The Movement of Light

If you’re longing for a “mind blown” moment, consider all the ways we’re moving every nanosecond of our lives. Earth spins around its axis and orbits the sun; the solar system rotates around the center of the Milky Way; the Milky Way travels through space. Our cells move and divide; molecules cross cell membranes; we cannot pinpoint the exact location of the electrons in the atoms that compose us.

Welcome to finitude, where being is a verb. No wonder there are so many coffee shops.

And yet, we constantly grasp for some sort of arrival. We want to locate ourselves on a continuum of achievement or progress, and we think there is a point, always in the future, where we will have enough of whatever we’re striving for, where we will be complete. We want to know we are getting somewhere, but inevitably when we reach that place, the “thereness” fails to satisfy for very long.

We are always works in progress, particles of a greater process that’s pushing fourteen billion years now. The scientific jury is still out on what will happen to the universe, but there’s no question that during this lifetime we will never come to a resting point.

Still, we yearn for peace, so how can we be at peace with the reality of never being at rest? Maybe, as with electrons, we can understand ourselves better if we stop trying to define ourselves as a particular point. Maybe we can think of ourselves as both particle and wave.

Right now, I am this moment’s self, with all my gifts and shortcomings, all I’ve done and all I’ve failed to do, but that’s not the sum of me. Considering my life as a wave, I stretch back to my childhood and forward to the unknowable future, and all of that is inseparable from all the rest of it. As a wave, I am—we all are, our lives all are—movement.

The movement of what? Energy. Light. Each of us embodies a particular frequency, so to speak, but we are all composed of Light.

3 thoughts on “The Movement of Light

  1. Great meditation! Seems that the simplest and most profound way to say the change of cosmology happening in our time is the shift from a static view of the universe and ourselves to a process view. We are events, not things.

  2. I do sometimes wonder why we don’t have a greater capacity for awe, especially in the face of the incredible universe you’ve described. It’s true that we don’t have experiential access to some of these mind-blowing conditions of ordinary existence. But our default leans toward the mundane, rather than it’s opposite. I’m sure it is a byproduct of adaptation, an unintended consequence perhaps, a design that pares attention down to security concerns, purging unnecessary states of awe from consciousness.
    Perhaps the art of living involves resuscitating such a sense of wonder, a capacity for awe. I am reminded of a study of Zen monks which revealed that their brains respond to certain repeated stimuli as though they were experiencing them anew each time. A perpetual state of beginner’s mind.
    I appreciate spiritual teachers that liken the cultivation of the human spirit to an art form. The comparison or analogy refers to this process, this central theme of reconnecting with the innate human capacity for wonder.

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