innumerable atoms

Innumerable Atoms Whirling and Dancing

“’The red brick,’ says Science, ‘is a mere convention. In reality, that bit, like all other bits of the universe, consists, so far as I know at present, of innumerable atoms whirling and dancing one about the other. It is no more solid than a snowstorm. Were you to eat of Alice-in-Wonderland’s mushroom, and shrink to the dimensions of the infra-world, each atom with its electrons might seem to you a solar system and the red brick itself a universe. Moreover, these atoms themselves elude me as I try to grasp them. They are only manifestations of something else. Could I track matter to its lair, I might conceivable discover that it has no extension, and become an idealist in spite of myself. As for redness, as you call it, that is a question of the relstionship between your optic nerve and the light waves which it is unable to absorb. This evening, when the sun slopes, your brick will probably be purple, a very little deviation from normal vision on your part would make it green. Even the sense that the object of perception is outside yourself may be fancy; since you can as easily attribute this external quality to images seen in dreams, and to waking hallucinations, as you do to those objects which, as you absurdly say, are really there.’

“Further, there is no trustworthy standard by which we can separate the ‘real’ from the ‘unreal’ aspects of phenomena. Such standards as exist are conventional and correspond to convenience, not to truth.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Red Brick

It is surprising that Evelyn Underhill wrote this about 100 years ago. She shows an understanding of the realm of matter that rivals the best Quantum Physicists of today. But that is true of many great spiritual teachers and prophets. They often saw a reality that was hidden to material science, and still do in some cases.

So first off, she is telling us that the apparently hard-as-rock and totally solid brick is nothing of the sort. It is revealed to be mostly empty space when sufficiently magnified. And this wad when the smallest particles known were atoms. But now we can even look into the atom and see the subatomic particles from which it is constructed. And when it is magnified sufficiently to do that, it is revealed that the greatest part of the atom is empty space. The electrons and the nucleus of the atom make us far less than one percent of the total size of the complete atom. But it probably isn’t completely true to say that what is between those particles is “empty space”. It is more accurate to say they are areas devoid of matter. They are, however, holding great amounts of energy, as we know from atomic bombs which are created by freeing that energy in the atoms.

Innumerable Atoms Dancing

This is something that most people don’t think about, but should. Underhill is correct in saying that the atoms are whirling, dancing, moving. They are always moving. They never stop moving. If they stopped moving, it would probably be as much of a disaster to us as when they are broken open in atomic bombs.

There is a lesson to be learned here. Look at this on another level. Everything in the universe is constantly moving as well. Planets spin around stars. Stars dance around the center of a galaxy, and so on. Movement is life. Yet too many humans seem to have the goal in life of reducing their movement as much as possible. Some would probably be perfectly happy to sit still forever if it were possible. But that is not how things function in a living universe. In fact, it is probably true that those who constantly move are those who grow or at least have the potential to grow if they move in the right direction. Those who try to avoid moving, or changing, cannot grow. The strength of that red brick is in the innumerable atoms moving within it. When we move, within and without, we make ourselves stronger.

Matter Has No Extension

I think what Underhill means by this is that matter has no reality behind it. Matter is an illusion. That teaching is shared by most spiritual and mystery schools of the past and present. But that doesn’t mean that matter doesn’t exist. It does exist, but it isn’t what it appears to be. The physical universe is, according to the findings of quantum physics, just a great hologram. Since a hologram is just an image made of light, that solid red brick is but an image made entirely of light. Quantum physics also tells us that those atoms, or at least the electrons in them, are only particles when observes. When not observed, they are just waves of potential. That is why light is both waves and particles.

So those innumerable atoms whirling and dancing are really beams of light in a hologram whirling and dancing. And to some degree, the dance they do seems to be determined by us. We might say it is a giant sandbox or Lego set. But before you run outside and try to manifest a Rolls Royce, remember it is WE who generate the universe; a collective we, not each individual. It is the sum of all our thoughts that create the world we see. The thoughts of just one have only a very limited effect on the universe and those innumerable atoms.

