How Does Nature View Us?
We are always portraying nature in human terms, but how might nature view the human experience? The mechanics that create, consume and redistribute energy in our universe suggest we are no different from any other entity. In order to understand how nature views us, we must first understand our place in nature.
Reason is not Just an Attribute of Being Human
The ability to communicate and share innovations is not unique to humans. Bacteria are the most adaptable organisms on the earth and they can even eat and breathe electricity. They’ve formed a symbiotic relationship with us, restoring balance in our guts, which helps to regulate our moods. Since bacteria are happiest when we are happy – we may be nothing more than a day spa where bacteria experience joy and comfort.
Learning from experience and adapting behavior is also not something unique to organisms with a brain. A single celled organism called the Protist (or slime mold) can solve mazes and avoid danger to its movement. When confronted with a bitter substance ‘bridge’ they must cross in order to get food, the cell initially demonstrates distrust. After a few days, it learns there is nothing to fear and crosses the ‘bridge’ more quickly. With no brain or nervous system, this single celled organism demonstrates reason.
Water Molecules Like to Have Fun
Even something as boring as water can come alive when you look at its molecular behavior. It can dissolve almost any other substance because of its unstable excitability. Two hydrogen atoms that make up the water molecule exhibit a positive polarity. The single oxygen atom exhibits a negative polarity. When you place several side by side they immediately hold hands and start dancing when you try to break them apart. Non water molecules introduced to the wild disco party are immediately swarmed and encouraged to disrobe. Maybe the water molecule is happiest when everyone is letting go.
We might think that only human beings are conscious, but all entities endowed with a sense of survival can be said to be conscious. We classify living entities as things that can move and grow, so wouldn't a cloud be a living thing? Oh no, you say. The cloud is simply composed of water molecules as if you’ve forgotten last night's disco party. They demonstrate a form of intimacy and adhesiveness that isn't easily broken. While we argue, enormous photosynthesis factories on the earth are tearing water molecule apart, making apple pies and throwing oxygen Frisbees at our breathing apparatus.
As one reality is torn apart by another, we need not worry. The prevalence of oxygen and hydrogen atoms ensures they'll be dancing and waving in the sky overhead.
In fact, the way a water molecule can become a cloud, seemingly out of nowhere, is an interesting model for how mass forms out of rich fields of energy.
Consciousness is Built on Symbols
Consciousness seems to be built upon symbols. Whether it was the combination of meaningful sounds that became our way of communicating, or how we began internalizing conceptual reality through associative symbols, the world we know is nothing more than our idea of it. Like a television viewed from the couch, we see only the surface image and not the pixels. At the pixel level, meaning becomes distorted.
Mathematics is an excellent example of how consciousness is altered. Anyone who has studied algebra and calculus learns to use symbols as a representation of a larger reality. Physicist use numbers to understand the inner workings of nature. When Einstein described how nature views mass and energy the same (E=MC2) we caught a glimpse of a reality that was somehow different from what we’d imagined.
Dreaming Reveals a Different Type of Consciousness
When we dream, a different type of consciousness emerges; one without reason. The body becomes paralyzed and portions of the brain associated with logic are suspended. We experience ourselves in a limitless reality where anything is possible. When we awaken back into logic reasoning, the dream is often lost. What reality do we access and what is its purpose? Since we visit it every evening without fail, we know we are learning something. When we take the time to understand the strange 'language' of dreams, we discover insight that transcends what we understand by day.
The point is, we have access to many different representations of reality and the more we learn about life from nature’s perspective, the less sure we can be about absolute reality.
Equations that Ignite Wonder
If we are a scientist, we can look at an equation and the mind follows it until a concept registers. Euler’s identity (eiπ + 1 = 0) is said to be the most beautiful equation ever conceived because it ties together the important constants into a single equation.
A study of the brains of sixteen mathematicians found that the "emotional brain" (specifically, the medial orbitofrontal cortex, active when listening to music, poetry and viewing beautiful pictures) lit up more consistently for Euler's identity than for any other formula. In just a few symbols, we grasp something paradoxical and yet it can be proven. We might not understand it or know what it means, but because it has been proven, it must be the truth.
Because Euler’s identity is important in understanding the behavior of waves, it is used in the design of just about every major electronic device. The binary (2) code of using just two symbols (ones and zeros) drives computer processors and the internet. All that you see on your screen is just the arrangement of one's and zero's.
Super String and M8 Theories suggest that reality is composed of a similarly simple code. Science describes reality based on movement in higher dimensions, but we are only able to view or measure the effect in three dimensions. To imagine this, think of a circle that is visible in only 2 dimensions. It will look like a simple point in space because its round volume is in that 3rd dimension that we fail to see.
Mathematics Allows Us to Understand Nature
Mathematics is the thread that allows us to conceptualize a world beyond what we see. It allows us to grasp the inconceivable. When it describes life as something fluid and non tangible, we lose our footing and start to see the possibilities of our existence from the eyes of nature.
We conceptualize energy as the cord running from the microwave to the wall socket. We observe mass as the way the belly grows in fullness after eating. But Einstein taught us that in the eyes of nature, mass and energy are the same. This means that the belly growing in fullness (mass) is also energy that is being stored (calories.) Anything that has mass has an equivalent amount of energy. Like photosynthesis factories, our bodies may be nothing more than energy consuming and discarding different forms of energy for other living things.
The Fields of Potential Energy
Beyond our assumptions about reality, something very strange is actually occurring. Our universe is described as fields of potential energy that give expression to mass. In any experiment where we are attempting to determine whether electrons and photons are particles (mass) or waves (energy,) the presence or absence of an observer changes the outcome. When measured or observed, we see particles. When these instruments are removed, they behave as waves. This means that without an observer, the energy of life is boundless – and not located in any specific point in space.
It is said that without the mind, the physical universe exists only as possibilities. When we dream, we access a type of consciousness of boundless possibilities. Is it possible, that like dreaming, you exist as a form of consciousness beyond the constraints of four dimensional spacetime? Might you awaken and call your reality into existence? Were you already a form of consciousness before you were pulled into this world of language and symbols that organized the natural world into your closed-loop system of reality? Science seems to say yes.
A Simple Formula for Living More Joyfully
A simple formula to describe human happiness might look something like: R=B where ‘R’ is your reality and ‘B’ is your beliefs. Like any good formula, it can be proven even while you don’t really understand it. If you don't believe me, just smile and watch the world smile back.
Surfacing into the reality you have created is no different than how you surface into your dreamscape where it’s all about you. When you breathe into the unknown, you can reboot yourself into a new frame of reference. Returning to the threshold of awareness, transcend the need to understand. Observe all of the things that aren’t you and you can't help but return to a state of gratitude and wonder.
This is the outcome of Transcendental Meditation that can be used when life has become a bad trip. The more you practice not surfacing into judgment, the more the bacteria in your body will rejoice. And yes, they were here long before you, and might actually be driving your machine.
Whatever you are today, you began as a one celled zygote like the Protist above. Transcendental Meditation may actually be a way to help each cell in your body find reason not to fear where the bridge is leading you. Since cells demonstrate intelligence, how can you be sure you were ever in charge? Imagine all of the things your body does without any conscious input on your part.
Whether you are seeking health, wellness or the power to manifest the perfect life, removing any sense of self-importance is key. Return to the mind that is restful and curious, perched just beyond the outskirts of the universe.