Infinite Universe? Infinite you?

How many times has this scene been seen? How many times has it been ever so slightly different? How many times has this spider been worshipped and its movements decide the fate of millions? In the end, the spider dances on the web, as the blue dwelling never realises its impact

How many times has this scene been seen? How many times has it been ever so slightly different? How many times has this spider been worshipped and its movements decide the fate of millions? In the end, the spider dances on the web, as the blue dumpster collects garbage.

If the Universe is infinite, then, by definition, anything that is possible, has already occurred, is occurring and will always occur. One way to try to grasp this idea, is that there are infinite other ‘Earths’, that have the same positions of continents and oceans, all have the same species of monkeys, pine trees and lice. Once you start to allow your mind to fall into this thought, it starts to become almost too absurd. Taking into account that the only restraint is the laws of physics, this still does not limit the infinite absurdness of it all.. For example, if the Universe is truly infinite, then there are countless other ‘mirror’ Earths, with mirror versions of yourself…. countless ones, countless ones identical in every way, countless ones that vary in the finest way, maybe you are a millimetre shorter or taller, and countless other versions of yourself that are, well, not so identical… So, we can easily open up the questioning of how far does one of these ‘mirror’ versions of yourself have to deviate from who you are before you might say, hey, wait that’s not actually me. Maybe you say none are actually you. Fair enough.

Now, I think about this quite a bit, usually when I am driving to work… Now, it is possible (within the laws of physics, remember), that 1000 baboons will fall from the sky (released from an airplane?) and land all around me. It is possible that every single dog on the planet will happen to make noises from their mouths that sound like they are saying hello all at the same time. It is possible that your back yard will always have a cloud above it making the sun never shine there. It is possible that whenever a person says the phrase “I command thunder to appear right now” that thunder does appear coincidently every single time. It is possible that everyone in the world says the word ‘lollipop’ at the same exact time. Every day for a week. For a year, for a decade, for a century. Even people who don’t speak English. It is possible all these things happen all together, always. I could go on and on with the ridiculousness of the possible situations. And, of course, they can be even much more far-fetched than these…

Now, if the Universe is truly infinite, than these ‘possible’ scenarios, are not just ‘possible’ but actually occurring. They have already occurred, infinite times, are occurring now an infinite amount of times, and will occur in the future, again a countless amount of times. And each very specific bizarre situation you can think of, dream up, will be played over and over, with the subtlest variations, countless times.

To me, this makes my head get blown! It makes me conclude that the Universe simply, can not be infinite, it is just too ridiculous! Purple monkeys are not going to be in my bathroom this evening. 10,000 years of hidden planning by countless people to place a half eaten grapefruit on my toothbrush, although within the laws of physics, just can’t be! Can it? If the Universe is infinite, this bizarre planning has occurred!

I also think, well, if the Universe is infinite, then surely the Earth would be filled with countless bizarre situations! Well, you may say it is! lol. In some ways it is, but, in reality, you do not get a shadow that is permanently over Stonehenge and only clears to reveal the Sun when a donkey goes ‘hee-haw’. In an infinite Universe, this is the norm!

So, if the Universe is infinite, then you can visualise this shredding of reality into any form you desire, bounded by the emptiness of infinity. If the Universe isn’t infinite, but ‘merely’ very,very,very kick-ass large, then, well, this shredding, this diversification still exists, albeit, on a reduced level.

So, regardless, there is probably a version, many versions of yourself existing in the Cosmos right now. What would you say to them if you met them? What about the ones who are 10 years older than your current self? What would they tell you?! What would you tell your younger self? How close to ‘yourself’ would they be?

So, this visualisation, this contemplation, is good medicine for trying to define yourself… Who are you? Do you own your uniqueness? What makes you, you? What happens when you do place a definition on yourself? Is it liberating or restricting? Is it truthful?

Moles in the ground turn the wheel of the Dharma

Big leaf, big wonder

Big leaf, big wonder

My son and I explored a giant leaf last year and we were mightily impressed with its size. My little guy tried to take it with him, so I explained that we didn’t need it, so lets just leave it and admire it.

Mother nature has always held a special place in my heart. I believe the late great Folk legend Pete Seeger was quoted as saying something like ‘When i am walking in the woods, I feel as though I am in church’.  I, too, get this amazing powerful, deep feeling when immersed within mother nature.

