Our world of variety presents us with opportunities and choices every moment.
Do we continue straight ahead and travel down that road, or turn to the left? Should I enroll at Kent State, or go to Bowling Green University? Do we get married this year, or next? Should I buy that purse, or save the money for a coat?
Do I buy these vegetables for dinner, or save what little I have for rent?
… and so on, and so forth.
The choices that we make, and how we evaluate and weigh our options, depend upon many factors. Chief among then is our level of consciousness. That determines how we appreciate the world.
An optimist looks at half a glass of water and emphatically says that it’s half-full. A pessimist looks at that same half filled glass of water and says that it’s half-empty. But a Buddhist meditating on the same glass says it’s empty.
Consider this Zen parable about the difference a half makes:
A famous soldier came to the master Hakuin and asked: “Master, tell me: is there really a heaven and a hell?”
“Who are you?” asked Hakuin.
“I am a soldier of the great Emperor’s personal guard.”
“Nonsense!” said Hakuin. “What kind of emperor would have you around him? To me you look like a beggar!”
At this, the soldier started to rattle his big sword in anger. “Oho!” said Hakuin. “So you have a sword! I’ll wager it’s much too dull to cut my head off!”
At this the soldier could not hold himself back. He drew his sword and threatened the master, who said: “Now you know half the answer! You are opening the gates of hell!”
The soldier drew back, sheathed his sword, and bowed. “Now you know the other half,” said the master. “You have opened the gates of heaven.”
Decisions that we make every day affect our present and future.
Our well being sometimes hinges on a dime. What seems to be a good choice for one person may subsequently not be a good choice for another person.
How many times have you wished that you could redo something that happened in the past? Since we learn from experience, and hindsight is usually 20/20, faced with the very same situation again would you choose differently?
And the same person may take a different tack when faced with a similar problem, at a later time in life.
Since we are at different places in our evolutionary journey, we need different things in the various seasons of life.
Choice is a bed rock of our relative space-time world. As the saying goes, one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure. What bridge do we cross, and which do we burn? Not making a choice is a choice in itself.
There are gradations of every object and natural force in the phenomenal universe.
Take for example temperature. We can appropriately say that ice (frozen water at 0o C) is colder than steam (water vapor at 100o C). Other liquids freeze at lower temperatures. Depending upon what different hydrocarbons are blended into a grade of gasoline, it freezes somewhere between -40o C and -50o C. Hydrogen gas freezes at -259.14 °C. Freezing is just a phase transition that occurs in a material. Their molecules take on a more orderly crystalline structure.
From smaller than the smallest, to larger than the largest, each pair of opposites is related and dependent upon each other. Once the groundwork exists to create the phenomena of time, there is then past, present and future. With temperature come solid, liquid, gas and plasma. With spatiality come the centimeter, meter and kilometer.
Can there be a beginning without an end? Would we recognize light if we had not experienced darkness? In this field of duality, apparent opposites are intimately connected.
– there are small quarks (10-18 meters) and our large universe (13.7 billion light years in diameter) – there are small galaxies and large galaxies (IC 1101, 6 million light years in girth) – there are small hills and large mountains (Mons Olympus on Mars, 22 Km, 3 times the height of Mt. Everest) – there are small lakes and large seas (Pacific Ocean)
– there are small cities and large cities by population (Tokyo-Yokohama, Japan, 33 million)
– there are sad people and happy people – there is failure and success – there is anger and calmness – there is friendship and enmity
– there is hate and love
Each set of opposites owes its existence to the other.
Although the largest values of creation are yet to come, there is a smallest value of creation. We verify this from our practice of meditation:
– there is a last stress in the human nervous system, and when dissolved Enlightenment dawns – there is a last random wandering thought in the mind, and then bliss consciousness prevails
– there is a finest value of the relative world to be perceived, at which Glorified Consciousness (GC) the one after Enlightenment, is achieved.
There is a smallest value of creation that can be practically dealt with.
In the field of quantum physics the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle tells us that the position and velocity of an object cannot both be measured, exactly, at the same time. This derives from a measurement problem, due to the intimate connection between the wave and particle nature of quantum objects.
The process of observing a particle or an event has an effect, and influences where and in what form we see the particle/wave.
Temperature is a measurement of the kinetic energy (energy due to motion) of particles. The Kelvin scale is based on zero representing when there is no kinetic motion of any kind. 0° Kelvin is equivalent to -273.15° Celsius, or -459.67° Fahrenheit.
The average temperature of our Universe is 2.73° Kelvin, due to the cosmic microwave background radiation left over after the Big Bang.
When cooled to a temperature of 4° Kelvin, liquid Helium becomes a superconductor. At 2° Kelvin Helium atoms no longer move. They still have some kinetic energy, but since they no longer have the ability to move and interact they are considered to be static. So …
– there is a finest value of the relative at which all movement, for practical purposes, stops
Do you see your glass of life as half-empty, or half-full?
According to stand-up comedian George Carlin, “Some see the glass as half-full, others see the glass as half-empty. Me, I see the glass as too big.”
A Zen Koan proclaims, “The glass is too large for the amount of water contained therein. Thus, it is neither half-full nor half-empty.
Whatever your opinion, we would like to get to a point where the glass is seen as overflowing.
Our view of the world (level of consciousness) determines what choices we find in front of us. As we continue through life our ego gains experience and grows in stature. As we become more comfortable with situations and undertake new adventures, the ego softens as it grows.
Here is how the ego sees itself at various stages in human life …
In ignorance: ego – is fully isolated and distinct mind – absorbed and consumed in thought (except during deep sleep) function – looks inward and identifies itself as this mind, and these thoughts
function – looks outward and identifies itself as this body
In Enlightenment: Ego – is dissolved, you are now the eternal unbounded Self mind – prevailing silence accept when activity is required function – looks inward, the mind having adopted its unbounded nature function – looks outward and witnesses this body – as bound and separate
100% of inner life
In Glorified Enlightenment:
Eternal unbounded Self mind – prevailing silence accept when activity is required function – looks inward, the mind having adopted its unbounded nature function – looks outward and witnesses this body – as bound and separate, but I now perceive the finest relative value of creation
100% of inner life
In Unity Consciousness: Eternal unbounded Self mind – prevailing silence accept when activity is required function – looks and is mind – as an expression of my infinite eternal Self function – looks and is universe – as an expression of my infinite eternal Self “Sarvam khalvidam brahma,” all this is verily Brahman. “I am That.”
100% of inner life and 100% of outer life
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you see the glass as half-full, half-empty, or neither?
We are confronted with choice because the mind has ushered us into a field of multiplicity. Your life can be considered to be the sum of all the choices you have ever made. Perception is unique to every individual and is simply one’s interpretation of reality.
Transcend the path of sorrow and death, to the safe island of bliss consciousness. In the garden of the heart, see the world without your mask. We are an aperture from which the universe sees itself.
Does the universe expand simply because we are chasing after it? The substance of the universe is consciousness (matter is an aspect of consciousness).
Meditate every day for greater happiness, optimism, and to regain your rightful (divine) place in this beautiful cosmic ballet.