the dreaming tree

in restless dreams i walk alone…

Life, the Universe, and Everything… June 30, 2008

Preface: When this was written, it was meant to serve as an explanation of my spiritual beliefs… Over the course of the past year+, I’ve learned more in regards to physics, theology, history, philosophy, etc… and were I to write this today (Jan. 9th 2010), it would probably look a bit different. The basic premise, however, is still much the same. So, enjoy…

To begin with – I don’t practice organized religion. It would be far easier to say “I am a Christian,” or “I am an Atheist,” than it is to define what I do believe – but I am neither. I’ve spent the greater part of the past 10 years searching to find some sort of pre-established belief system that made sense to me, that I could believe in – but none of them fit me, and I have no desire to be a part of something which casts judgement on other people and is responsible – either directly or indirectly – for most of the wars that have been waged in the history of mankind. And so, at some point, I gave up the search – and instead began the arduous task of defining precisely what it is that I believe, to figure out how best my existence can serve those beliefs, and to live a life that is a reflection of them.

In 1931 Einstein wrote that “A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds – it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.” In this regard, I am very much like Einstein. I do not believe that there is a supernatural, all-powerful being looking down on us from a lofty perch, passing judgement and controlling the events of our lives. But I do believe that there is a driving force that affects the lives of everything on the planet. There is a number – scientifically termed “Phi”, and also known as the Golden Ratio, or the Divine Proportion. This number has fascinated some of the greatest minds in history for over two and a half millenia. All throughout the entire design of the universe – plants, animals, etc. – the Divine Proportion can be seen. In its shortest format, Phi equals 1.618. The entire bone structure of the human body – including the dimensions of the face – is built on a ratio of 1:1.618. Phi can be seen in almost anything on Earth – dolphins, butterflies, seashells, ants… It’s found in the organizational structure of a beehive, flower petals, pinecones, sunflower seeds, tree leaves, etc. Even our DNA is built on the Divine Proportion. It is, in essence, the first building block of the universe. This – the mathematically organized rationality of the universe – is why I firmly believe that our existence is more than mere coincidence. It cannot be explained in the simple terms of the Big Bang Theory, or the primordial soup that some think we are descended from. But I also don’t believe that we are simply pawns in a spiritual game of chess.

Einstein’s studies on space and time revealed the existence of a 4th dimension. Humans are 3-dimensional beings, and as such, are able to perceive themselves and the things around them, as well as 2-dimensional objects – such as a drawing on a piece of paper. But, in the same way that a 2-dimensional stick figure is unable to perceive us, we are unable to perceive that which exists in the 4th dimension. A tesseract is a 4-dimensional cube, also known as a hypercube. It has 8 sides, whereas a 3-dimensional cube has 6 sides. our limited perception is unable to comprehend and 8-sided cube. To me, God is very much like the tesseract – a 4-dimensional concept which our 3-dimensional minds cannot understand. I believe that God exists very much the same way that space and time exist – perhaps they are even more similar than we realize. But, because they also exist on a level that we can’t comprehend, we try to box them into a form that is easily identifiable to us… We measure time and space, give them names and numbers – much the same way that organized religion measures and gives name to God. But our idea of space and time is no more than an illusion to make us more comfortable about that which we can’t understand – and so perhaps our limited understanding of our place in the universe is an illusion also. I cannot believe in a Higher Power which rewards and punishes its creatures based on their actions, or lack of action. Nor can I fathom the idea of such an entity having a free will of the kind which we experience in ourselves. God is what he is – not what we want him to be.

All of that was essentially the “why.” Now, we turn to the “what.” I believe that every living organism in the universe is interconnected, and that every action that we take has an effect on the rest of the universe – though we may never see or feel that effect. This effect is neither negative nor positive – it simply is, and because of our actions and the effect that they have, the world is constantly changing and evolving. I believe that there is a presence outside of ourselves – call it what you will – that is responsible for the balance required to sustain life and maintain our existence in the universe. I believe that presence can be seen in all things – music, art, nature, wildlife… life, and death. I believe that wherever this presence can be found, comfort, serenity, and purpose can be found also. The peace that I am able to find in these things is what I’ve spent the last decade searching for – and I don’t need a book or a building to tell me where to find it. I don’t believe in good and evil, heaven and hell – instead I believe that all humans are fallible, and that sometimes as a result of circumstance and distorted thought processes, we often do things that hurt the world around us, because we – though perhaps wrong – perceive them to be necessary to our survival. I stand firmly by the idea that we are all fully responsible for the actions that we take and the things that we do, however – mistaken and misguided actions do not make any of us bad people. Earlier I said that I don’t believe in heaven or hell – but I do believe that some part of us continues to exist after our body dies. Incidentally, Einstein theorized that if we could ever gain the full use of our brain capacity, rather than the miniscule percentage that we generally utilize, then we would have no need for physical bodies at all – but would exist purely as energy. The ultimate enlightenment, so to speak. I believe that it is this energy that survives beyond our death, and perhaps this energy that is responsible for the interconnectivity between all living things on Earth. The universe that we are a part of is infinite, and as a result, the number of things that we aren’t capable of comprehending or understand is also infinite.

My beliefs aren’t meant to provide answers for anyone – in truth, they still leave me with many questions on my mind – but they provide me with a peace of mind and a sense of acceptance that I, personally, am unable to find elsewhere. As a result of these beliefs, I choose to do the very best that I can to remember every day that my existence and my actions have an effect on the rest of the world, and to make decisions so that those effects do more good than harm. I am responsible for that which I do on this Earth, and only for myself. It has taken me a long time to get to where I am, and to accept that I cannot control the actions of others. But I can control my actions – and in order to do so, I must focus my energy on seeking out the peace and serenity that my spirituality gives me. I pass no judgement on the beliefs of others – we are all different, and as such, often travel different roads to get to the same destination. Just as I am entitled to my beliefs, so too is everyone else.