In Buddhism, we talk about ‘leaving home’. Walking in the deep woods can be ‘returning home’.

In the Oxherding pictures, we talk about ‘returning to the source’. Being enveloped, embraced, cuddled like a mother to a baby, by our Earth mother, is a powerful experience. When one is open to such an embrace, our sense of self naturally fades away and we may realize our deep faith in the interdependency and interconnectedness of all that is. These are not just airy-fairy words that sound pretty. When we allow ourselves to fall into Mother nature, allow ourselves to fall into love with Mother Nature, she always catches us, and sets us free from our own self-clinging.

Birds chirp and a branch falls, a stream trickles and a mole sleeps in his burrow. Already complete, we all are already Buddhas.

I See …

green, brown, bird, plump, flightless?, orange stick legs, ....

green, brown, bird, plump, flightless?, orange stick legs, ….

What are your first thoughts when you see the image above?

Think about how much processing your brain cranks out just to have some thoughts about the image. Think not only of what you come up with, like: “short, fat bird, possibly flightless, pretty earth colors” but also the gates that those thoughts flew past….. like, you almost instantly recognize it as a bird. What made your brain think that? Can you put your finger on the complex thoughts and preconceptions that must exist for you to think “bird” straight away?

Can you imagine just looking at this ‘bird’ without thought? without thinking? what does your brain say before it is allowed to rush through all those preconception gates?

Now, those gates are very, very important…If this was a tiger and you were in the wild, you better process through those gates quickly before you get eaten! So never underestimate their value!

That said, it is always good practice for your minds to think about what our brains are doing! Think about thinking! lol.. Or better even, thinking about ‘before-thinking’! Step it up again, and fall into the ‘before-thinking’ mind!!

I think I got a headache but I do love this pretty bird!

Violence .. our friend?

Violence is, well, violent... but can we see a way to transform even horrible evil into a path towards compassion? Violence is best to be avoided, but if it is there... we must work with what we got... How will our work proceed? More violence? Nah, thats sucks. Deep inside your heart, you know what to do. Love.

Violence is, well, violent… but can we see a way to transform even horrible evil into a path towards compassion? Violence is best to be avoided, but if it is there… we must work with what we got… How will our work proceed? More violence? Nah, that sucks. Deep inside your heart, you know what to do. Love.

Bodhidharma sits and sits year after year, alone in a cave. Some children, throw rocks at him and one lands right on his head.

BAM. He awakens and the whole Earth resonates.

So, these children…. what karma is birthed from their action? Hitting people with rocks in their heads is not good action. However, Bodhidharma’s enlightenment was dependent on it.

All buddhas realize enlightenment through circumstances. Some circumstances can be self-generated, such as the decision to sit in meditation, but most are not….

When sitting in meditation, do we get upset at the sounds of cars honking their horns, or of people shouting outside? Do we feel it is disturbing our focus and our progress?

If so, take that thought, of feeling disturbed and focus on it. Does a buddha try to block out all outside circumstances?

Are there even outside circumstances? Did you not plan with the Universe from the beginning of time to have those car horns blare into your ears? Of course you did! Embrace and be grateful for this wonderful car-horn teaching! Nothing is better.

So, these children who hit Bodhidharma in the head with a rock….. Their intentions were selfish and mean, but the outcome was the bringing of Ch’an to China and then Zen to Japan. So, a bad intention and a bad action yielded a flourishing of compassion.

What can this teach us? That all things, good or bad, or even evil, can be our teachers, and can feed compassion and make it grow. So, all our enemies can be our best of friends.

If it wasn’t Bodhidharma in that cave, but someone else who was not compassionate. the result could have been totally different. It is possible that the person could have been a murderer on the run, and when he got hit in the head, all bloodied and concussed, he could have turned and ran after the children and killed them.

What would be the karmic footprint then? Would the children have ‘lost’ the good karma of facilitating the enlightenment of a person and ‘gained’ the bad karma of facilitating their own murders?

All karma’s are interwoven and we all are playing on the same team. Team Universe! So, if someone hits us in the head with a rock, do we allow the inherent rage to consume us or can we learn to see the action for what it truly is. I am not saying we should not defend ourselves from physical violence, but so very often we can turn violence into a double compassionate act with how we react… If we let the violence be our teacher, we will see deeper into the true nature of ourselves and the Universe and we also help generate positive karma for our attacker… after all, we are all in this together, we are all teammates.