When You Make Space For It

It’s confusing pursuing the non-material world.

The astrophysicist recently had to ask me to back down because I’ve been barraging him with questions and ideas and arguments about the credibility of objective vs. subjective experience. I trust him more than I trust most people when it comes to knowledge of the material world and he also shares similar motivations to mine in both his willingness and his hesitation to engage with magic, the supernatural, the unseen, the perhaps coincidental, perhaps not. So his responses, his objections, his adjustments, they’re marvelous because he’s simultaneously painting a better picture for me of his own personal ontology here, and helping me test the boundaries of my own ontology.

You know, I keep forgetting that I didn’t specifically set out to find divinity. I’m afraid of something…I’m not sure what…something to do with building up a fantasy world for myself that doesn’t actually exist, that will reveal itself to be a huge sham. No. I’m afraid of trusting in something that might lull me into a false sense of security and then fail me at a crucial moment. This is the knee-jerk fear that is deep inside of me. But it’s a silly fear, because I’ve never traded truth for happiness, and I’m only pursuing divinity because it’s inviting me to and consistently rewarding my efforts.

It’s funny how we can’t stop inventing deals with god. We have this obsessive, fearful need to both prove and disprove the details of our inner world, of our interactions with something beyond us. My intellect keeps begging for more proof. The thing is there will never be enough material evidence when it comes to the non-material. Every now and then there is something amazing and physically solid and just a little too coincidental to discount, but never enough to prove anything.

The subjective is the space where we develop our own dances with eternity. The objective is where we learn to do these dances in harmony. It’s difficult to compare notes when it comes to the subjective. I think that’s why so many people are drawn to religion–it’s so scary and lonely trying to forge a personal practice, a personal cosmology, and you feel like a crazy person because you’ve been taught your whole life not to trust yourself. And your conditioning wants predictable, consistent, material results as proof. And the non-material doesn’t offer that.

What I’ve found it to offer instead is largely random, coincidental encounters with people, texts, experiences, and activities that offer insight into specific ideas I’ve been grappling with. Now that I’m paying attention (when I remember), the physical world around me appears to be constantly collaborating to help me to understand the non-physical.

So, for example, I’ve also been struggling with what love means, what it feels like, what keeps it out, what lets it in. What it means to be true to yourself, especially when you tend to deconstruct everything and/or when you try to be open to every sort of possibility and it seems like the possibility of love is always right around the corner but the reality of it is nowhere. Well, you know. Not romantic love.

And also thinking about how hard it is to walk off the edge of a precipice. How every time you take that step into the future, the void, it solidifies around you and life goes on. And even when you don’t you still find yourself, one step later, on the edge.  And you can look at this as walking on air, as a miracle, or you can look at this as terrifying and unstable, and they’re both true depending on how you’re feeling about it.

And I watched this movie, and it took all of these thoughts, and feelings, and emotions, and offered them up to me in a way that made sense both rationally and viscerally. It met my questions and enriched them and challenged them. It gave me emotional insight into my experience and motivations I haven’t reconsidered in years. Between the timing and certain references, it felt very personal to me.

In this society we only consider subjective experience “true” when it matches up to objective experience. Nothing I could tell you about what I’ve experienced since I began trying to listen to the universe would reassure a single critic that what I’m saying is true. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

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