Every so often the back of my mind serves up an idea that feels huge. I can’t prove this one in any way, shape, or form. It’s just a what-if, one that spawned out of reading this comic and then this NASA article about dark matter and dark energy. It goes like this:
What if our corner of the universe is imbued with an awareness of being observed? The stuff of our reality – the matter, the energy, etc. – reacts to being looked at… what if that’s not normal? What if it’s an experimental property? And, what if that’s what Zen practice tries to move past, or shut down, or suppress, or disempower?
I know only how I feel in this moment. I assume nothing of how I will feel in any other moment.
“Everything is going to be okay.”
“What a ridiculous thing to say. You can’t prove that. And obviously everything isn’t okay, nor is it going to suddenly become okay. Just look at <insert favorite gripe topic here – war, famine, global warming, politics, disease, etc. etc.>”
“That’s true, I can’t prove everything’s going to be okay. But you can’t prove it won’t. ‘Everything is going to be okay,’ like any statement about ‘everything’, is a statement of belief, not of provable fact. We live in the present, and the present is the only moment to which we have direct access. Statements about the sum total of the future are pure speculation and fabrication.”
“So you admit it.”
“Of course – do you? Think of it this way – if ‘everything is going to be okay’ and ‘everything is terrible’ are both statements of belief, I’ll take the positive one, because it has a direct impact on the quality of my present moment. Why on earth should negative belief be assumed to have more dignity and realistic weight than positive belief?”
This is what happens to my internal arguments when I start reading about Zen. I could probably sum up the whole darn thing with a quote from Finding Nemo:
Marlin: How do you know something bad won’t happen?
Dory: I don’t!