This is not a lake. It is a picture; nevertheless, you can imagine spending a lazy sunny afternoon here. Not working. Feeling free to wander – here at a lake like the one pictured above.
Maybe you’ve lost everything or own nothing – doesn’t matter! You’re here. You can stroll around enjoying yourself in this bit of heaven.
“Ca-caw! Ca-caw! Ca-CAW!” some kind of bird is calling for immediate assistance.
Everything is randomly well-ordered. What a high it is to be with what is. You feel that “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” happy Beach Boys singing feeling when, “BAM!” a spontaneous reality hits you right between the eyes. Here you are: at a lake, seeing faces in clouds.
They call it pareidolia. It’s where you see familiar patterns like a face on the surface of the moon or in cloud formations and get excited.
And you smile like Mona Lisa when you realize that all this is not serious. It’s pure enjoyment. You need nothing, want nothing and everything is as it should be. Like a suddenly wise idiot, it comes to you. It’s right in front of you and in-between.
You get those good vibrations that Brian Wilson sang about. You get it because you’ve paused analytical thinking. You see what’s in front of you. You see dirt through windows. It’s all good (even when it isn’t). You don’t believe or unbelieve in not believing. You feel the harmony in all things like the child you once were. It’s heaven!
But you don’t need a pretty lake like the one pictured above (as fantastic as that is). You can enjoy a parking lot and a feeling of pity. Without an attitude of “what’s in it for me?” (the double whammy of a big ego and a feeling of separation from the world around you) you can appreciate beauty in peeling paint and dandy lions because poetic vision is the world we’re in.
Even plastic bags dance for you if you see it that way.
Good and bad don’t cancel each other. You take all seasons as they come. Life is not a struggle. It is not all dark or light. To be wise is to be in harmony with the good-and-badness and the up-and-downess of a universe doing a doing.
And so it is.
In our cities, behind dashboards and video screens, we don’t think of ourselves as nature manifesting. Maybe that’s why we do what we do. We live in our heads and think we end in our butts. We think like a material girl living in a material world even though the world’s top physicists tell us that isn’t so.
They say nothing is solid. They say the physical world is a sea of energy flashing in and out of being in milliseconds, over and over again. They say we’re made of atoms made of invisible energy and not tangible matter.
Our senses may tell us that reality is made of material things outside our skin, but not so in theory so says professor of physics Richard Conn Henry from Johns Hopkins University: “The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy” (The Mental Universe).
To explain the science we turn to actor Hal Holbrook who appeared in the Sopranos as a physicist in a hospital room with Tony and others watching a fight on TV. “Think of the two boxers,” says Hal, “as ocean waves or currents of air – two tornadoes, say.”
“They appear to be two things, right – two separate things? But they’re not. Tornadoes are just wind stirred up in different directions. The fact is nothing is separate. Everything is connected.”
Even knowing that nothing is separate, people continue to aggrandize themselves. They jump on the idea of the “observer effect” whereby the mind of a conscious observer is said to affect quantum processes, but not so says physicist Richard Feynman:
“Nature does not know what you are looking at, and she behaves the way she is going to behave whether you bother to take down the data or not” (The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. III).
So, what does all this mean? A pretty lake? a plastic bag blowing around? quantum physics? Nothing really. Nothing is the point. When you see a tree, you see a tree. When you fall down, you fall down. The big scoop is that when you feel no separation between yourself and the world around you out to the sun, you realize that the space between is not nothing. The space between is what connects you.
Nothing is holding this whole thing together.
What a trip. Enjoy it!
(See also: Enjoy What is and Take What Comes.)