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dense body

Dense Body of Matter Can Become Light

“At the time when the etheric body still further densifies and changes from a light-body into a fire or heat-body, the stage of evolution has been reached at which, as described above, pats of the solid earth elements are incorporated into man. Because the etheric body has condensed to the consistency of fire, it is now able, by means of the forces of the physical body previously implanted in it, to combine with the physical substances of the earth attenuated as far as the fire state. But by itself it would no longer be able to introduce air substances into the body which has meanwhile become more more solidified. …

“The result is that this life becomes independent of the soul part of man. … The Lords of Form now remain united with the image, and the life they have bestowed, they transfer to man’s descendants, when his soul has left his body. Thus comes about what may be called heredity, and when the human soul once more appears on earth it feels that it has a body animated by the life of its ancestors. … In that way, something like a memory is formed of the ancestor with whom the soul feels itself to be at one. This memory passes through the line of descendants in the form of a consciousness possessed in common. The ego thus flows down through the generations.” ~Rudolf Steiner

Dense Body

In his own way, Steiner is telling us that that we started out with bodies that were not dense at all, but over many generations and many centuries became denser and denser. The result is that we now have a physical body that is so dense it cannot possibly live on Divine Light as we were intended to live. We may wish to quit eating our fellow beings of matter, but we cannot. We can cut down on killing and eating other beings (whether plant or animal makes little difference), but we can’t completely stop and live on light alone. We have to reverse this body compacting process and eventually we will become of a high enough vibration that we can live only of Divine Light once again.

Light-Body to Heat-Body

Steiner talks of this process of the light body descending deeper into matter and becoming what he calls a fire-body or heat-body “evolution”. More accurately, this descent into matter should be call devolution. When you turn around and head back in the other direction, then you can say you are evolving. Some believe that this evolution to devolution is a cycle that keeps repeating. If so, it is a cycle that takes billions of years to complete. Continue reading “Dense Body of Matter Can Become Light”

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apparently real

Apparently Real Matter Hides Actually Real Spirit

“We have seen that the most elementary criticism, applied to any ordinary object of perception, tends to invalidate the simple and comfortable creed of ‘common sense’; that not merely faith but gross credulity, is needed by the mind which would accept the apparent as real. I say, for instance, that I see a house. I can only mean by this that the part of my receiving instrument which undertakes the duty called vision is affected in a certain way, and arouses in me the idea of ‘house’. The idea ‘house’ is now treated by men as a real house, and my further observations will be an unfolding, enriching, and defining of this image. But what the external reality is which evoked the image that I call ‘house,’ I do not know and never can know. … I may, of course, call on one sense to ‘corroborate,’ as we trustfully say, the evidence of the other; may approach the house and touch it. Then the nerves of my hand will be affected by a sensation which I translate as hardness and solidity; the eye by a peculiar and wholly incomprehensible sensation called redness; and from these purely physical changes my mind constructs and externalizes an idea which it calls red bricks. Science herself, however, if she be asked to verify the reality of these perceptions, at once declares that tough the material world be real, the idea of solidity and color are but hallucination. They belong to the human animal, not to the physical universe.

“’The red brick,’ says science, ‘is a mere convention. In reality that bit, like all other bits of the universe, consists of innumerable atoms whirling and dancing one about the other. It is no more solid than a snowstorm.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Apparently Real

Ms. Underhill says that it requires gross credibility to accept that which is apparent as real. Sadly, it seems we have a great number of people who will do just that today. Not only do they accept the apparently real as actually real, but they take the word of certain people they trust that it is real with little or no verification. But that is more of a political and social issue, while we are more interested in the spiritual aspects of it.

