I want to keep this one simple. I want to show as plainly as I am able to do, and to show to ordinary people, who have ordinary lives and aspirations, that the Truth – whatever it might be – is more than science; and more than science can deal with.
First ask yourself whether what you see is real. Do you believe your eyes? Well electricity is real but isn’t visible; you can’t hear it, smell it, taste it; you can feel it – sort of – so you know it’s there when you get a shock!
You don’t actually see sunlight. It allows you to see. It sheds light on objects so you can see them. In space sunlight is travelling from the sun to the earth all the time, but as it travels through space it doesn’t light up anything. There’s not much to light up except other planets and a few satellites we sent up.
So when it travels in space it travels in darkness. But what is travelling? What is it? What on earth is it – a wave, a set of particles, energy? These are the standard answers. They give no clue to what it is, only how it travels – as a wave – or in what form it travels – as a set of particles – or as how we people use it – as a form of energy. But what is it? Is it right to ask the question? Is there an answer? Should we expect an answer? And might any true answer be beyond science to discover? And I mean beyond – you have to go further than science to get an answer.
What about our thoughts? Are they ‘just chemicals’? What might this mean ‘just chemicals’? Are we chemical machines – just a bunch of chemical reactions? When I flick on a light switch the lights come on – is this how our thoughts work? A chemical just arrives somewhere at a cell in your brain and hey presto! – you think a thought? Seems to me like what you think drives the chemicals to your brain cells rather than the chemicals driving you and causing what thoughts you think.
And we just decide to do something and do it. We say to ourselves – I WILL do that – and we do it. What motors this I WILL? What chemical goes to your brain cells and suggests that you WILL do it. Isn’t it instead that you decide to do something and then the chemicals kick in? The chemicals follow what you decide, rather than make you decide to do it
And what is this weight thing? This kilo of sugar which is bagged and which every week we get the same – a kilo bag of sugar from the shop? Why is it always the same sized bag? And why does it always weigh exactly a kilo. And why do we always receive the same number of spoonfuls per bag and per kilo. Why should it not change from week to week, so that one kilo fits a bigger bag one week and a smaller another week. Or that you get fifty spoonfuls out of one week’s bag and sixty out of your next week’s?
Seems to me there’s no reason why this shouldn’t happen – that sizes, weights and amounts of sugar bagged should not in the way of things vary from time to time.
But there is an order to our world. We know, by having learned, that a kilo will always be the same, and will always fill the same sized bag, with the same number of spoonfuls. We learned this when we were so young we didn’t question it – we just accepted it – took it for granted – that is how it is.
But why is it just like this?
If we took our bag of sugar to the moon it would weigh less. If we took it into space it would weigh nothing. But it would still be something, and still be usable in our cups of tea. What has it lost so as to weigh nothing now? Has it lost anything? What’s going on?
You cleverer ones will talk about the forces of gravity and the quality of mass which material objects possess. But these thought refinements just complicate the issues and so obscure the mysteries of our being, our life and existence.
Ask yourself the question – why is there anything at all and not nothing instead? This question keeps being asked – what is going on?
No-one knew there were radio waves before the year 1850. As far as people before 1850 were concerned invisible waves which passed through you and were able to carry music and talk and moving pictures were just someone’s terrifying delusions for the madhouse, had they been able to be suggested at that time.
‘Tell me where is fancy bred – in the heart or in the head?’
‘The earth hath bubbles, as the water has, – and these are of them. Whither are they vanished?’
The solution to the overwhelming question: What is going on? – is to recognise it is a question and that it is going on. Our not seeing the question is real and us not seeing that it is going on; is us living a fatigued unconsidered life, happy with what we have been told. This is life asleep. This is life unlived. It is an existence not a life.
It is having been blinded by the trees and unable to see the woods. There is nowhere further for you to adventure in your thoughts when you are not awoken, not alive, to the astonishing mystery of all things, in all things.
Joni Mitchell sang: ‘We are stardust’ – and literally we are indeed. Think about it. The earth’s crust is mostly crystalline – it’s a ball of crystal – literally. This is the truth. Water – why is it tasteless? – colourless? – a liquid? – scientists can tell you the mechanics of why it is these things, but what makes it so? What holds things all together, that they just are and remain just so?
‘Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again. And then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.’
The clouds would open and show riches ready to drop on me – I guess that is what it is to wake up to life and seeing things more truly as they are – and so see that they go far over and above what science as our be-all and end-all blinkers us with. It is waking up to the sheer unlikeliness, the couldn’t-be-imagined-ness, the whole humbling shooting match of astonishment that – here we are – yes – here we are.