Of late I’ve been starting my day with some reading of Stoic Philosophy.
Writing that sentence makes me realise how much has changed for me these past few years. I created some space in my life and it’s given me room to think, to learn, to improve.
I’m lucky to have been able to do it. The majority of us are too busy to stop and think, for even a moment. Most of the time, we’re submerged beneath the tsunami of modern living. Then, when we do get a chance to come up for air, we’re probably gulping down TV and social media instead of something better for us.
Maybe that’s a good thing. Thinking can take you to some scary places. Our primal instincts want to keep us safe in the cave, with a fire keeping the tigers away.
I’m no different. My brain is more caveman than scholar. But now and again I like to venture out into the darkness. To see what I can find. Curiosity overcomes my fear.
I’d like to share my most recent discovery.
So, back to the Stoics. Here’s a quote that struck a chord.
Meditate often on the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all things in the Universe. For in a sense all things are mutually woven together and therefore have an affinity for one another - For one thing follows after another according to their tension of movement, their sympathetic stirrings, and the unity of all substance - Marcus Aurelius
I followed the trail and found some others.
The idea of the universe as an interconnected whole is not new; for millennia it’s been one of the core assumptions of Eastern philosophies. What is new is that Western science is slowly beginning to realise that some elements of that ancient lore might be correct.
–Dean Radin, in “Entangled Minds”
Until we begin to see each other as ourselves, nothing will change. We are one planet.
–Peter Joseph, in “Where Are We Going?”
There is a fundamental error in separating the parts from the whole, the mistake of atomising what should not be atomised. Unity and complementarity constitute reality.
–Werner Heisenberg, in “The Part and the Whole
If ordinary people really knew that consciousness and not matter is the link that connects us with each other and the world, then their views about war and peace, environmental pollution, social justice, religious values, and all other human endeavours would change radically.
–Amit Goswami, in “The Self-Aware Universe”
That last one warrants a second look.
“If ordinary people really knew that consciousness and not matter is the link that connects us to each other and the world….”
“Consciousness not matter”
There it is, right there.
Consciousness - The mental activity of which a person is aware as contrasted with unconscious mental processes. In other words; Feeling. Awareness of something for what it is; internal knowledge
Matter - Physical objects
Try a bit of meditation. Just as Marcus Aurelius suggests;
Find a quiet spot with nature all around. Focus on a tree, a rock, a blade of grass. Let your vision soften. Imagine the world as a watercolour painting in the rain. As the raindrops land water blurs edges, colours blend and merge, all becomes one. Open your mind to the possibility that the world we see isn’t solid matter. That everything we see is made of energy. Energy that can move between objects. Energy that can take different forms. Energy that cannot be created or destroyed. Realise that we are all energy. We are all the same. We are all interconnected.
If you’re still here reading this, well done. I’m impressed.
A lot of people have been conditioned to switch off at the mere mention of ‘woo woo’ stuff like that.
For the longest time, I was one of them.
Most of us live our lives protected behind a shield of scepticism. We prefer cold hard facts to warm fuzzy feelings.
But, as Dean Radin says in the quote above; Science is beginning to catch up.
Nikola Tesla was ahead of the game decades ago when he said;
“If you want to know the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.”
There’s a lot we don’t know. Quantum Theory is a subject for another day. But there’s already enough evidence.
We are all connected.
It’s just that we’ve become disconnected from ourselves and each other.
Deep down we know it. We’ve always known it.
As I was writing this I recalled a well-known phrase that seemed to fit the topic.
‘No man is an island’.
I’d no idea where it came from so I did a little research.
It’s part of a quotation from John Donne (1572-1631). It appears in Devotions upon emergent occasions and seuerall (several) steps in my sickness - Meditation XVII, 1624:
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness....No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
‘No man is an island, entire of itself.’
See. We’ve always known.
I think Mr. Goswami missed that point when he said; “If ordinary people really knew…”
We do know. We’ve just forgotten.
He was right about this though;
‘…Views about war and peace, environmental pollution, social justice, religious values, and all other human endeavours would change radically'.
They'd change radically alright. And the world would be a much better place.
All we have to do is remember.
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