Changing Paradigms-A Fool's Guide To Navigating Life's Grand Design

In this blog, I’m in the habit of writing from the perspective of science as well as that of spirituality. Although that may seem strange to some, I’ve never felt compelled to choose a side. In fact, to do so has always seemed tantamount to tying one arm behind my back. In my eager pursuit of knowledge, I found the more I learned, the more one side began to resemble the other. Although this may not be obvious at first glance, it has been stated time and again by mystics and great thinkers alike.

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In releasing one’s loyalty to that which they consider the “winning side”, a new found freedom is obtained, a freedom to seek truth in everything, not just the so-called right thing. Once a person crosses the Rubicon in this regard, they are able to access vistas denied to those who would pursue knowledge in just one way. Like everything in this life, walking such a path is an ongoing practice. If one follows such a course long enough, things which once looked radically different, in time, may come to look eerily similar.

Quantum physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. -Edwin Schrodinger
Truth is one; the wise call it by many names. - Hindu scripture from the Rig Veda

It is truly amazing, the design nature pours into every aspect of reality. Our universe orders itself out of chaos in the most elegant and magnificent of ways, and yet, as humans, we seem largely unaware of this process, as well as our place squarely in the middle of it all.

Such ideas were all but ignored within my education. I was in my thirties when I first learned of the golden ratio, Phi, while reading The Da Vinci Code. I assumed the concept to be pure fiction, as I’d heard criticisms of the book which claimed it pushed the boundaries of truth. Perhaps such criticisms are accurate, but I was nearly apoplectic when a quick google search revealed that Phi is actually a thing. I still remember the question which popped in my head, “how is it that I got through 12 grades and college and no one thought to mention that reality conforms a pattern of design?”

In that moment, the so-called “golden ratio” seemed like the single most relevant piece of information I’d ever learned about, and yet, my educational institutions had deemed it unworthy of discussion. As the years have passed, I have maintained a healthy curiosity regarding the natural world, exploring through both media and direct immersion. As my journey has unfolded, I have come to embrace the fact that my life is just as much a part of the ordered universe as is a tree or a mountain. After all, Phi explains the segments of my skeletal frame just as well as it does the segments of a tree branch.

Over time I came to wonder if everything about my life was meant to conform to an aspect of natural order, even my thoughts and habits. Could it be possible that consciousness itself obeyed such dictates, I wondered. In time, this scenario came to seem less implausible. After all, if we inhabit a system that operates according to fractal rules, and everything about our lives is contained within that system …

A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe’ —a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
— Albert Einstein

In both modern science and mystic tradition, a radically altered vision of existence is described. In science, we find that beneath the solid matter with which we interact exists a surprising lack of solidity. When subjected to the unbiased lens of observation, our lives and all our interactions are revealed to root in a field of unified energy. So too in spirituality, the seeker is time and again directed to commune with the unity underlying this illusory existence. If one reflects upon the nature of physical reality long enough, a strange interaction seems to reveal itself, as if the physical and the nonphysical are locked in an inseparable dance - physicality resembling a kind of skin formed around an energetic tree. As energy flows, that which we call physicality dances on its surface, like moss rippling with the movements of water.

For my part, my life began to radically change when I started experimenting with the idea that this “energetic tree” obeys certain rules, conforming to an inherent design. I came to see myself as part of this grand process - as opposed to someone who interacts with it as an external observer. In time, I began to picture reality as a whole, a system which seeks to organize its constituents, including me. The difference between a human and flower, for instance, is that a human has free will, the ability to approach life in any way deemed desirable.

As I considered life in this new way, I began to see emotions, sensations, and intuitions as guides, the means by which we receive feedback regarding the state of our “alignment” within the larger design. I wondered if my negative experiences were simply indications pointing me to places that needed changing, things I ought to approach differently - frictions that illuminated the rough edges still in need of smoothing.

Now, with a few years past, my “experiment” continues, and likely will throughout my remaining days. It has not been an easy road, yet, in other ways, this change in perspective has made all the difference in the world. In coming to view life this way, suffering and pain have ceased to appear random or punitive, but rather, exist as indicators, as the inevitable consequence of misalignment within the fundamental nature of reality - the shape it wants to take. In other words, nature expects us to play the game according to certain rules, and not doing so comes at a cost.

In one sense, this seems akin to predestination, as if our lives are meant to inhabit specific grooves or assume a strict form. It may be more accurate to say, however, that what we do is largely irrelevant as compared to the way in which we do it. Seen in this way, reality has no preference in what a person does, but cares greatly about what a person is.

Such a perspective change is deceptively radical, its truth deeply elusive, and difficult to admit in my case. In considering my own path, I feel my largest barriers have been the assumptions I’ve made about my own standing within reality. As people and as a species, there is an inherent belief that we are properly centered in our thoughts, that we alone are exercising sanity within a chaotic and unpredictable universe. The moment my life truly began to change was the moment I understood this assumption to be way off-base. I didn’t have things right at all, I was off in the weeds completely, and had been so for my entire life, as far as I could tell. It wasn’t that life was unfair, it was that I had been seeing it all wrong, believing it ought to be some way other than the way it is.

Predictably, the actions I took based on such beliefs did not achieve their desired ends. And yet, I continued to take the same actions, playing the victim when life handed me the same results. As if walking repeatedly into a wall and then blaming the wall for getting in my way. Reality, as it turns out, exists as that which does not budge, no matter what configuration we take in the face of it. The insanity I suffered from, therefore, was that I believed myself to be sane within a chaotic universe, when all the while it was my mind that was chaotic, having strayed so far from the natural flow of things that the flow itself became unrecognizable to me.

In the end, I had no choice but to relinquish my insistence that reality conform to the shape of my assumptions, and begin releasing old ways of thinking. In doing so, I practiced mailability, seeking a mind capable of inhabiting a more expansive paradigm, one beyond religions and nations, red states and blue states. Instead, I set my gaze upon a life rooted in nature and flow.

It was awkward at first, and I truly questioned my sanity at times, as I did not understand what was compelling me towards this strange way of “being” in the world. In adapting a new outlook, I learned to question popular cultural values, choosing instead to look long and hard at my life and how it was unfolding, what it was contributing. I took seriously the adage “be the change you want to see in the world.” As I changed, so did my life circumstances. In time, certain friends drifted away, while new ones floated into view. For a time, I felt like a castaway, as if marooned on an island of my own isolation. Yet, a part of me knew it was necessary, that there were things that needed to be addressed before I could “reintroduce” myself into the wild.

I’m not on that island any more. I can’t say with any certainty where I am, but I know I have left those shores. More and more, I feel a part of things. The same part of me that willingly rode out those years in isolation somehow knows that time is coming to a close. Where I will land I cannot say, but the journey continues. Till next time!

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Americana Singer Songwriter Ed Dupas’ lived-in melodies unwind with reflective lyrics that speak to the current state of the human condition. Soothing where possible, agitating where necessary, and calling for change where appropriate. Ed Dupas creates and shares well worn wide awake music.

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