Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Meaning of Life III

Let's take two material objects: A lump of coal and a diamond.
At first glance it seems we have chosen two objects totally different.
One ordinary, insignificant and almost worthless.
The other one rare, exquisite and probable one of the most valuable and precious things on earth.
But here is the funny part of the story: Chemically speaking the two are identical.
Both the lump of coal and the diamond are made out of the same element; carbon.
What makes the diamond so different and special is not its matter but its structure.

As scientist are piercing deeper and deeper into the microscopic world we are discovering that all material things are made up from the same fundamental particles.
The difference between a piece of cheese and a bar of gold is not material but structural.
As a matter of fact there is not such a thing as cheese or gold only cheese structure and gold structure.
Deep at the subatomic level they are made of the same matter.

What gives the material world its “quality” is not material at all.
What gives the material world its form is the empty space in between.
That immaterial reality inside the matter is what determines what matter is.
In other words the spiritual part of the universe is what give the universe its meaning.
The material world it is just a canvas for the creativity of the spirit.

Let's take another two material objects: A house and a home.
At first glance it seems we have chosen two identical objects.
But anybody knows, or it should know, that there is a big difference between a house and a home.

We call home a place were our heart is.
Home gives us security, safety and peace of mind.
Home is warm, cozy and soothing.
Home is filled with memories, heirlooms and love.

It is not the material aspect of the house that makes it a home it is the spiritual meaning.
You can have a home in Beverly Hills or in the slums of Calcutta.
The size value or location doesn't matter and does not make a house into a home.
You fill a house with love and it turns into a home.
You fill a house with hatred and you turns it into a hell hole.
It is the spiritual reality inside the house that it gives it meaning.

So here you have it: The quality of your life is not determined by the material but rather by the spiritual reality of your life. And by spiritual I don't mean religious.

Do I want a nice home for me and my family?
Do I want nice clothes and nice things?
Do I want good food, clean water and air?
Do I want a rewarding fulfilling job and career?
Of course I do. I want a decent , good, normal life.

If I wanted a life of devotion I would have shaved my head, put on the orange robe, join the monastery and spend the rest of my life studying the holly scriptures.
So living this normal life rather than a holly life implies dealing with the material aspect of daily existence.
After all we all need a place to stay, cloth to wear and food to eat.
We might be spiritual beings but as Madonna said “we are living in a material world”

It is dealing with this material world that gets us into trouble.
It is the art of balancing the spiritual and the material we have to master
It is the understanding of the dynamic of the two aspects of reality that will put us in control and ultimately give our life meaning.


Ted Bagley said...

I have a question for everyone related to a post and conversation on another blog. There is a lot of talk of the Zen School of Buddhism being the school of direct experience. How do "house" and "home" relate to direct experience?

Quantum_Flux said...

There is a significant amount of hydrogen in coal, and hence coal is actually a Hydrocarbon as compared to diamond which is pure carbon structure. There are also significantly different properties between coal and diamond, the functionality of the substance seems to be something that Buddhists seem to be oblivious about, and in this case the form too (hydrocarbon vs crysalized carbon).

Coal is only useless if you don't know how to use it to light a fire, and diamond is only useless unless you know how to use it (in a diamond blade) to cut through rocks or to mesmorize the ladies with it's sparkle.

Quantum_Flux said...

Diamond also has some semiconducting and superconducting properties too, which is also useful in certain electrical processes too.

Buddha of Hollywood said...

@ Ted - "Zen school" it is a nonsense an oxymoron.
"Zen School" is not direct experience.
I am.

@ Quantum - You are missing the point completely.
But if you want to get really academic OK, my mistake.
I stand corrected; It is not a "lump of coal" it is a "lump of pure hexagonal graphite"
They both are pure carbon structure, yet they are not even close in their qualities.
That was the point I was making.

Ted Bagley said...

I agree. The Zen school is growing in popularity pretty fast for a nonsense oxymoron and I think it causes problems as I'm sure you would agree. Who is having the direct experience of "I"? Or is "I" nothing but direct experience? Or is "I" just a floating signifier?
A quality is given by an other. A pure carbon structure has no intrinsic quality.

mickael said...

hi Buddha,

maple, me and air in between are of same matter and partially of identical structure. where starts one and ends another? if maple is always at peace, thus am i. very simple. if you want it difficult - it will be difficult.

what am i? you.

complex forms might do things right, yet it's quite unlikely for the more complex structure is, the more errors it holds.

good luck.

scruffy said...

The Earth is my home, but my house is in Phoenix :P

scruffy said...

One time, when we were really just goofing off, I put paper towel rolls under my shirt and run around like a maniac with big breasts trying to evade my friend who was trying to karate chop out of my shirt. We called that game "Karate Chopping Voluptuous Dude" and it was played similar to how people play the game "Smear the Queer"....gosh were we high and dumb back then.