While enjoying my daily five-mile walk I found myself attending to each foot coming into contact with the ground, and reflecting on the nature of densely-packed space, as Buddhists refer to matter. That ancient Buddhists determined that solid-appearing matter is mostly space, albeit densely-packed, is itself rather remarkable; western science has only come to that conclusion rather recently.
Of course, there are degrees of densely-packed space, ranging from highly dense, like black holes, to lightly dense, like earth’s atmosphere; compared to outer space, of course, even earth’s atmosphere is quite dense. People, comprised of living cells mostly made of water, some minerals, proteins and other bits of stuff, are also densely-packed space, and configured in such a way that allows self-consciousness and imagination to emerge. Not all densely-packed space exhibits such emergent characteristics.
Take a piece of iron, for example. If a piece of iron could talk, what would it say? Perhaps, like the character Groot in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, who can say one phrase only, a piece of iron would say “I am Iron.” As a particular form of densely-packed space, a piece of iron is highly stable, and remains a piece of iron for a relatively long time, but not forever; even iron rusts, decays and eventually disintegrates.
Whether densely- or lightly-packed, space itself is composed of waveforms, both stable and unstable. These waveforms appear to us variously. Going back to the example of iron, what we call the atoms of iron are themselves composed of still smaller bits, and at the level of subatomic particles assume the appearance and character of waves. These waves interact, resonate, and interfere with each other in a particular and stable way, such that a piece of iron, in human terms, remains a piece of iron for a very long time.
Thus the relative stability or instability of waveforms provide the framework for all that we, as semi-stable, self-conscious waveform patterns ourselves, can observe. With these powers of observation, we make distinctions and accordingly name the various types of things we see, hear and feel. That notwithstanding, the scientific consensus is that only 5% of the universe is comprised of waveforms we can detect; the other 95% of the universe is invisible to us, mysterious and unknown.
Gravity has only recently been added to our list of observable waveforms. Prior to this past decade, the force of gravity has been solely identified with mass and its distorting effects on spacetime. With the detection of gravity waves, the forces at play in the observable cosmos reinforce our appreciation that all and everything is the manifestation of an original Great Waveform from which all other waveforms, galactic to subatomic and all else in between, have been propagated.
We appear to emerge like waves in the water of the ocean, to which we also appear to return. Yet the waves cannot be separated from the water. In actuality, there is no emerging and returning at all; such thoughts are pure confusion. We cannot return to that from which we never left, except in our imagination. The Great Waveform is a unifying force that removes all distinctions and suffering.
Thus I pay homage to The Great Waveform in all its manifestations. May all beings be well. Om Mani Padme Hum.