Physics and Consciousness 8: Emptiness and Form

What do neuroplasticity, stem cells, language, the Uncertainty Principle, and de Broglie’s work on probability all have in common? Adaptability. From a consciousness point of view, adaptability is the demonstration of “emptiness and form” or sunyata.

Neural_network_rotatorNeuroplasticity is the now known and widely accepted understanding that the brain is an organ of constant change and adaptation. Neuro comes from the word neural pertaining to the neural network of the brain with its ceaseless firings and messaging along neural pathways and synapses. Neurons will create new paths (pathways) with new experiences, natural growth or aging, or as a result of injury. The brain will do its best to create a new normal that is as highly functioning as possible after any of the above experiences. It is now understood that the brain is not a static analog computer just clunking along – as amazing and miraculous as that might be. Instead, neuroplasticity like quantum mechanics in physics, has revolutionized how science looks at the brain. These two radical sciences are propelling humanity into the new age of consciousness because they both are leading to the scientific discovery of the already present fabric of shared awareness on every scale.

david-levThe term stem cell comes from plants. Did you know that in most plants the cells at the tip of a stem are neutral or unprogrammed until they have to be. Then the plant commits  the stem cells to BE the furthering of a branch, the beginning of a leaf, or the bud of a flower which will become a seed bearing fruit or vegetable. This complete emptiness of form is the source of the now common term stem cell. (As an aside, if you are interested in or practice natural medicine and Earth-based healing remedies check out Gemmo therapy. These are tinctures derived from the stem cells of particular plants with a homeopathic idea and traditional wisdom behind which plants used for which ailment. They are quite effective. Personally, Gemmo therapy and a skilled practitioner turned my debilitating journey with MS around.)

Language is completely empty while at the same instance is filled with form and reports form to us. In fact, one can ponder if language is used for anything except to turn something into a knowable form? Communication is to make common (commun-common) that which can be known. Words are created all the time and usually to report or convey that which was unknown to some people but now has become known. Quantum mechanics is a perfect example of words created as particles would be “discovered.”

What puts language in this article is that it is completely changeable and unto itself is empty until and unless given meaning. Hieroglyphs are a perfect example. Until the secrets of these etched images are understood as symbols hieroglyphics_picreporting the magical mysteries of consciousness and Being, then their mysteries and wisdom cannot be revealed. It seems that our collective self-orientated mindset is not mature enough to receive Egypt’s wisdom and so we don’t. That is the protective mechanism of symbols, protecting both the ignorant and the sublime from misuse. Yet language always is empty. Words and symbols require context, which is not just words around a word but are the cultural bases, personal experiences, historical frames, and the subjective considerations of appreciation or value. Then words have meaning. Emptiness and form.

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle simply states that we cannot know both the momentum or trajectory and the location of something at the same time. Easy example would be you right now. If you are reading this article sitting in a chair, your location is known. But when you will get up and what you will do when you get up is not, nor can it be. You might think that in five minutes you will get up for a cup of tea but your trajectory and its momentum will likely be interrupted by the dog who you will pet, the piece of paper you will pick up on the floor, the text message sent while walking (about this great article!), and you will go to the toilet before adding more tea to your body. In each of these processes along the way, both your location and momentum will be in constant flux, therefore you and I live the uncertainty principle.

We can easily expand the ideas of momentum/trajectory and location/position into the frame of consciousness. Consciousness is a quality replete in cosmos. The plant is using plant consciousness to determine and then commit to flower, bud, or leaf with the neutral and empty-of-form stem cell. Its trajectory (the creation and forward moving of that creation) of leaf or stem or flower is uncertainty becoming certain or known. The probability of any of these choices by the plant might or might not be equal but we can’t know that as human beings. Only the plant does. Thus uncertainty again – but this time only in reference to human understanding of plant consciousness and choice.

em-wave_thermometer_trans_with_celsius_v2_black_planck_largeProbability, as a theme in quantum mechanics, was given momentum (ha ha) by the work of Louis de Broglie from France in the 1920’s. He was a PhD student at the time and his work is based on the particle-wave duality of matter itself. In other words, on the emptiness and form complementarity of existence. HIs work had to do with wavelength and wave frequency. Wavelength pertains to the speed of the wave thus the length of space-time that is required for it to complete one oscillation. Wave frequency is reporting intensity. The frequency is how rapidly the oscillations are squiggling: really fast and therefore the atoms or photons, in the case of light, are compacted together and moving quickly thus intensity is increased and the energy of each atom or photon is as well. Or the atoms or photons have space, are not compacted, which also means that they have less energy per unit. An analogy would be a river. Long wavelength is the lazy part of the river, short wavelength is the rapids. Wavelength and wave frequency clearly have a direct relation; similarly, the de Broglie equation, probability, uncertainty, and our common examples.

riverflowEmptiness is like the long lazy river that might at any bend turn into a waterfall or rapids.  The rapids or falls would be form. Emptiness is necessary for form to be born, just as wavelength is necessary for the probable quanta of energy within (momentum/trajectory) an atom or photon (form). Form is necessary to emptiness in that it gives location to the possibilities that emptiness IS. Form is the collapsing of the wave into a shorter wavelength, compacting it into a form. This is language and choice of words from all the words possible to use. This is plant choosing to create a leaf on one stem and a flower on another. This is the brain re-routing the thought and purposefulness of lifting an arm or hand after a stroke or MS episode that just wiped out the part of the brain that was movement-central for that action before. And in meditation, all this is the training of the mind to  s  l   o   w   down. Then it is river like, a longer wavelength, emptier, and eventually empty. That is not the profound experience of emptiness, but at least we on the right trajectory!

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About Donna Mitchell-Moniak

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