The mathematics of quantum physics is built upon the concept of a fixed space and time. Particles whiz around across this fixed backdrop, never touching it, unable to influence it or to be influenced by it. Their progress and evolution are measured against an immutable backdrop. In the mathematics of relativity, however, space and time are inseparable from any of the other forces or elements of matter in the universe. The movement and interaction of energy and matter have an effect upon the shape of space and the passage of time. Everything influences everything else. These two fundamental theories of the universe, quantum theory and relativity- two of the greatest scientific accomplishments in the history of man- are fundamentally incompatible as equals.
In my own life there are two trains and they are not unlike these two great theories. There are times when they seem incompatible as equals. The first is the train of my daily life. It is the train I was born into, that I found myself riding early in this life. It’s a regional train, and it makes all the stops within a relatively limited corridor of human industry. It may never make a trip across the country. It is finite in its scope and reach. It breaks down and needs repairs. It doesn’t exactly fly down the tracks. There is a beauty and a simple grace that often shines through in its repeated route, but when the other train of my life whips down an adjacent track, traversing time and space with a pace I can hardly fathom, setting the hair on the back of my neck straight up, I am reminded of the Reality of unlimited Opportunity.
The other train of my life has no set schedule. It can reach any point it desires. It is the train of my spirit and it has no limits, no travel restrictions, no maximum speed. It unites all points in the system, and brings back messages from places I’ve never been. It never ceases moving, and the destination is irrelevant. It can reach the highest passes, and bridge the greatest rivers. Some days I wish I could ride it to a place far away, to ride indefinitely without concern or worry. Some days when I recognize this train is who I am and will forever be, my heart soars.
But the other train of my life remains, and is something of who I am, too. Somehow. Say what you will about Identity, and about Reality, and about bodies. There is little disputing the fact that I am having an experiences in this regional train world. It is my current residence, though it is not my eternal Home. I can joy ride for a while on the other train, but it would be futile to state that right now, at this time, there are not two trains in my life. This can make me wonder: who are we? May these two trains be merged into one?
* * * * *
A dream of physics is to merge its two great theories, to unite them in such a way that the beauty in each is recovered and strengthened and deepened. This is the dream I have for my own life- to bring these two trains into a synchrony, so that when I’m riding one, and looking out to the landscape passing by, the reflection in the glass is the inside of the other train.
There is a theory in physics suggesting that quantum mechanics may be derived from the theory of relativity as an approximation applicable to small regions of space and time where the influences of a space that curves and a time that dilates are fairly minimal. Though not widely endorsed or accepted, a theory such as this would bring the two great pillars of physics together by stating that they are ultimately of the same underpinning, though one would in essence be subsumed by the other. They are not separate from one another; rather, one is an extension of the other into a limited domain of expression. This is not about superiority, but about applicability. One is abstract and universally applicable, and the other, the approximation, provides unique insights into specific situations and contexts found in the universe.
This is the way to merge the two trains of our lives, I think. The train of our spirit is indomitable, and unlimited, and the train of our earthly life is an approximation- a representation. A Course of Love calls us to make of our lives “true representations”, to be walking expressions of the Truth and Love that live within and through and as us. Our lives are like the approximations of quantum physics- unique representations of a greater Whole. Restored to the appropriate relationships, we are subsumed by the Whole of God, and yet we express and share the Whole of God’s Being in and as our representations. We cannot express All of God in a finite swath of space and time, but the qualities of All of God are uniquely expressed and represented through us. The finite becomes a signpost of the infinite. We live it and it fills our lives to overflowing.
The train of our spirit will never cease its visits to new and previously unknown stations, never cease to connect and bridge across all points in the system, never cease to be related to all beings and all points and all times. As such, we can allow it to subsume the train of our daily lives, which will then become a window into the whole system, a unique representation of things that lie far beyond its finite route. In unity, the train of our spirit, which moves without ever ceasing and slowing, may experience what it is to pull off a siding alongisde of the ocean to watch the sun go down, while deer flit through the trees, searching for the tender shoots of spring.
The train of our spirit cannot stop like that, and be known, but it can merge with the train of our daily life if we will make it room. The dissolution of the ego is the creation of this space, the willingness to allow the daily movements of our lives to be subsumed by something Greater, and to thereby be transformed from lives of isolation- absent of real meaning- to lives of expression of the Infinite, into which all Meaning is poured without ceasing.