Quantum Physicist Amit Goswami, author of the preeminent university textbook Quantum Mechanics, in the first words of the film The Quantum Activist, states that “objects are not determined things…objects are possibilities…possibilities for consciousness to choose from.” This statement, along with a Dr. Hubble lecture, Facebook, my historically frustrated relationship with poetry, and a conversation with a fascinating new friend got me re-thinking in a new way about language as a microcosm of that choosing. The way in which we determine our experience of reality (=Reality) is by selecting (mostly sans any awareness of what we’re doing) first what to place our attention on, then what to “think” about that, and then what to say about it.

Take this post you’re reading here, for example.

I vividly recall a lecture given over 15 years ago in which one of my most beloved professors, Dr. Robert Hubble, pointed out that what we say (or write) about something is merely highlighting–literally like (again…literally like??) taking a highlighter–and illuminating certain aspects of a whole. From an infinite number of choices, we select this or that. The consequence: the rest, just as valid and true as the highlighted part, fades immediately into oblivion until/unless another tiny portion is highlighted. But the whole is still there, isn’t it? Yes, theoretically. But what’s functionally now in play is only the tiny highlighted part, which we then take/mistake for Reality.

Take this post you’re reading here, for example.

Think about Facebook posts. This is where generally, the highlights are highlighted. Sometimes the opposite, but to the same effect. We like to see ourselves in certain lights, as certain kinds of people–so we tend to highlight particular tidbits: here’s me in my bikini in Hawaii, here’s me getting a birthday bear-hug, here’s me running a marathon, here’s me at the gym working out. Sure, we’ve done those things, maybe even out of authenticity. But we’ve done a thousand million trillion other things as well that we don’t choose to highlight. If I chose to post pictures and pithy (or not) sayings about other things in my life it might look more like this: here’s me throwing a tantrum when my mom didn’t say the “appropriate” thing, here’s me with 4-day old hair, here’s me picking up my dog’s poop. I’m not pitting “positive” against “negative”, “interesting” against “uninteresting”, “fun” against “mundane” or even “meaningful” against “meaningless.” In reality, they’re all just neutral events that we place meaning on, and we tend to choose the ones that for us mean specific things; we’re painting a picture–creating an “online us” reality.

Take this post you’re reading here, for example.

But let’s not hate on the Internet. We consciously and unconsciously create images of ourselves via multiple modalities, all the time, for ourself and others to see. But in the bigger picture, this cherry-picking creates not just images of ourselves, but our entire life-experience. In every thought that we have, every action we take and every word we utter, whether conscious or not, we’re wielding that highlighter. I’m not saying that we can simply choose to focus on “the good things” and then that creates our reality. If that was true, we’d all be who we are on FB (snort). What I’m saying is that none of it’s “good”, “bad” or “Reality,” but our judgements make it appear so. *FYI Now who was it who made that same point? Oh yeah, Shakespeare–I knew I was a hot-shot.*

But seriously:

From the unlimited field of possibilities, we choose. We choose, we choose, we choose. And then we live within the confines of those choices, thinking they are IT.

I used to write a lot of poetry. I used to publish a little poetry. And then I stopped cold. I ceased writing entirely for a period of time because I experienced an almost constant state of maddening frustration regarding the inadequacy of words to express ANYTHING. Words can only grossly hint at experiences, feelings, emotions…at life. What they cannot express is the depth of any experience, no matter how minute, with any kind of true accuracy. The best a writer can do is be satisfied with mute gestures, hoping the reader will possess some kind of internal contextual net to attach symbols to and “get it.” We clump words together to increase the likelihood of that happening, but who was it who said that those poor little 26 letters can only do so much? I believe it might have been Eckhart Tolle. Similarly, Zen teachings are likened to a “finger pointing at the moon.” The deal here is that a word is a fish in a net; never the whole ocean. It’s one impossibly insignificant mote amid an uncountable set–the whole.

Take this post you’re reading here, for example.

So now what? Silence? Monkhood? None of it solves anything.

Obviously, I began writing again. Why? Because I had to. Because it was bursting out of me, leaking from the seams. I began to Wake the Hell Up, and suddenly pinning tiny motes on paper with a piece of graphite as a means of wrangling with and processing this new world was worth something to me; writing is one key out of my prison. And I noticed that my writing began to come from a different place, a place that didn’t feel like existential tail-chasing; it felt True. I don’t mean by that that I Speak the Truth. I just posited that that’s impossible. What I’m saying is that what I was gesturing towards wasn’t just my own ass anymore.

Awakening is the process of experiencing a burgeoning awareness of who we are (and thus where our choices emanate from). There is no wrong here. There is awareness, or non-awareness. Awake, or asleep. The dream, and the lucid dream. I’m stirring, struggling against that veil of sleep that still binds me to my dream. I’m writing this struggle with little fish in little nets; be patient with me if you can.

In many senses, in the physical world, there is not no choice. No Choice is unlimited possibilities, and unlimited possibilities, in the physical world, means Everything and thus Nothing in the same breath. We live, here, amidst Things. Not NoThing(s). So if not making a choice is impossible, then what? What are our options? (LOL)

From unlimited possibility, how about this, to start: Quiet. What if our minds were quiet. Okay not actually possible. What if we didn’t place our attention on our minds/thoughts, and thus didn’t highlight, didn’t choose from them. What if we acknowledged the unlimited possibilities and left them alone as much as possible. What if when we chose, we chose from Love?

What would that mean, in our physical world, to choose from Love? Aren’t we then just highlighting a different line, evaluating things from a different perspective, different criteria? No. What I’m talking about: a) cultivating an awareness of ourselves including who we Are and who we are not so that we can b) cultivate an awareness of the unlimited field (giving space to everything rather than applying judgement), and b) allowing our True Selves to create (to name, from the unnamed) our experiences and our world; as Steven Pressfield would say, finding our authentic swing. Who we truly are (non-local consciousness, as Amit would say), is Love. And Love, my friends, has no agenda but Love, which by definition, is no agenda. And there you have it. Wake up, Mr. Green. Imagine…LiveLove&BU


Image credit: scienceblogs.com

Movie credit (pointing out movies credit) and credit for being one of my very favorite kind souls who holds my hand while I struggle in my dreams and says, in the kindest voice possible, “open your eyes”: Amir Zoghi