoughts about the nature of energy and mass again; it is believed in many schools of thoughts that intentions focus energy, that prayer is like focused laser of pure energy. So, and this is fun to think about, when we pray we are releasing actual energy back in to the universe. When I chant the Chenrezig practice with my friends I am sending out waves of energy into the universe. When my mother-in-law says the rosary she is doing the same. There is even a belief in Tibetan Buddhism that an entity can be generated by sheer meditation. I actually believe this could be so, given that we know that thought is the formalization of energy and that mass is energy at the basest level.

It is clear I am not a scientist, and if you have read my words before then you also know I am no monk, priest or philosopher; but that doesn’t keep me from day-dreaming.

Matt

Meditations on Now and Suchness

I have rarely experienced the “now”. I am usually thinking about the past and all too often fantasizing about the future; both of which are without merit. I vividly remember a few times in my the life when the world around me seemed to move in hours instead of seconds. People moved past me as if they were in slow-motion, sounds had a Doppler effect and all the time I felt that I was moving normally. I have also had the opposite experience, with the world on fast-forward while I watched it all flash by in an instant. Both of these occurrences lasted mere ticks on the clock, I know, but they had a lasting mark on my soul. I think in those moments I was really finding the suchness of my life.

I have not lived my life seeking to duplicate those moments, though maybe I should have. Instead I live my life as most of us do; from home to work and back home again with various errands in between. I spend little time, if any at all, meditating and centering myself. There are occasions when I recognize that I am breathing, I am able to feel the universe for a short time; connected to everything, everywhere, in meetings or my drive time, even staring at the wall at the urinal. In fact a few weeks ago I was looking at the gray wall as I stood at the urinal (maybe not the scene you would like to picture, but I am the writer not the director) when I realized that there was not really a wall there at all. In my minds eye I could see past this wall, past the building and out into the blue Oklahoma skies. Once my mind was in those skies it was a small journey to the space all around the Earth and then into the limitless universe.

Taking in those moments in your day, finding the suchness of things and then not holding on to them, not trying to capture them, there is power there. Suchness, a strange thought to Western minds, is really simple. Suchness is easy to demonstrate: seeing a flower as a flower, suchness is there. Knowing the suchness of money is only seeing it as money, it is a merely a tool, it does not equate to wealth; there is power there as well. Realizing that status does not equate to happiness, you can find a calming suchness there too.

All of this lead me to ponder the suchness of now, and to the wonder and happiness when it dawned on me that now is simply now. It is not a magic moment with the universe singing to me with choirs of angels, but rather the now is powerful unto itself. Now is the moment of this breath, it is this heartbeat, which you can actually feel if you are quiet and you listen to yourself.

Those strange seconds when the world slowed or sped up, they were pure now, pure suchness. They were something for me to cherish, and though I cannot just close my eyes and experience that peace and calm, I have tasted it before and so I know it is attainable still. I am no Buddha, I am not Awake yet, but I am slumbering no more.

Matt