Space

(image via Aaron Lee)

(image via Aaron Lee)

We are mostly space. "Mostly" as in 99.999% space. The chair you are sitting in and the computer you are looking at may seem like hard-edged objects against your skin, but at the molecular level the boundaries are non-existent. All matter is permeable and ever changing with no atomic difference between animate and inanimate. The energy between our atoms is what gives us the sense of existence. But make no mistake about it, like the Seinfeld episode, we're, "...a show about nothing." And our atoms are in constant flow.

When you get up from a chair you absorb a part of it within you. Some of its atoms become your atoms. The essence of its “chairness” becomes part of your essence; it’s being your being. Conversely the chair takes on some of your molecular character. You leave a part of yourself within its fabric.

Atomically, we are in a constant process of sharing atoms with everything that is and was on this planet. We literally come from the stars, and are made of the same atomic material. Every time we breathe we exhale 10 to the 20th power of atomic material. This is a huge, almost inconceiveable number. At a molecular level, there is no difference between past and present. Because matter cannot be created or destroyed, as a result every human being has over a million atoms that were once in the body of Christ, Buddha or even Saddam Hussein. There is no control over this fact, just as there is no control over our need for air. It just is.

The great wisdom traditions knew this of course.

In the Lakota tradition there is a word; metacweasin. It means "All my relations", an acknowledgement of our connection to all living things. But at a deeper mystical level the teaching is that we are more than all related. It is that we are all the same. Separations of you, me, them, inner, outer, rock there, tree here, are a falsehood. This is the same philosophy when Buddhists state, "We are all one". Or Rumi, the great mystical Sufi poet who advises:

Instead of being bound up with everyone,
be everyone.
When you become that many, you're nothing.
Empty.

This awareness is the path of nothingness, the way into the greater space rather than the much smaller physical matter. This awarenss can only come through slowing down. Speed ennuciates difference, time and slowness accentuate commonality. A "time is money" approach usually serves to create false distinctions and uncreative solutions. Instead try to equally value the spaces in your life as much as the points of action. This can be challenging in a world where thoughts and actions are given more credence. But it is possible.

The next time someone asks you what you are doing say, "Nothing". You are moving closer to the unseen connection of "All my relations".