ONE THING, A ROCK, A TREE, & ME
A while back I wrote that I'd nearly decided that there's just One Thing. The idea is fun to think about and, if you accept it, there's all kind of guidance in it for everyday life. Here are some further thoughts developed this week:
In the beginning, as always, there was and is just One Thing -- everyplace, being, feeling and knowing everything. Then for some reason the One Thing saw fit, in many places in Her infinite fabric, to warp, undo, puncture, pinch Herself... No words exist to describe what was done, so we'll just use those, which at least convey the notion that the One Thing here and there disarranged Herself in a way that the disarranged spots seemed to manifest less of the One Thing's perfect completeness.
For example, the rock beside my foot is one of those disturbances. It exhibits mass, can be touched, and reflects light. Those features of disarrangement represent a profound degradation from the One Thing's infinite presence (where nothing is isolated from anything else, and physically touching things isn't necessary) and infinite radiance (from which merely reflecting light is a great come-down).
It's the same with the tree glowing in sunlight beside me, just that its disarrangement is even greater than the rock's. The tree, being alive, not only has been banished from the One Thing's infinite presence and radiance, but also its urgency to conduct life processes such as growing and photosynthesizing are hardly to be compared with the One Thing's steady-state omnipresence.
And it's the same with me, except that I am even more disarranged, more degenerate, than the tree. Beyond sharing the tree's cluster of diminishments, I spend my life thinking, feeling and imagining about many individual things, instead of eternally participating in the One Thing's unending omniscience.
And yet, as a baby, I was even more diminished from the One Thing's completeness, for then my whole world consisted of my own narrow needs, my own immediate wants; I was unable even to imagine a One Thing.
But, with time, I identified with other people, things and ideas, and grew more and more beyond myself. Today as a graybeard my personal boundaries are dissolving as more and more I am charmed by, and profoundly empathize with, the rainbow Universe around and beyond me. My life, it seems to me as I look back, has been a step-by-step -- but usually plodding and circuitous -- journey back into the One Thing.
And, why would the One Thing bother with such scattered disarrangements of Herself as this rock, this tree, and myself? Think of people who pinch themselves to make sure they're not dreaming. And the the old Johnny Cash song where he sings "I hurt myself today to see if I still feel... "
Maybe we physical-world things expelled from the One Thing's completeness are the evolving One Thing's nerve endings, one of Her infinite ways of monitoring Herself, of knowing how She's feeling.