Underhill also says that science is backing her on claiming that the solid reality of matter is illusion. That is even truer today than when she was alive. Now we have the scientist of quantum physics saying that the apparently real, solid universe of matter is but a hologram of light. They also say that sub-atomic particles exist only as waves or potential objects until observed. So not only is the universe mostly empty space between the particles of the atom, but even those particles are not quite real! Yet something holds it all together, something that is actually real.

Making Sense of Senses

We have learned since we were born to know the world through our physical senses. Few of us ever consider that the physical senses are only aware of part of the physical world, so their awareness is limited. Further, what is picked up by the sense has to be interpreted by the brain before we get the final idea of what is there. But the brain can be easily tricked. We do have to use these senses, but we must always be aware that they give us a partial view of things, and are therefore not completely reliable. What is apparently real to the senses is only part of the physical world and none of the spiritual.

Solid as a Snowstorm

Underhill says that physical reality is no more solid than a snowstorm. I think that is an excellent analogy to use. A snowstorm isn’t a single thing, but a conglomerate of wind and billions of individual snowflakes. Yet in many ways it acts as a single thing. We are much the same, and so is everything else in the physical universe. We are molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic particles held in place by forces we don’t really understand. We think we are solid as a rock, but the rock is mo more solid than the snowstorm. What is apparently real is quite different from what is real.

Spiritual Reality

Simple logic will tell us that if what we always thought was real and what is apparently real is actually illusion, then something else must exist beyond the illusion which is real. That something is spirit. The world of spirit is the only one that is real in the sense that it is permanent and unchanging. Nothing in it rots or dies. Nothing in it is illusion. However, when we try to understand the spiritual with our physical brain and senses, we form ideas that usually are illusion. We need to awaken our spiritual faculties to move beyond the apparently real to what is actually real.

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house of fire

House of Fire in the Realm of Matter

“A Messenger in a vision saw people locked up in a house of fire and bound with fiery chains, lying in a flaming ointment. He asked them, “Why can’t they be saved?” “We did not desire it,” they told the messenger, “but we got this place of punishment. It is the outer darkness, and we are in it.”

“Soul and spirit came into being from water and fire. From water and fire and light came the attendant in the bridal chamber. Fire is chrism. Light is fire. I am not referring to flame, which has no form, but to another kind of fire, whose appearance is white, which is luminous and beautiful and gives beauty.

“Truth didn’t come into the world naked but in types and images. Truth is received only that way. There is rebirth and its image.”

“They must be reborn through image. What is the resurrection? Image must rise again through image. The bridegroom and image enter through image into truth, which is restoration. It is right that those who don’t have it take on the name of the father and son and the holy spirit. But they have not done so on their own. If you do not take on the names for yourself, the name “Christian” will be taken from you. You receive them in the oil of the chrism, the aromatic unction of the power of the cross. The messengers called this power “the right and left.” You are no longer a Christian but Christ.

“The lord did everything through mystery: baptism and a chrism and a Eucharist and a redemption and a bridal chamber.

“The lord said, “I came to make things below like things above, and the outside like the inside. I came to join them in one place. He revealed who he is through types and images.” ~The Gospel of Philip

House of Fire

The destructive house of fire is the material world that we live in. It is a house of fire because it operates in a constant self of self-destruction mixed with creation. Some think this is how it should be, but it isn’t. God doesn’t create things and beings only to destroy them a short time later. What God creates is permanent; not consumed by fire, disease, or rot. This means that the house of fire is not a creation of God. It is a creation of what the Gnostics call the Demiurge. And since it was not created by the One Perfect Consciousness that is God, it is defective and self-destructive.

According to Philip, the people in this house of fire are bound in chains of fire and lying in flaming ointment. This is his way of saying that we not only live in a self-destructive realm, but we add to it ourselves by wrapping ourselves in chains of fire and coat ourselves with flammable oils. The fiery chains are false beliefs that we cling to thereby preventing us from seeing the truth. The flaming ointments and oils are our attachments to material things that pull us down to destruction along with them. Continue reading “House of Fire in the Realm of Matter”

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