Energy and Matter

Energy and Matter

Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2 was a revolution in its day. Even today we don’t really understand it. Most people still have a strong materialist world-view, putting their faith in what they can see and touch. Many physicists seek to find particles for any style of energy they discover. Does gravity really need a particle?

And yet the equation tells us that energy and matter are just different states of the same thing.

If we flip the equation, we can understand it in a different way. E/c2 = m

The m stands for matter, which is a “substance that has mass and takes up space.” These are properties energy and light don’t have.

Mass is defined as “the measure of an object’s resistance to acceleration (change in its state of motion) when a net force is applied.” In other words, its resistance to change. (Mass isn’t the same as weight)

We know subjectively that resistance is an automatic response to anything changing in our lives. The same is true even of matter. Everything wishes to sustain itself as is. And yet change is the nature of the world.

As c is the speed of light, we can see from the formula that mass or “resistance” is basically slow energy. Divide energy by the speed of light and you have matter. It is inertia or tamas guna incarnate.

Rajas guna is the principle of fire or energy, movement and transformation. It can transform that tamas into sattva. But what’s sattva in our experience?

For this we can go back to fundamentals. If we understand the world arises from and in consciousness, we can look to the mechanics of consciousness. This is also reflected in the principle “as above, so below.”

Consciousness can be said to have 3 aspects: rishi, devata, and chhandas. The observer, process of experience, and objects in experience.

If we understand objects arise from tamas, this is inertia giving mass.
As devata is the process of experience, it is light and relates to rajas and energy.
So sattva relates to the experiencer, what is knowing the objects – observation.

In a sense, the gunas are qualities of consciousness. In our experience, sattva is reflected in our clarity or purity of experience. How clearly we see what is here, unhindered by what we resist or what we refuse mentally, emotionally, and physically.

As we shift to sattva, we shift the world from inertia to illusory, then to flowing awareness in our experience. Inversely, if we refuse what is arising, we create resistance. This is like eddies in a stream. When those are sustained, they become inertia and solidify as objects of experience. These will arise in our experience of the world and within as crud and crusts. (The world is as we are.)

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t act to change things that are less than ideal. It means we should do so through clear seeing and redirecting energy into healthier pathways. We want to smooth the eddies to dissolve the inertia rather than creating new ones to compensate.

It is so very common to build compensation on top of compensation to adapt to the flow of change in our life. But this leads to rapids in the flow rather than smooth living. And that leads to a more eventful life.

If we instead gradually let go of resistance and step into the flow of life, we shift from resistance, to energy, and then clarity.

This is a process that takes years, so we have to be patient with ourselves. There is much to let go, purify, and habits to drop. But each step of progress will gradually bring more quality of life. We don’t have to wait for perfection to have fun.

Anyone for rafting? 🙂

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  1. Tim Owens

    “When those are sustained, they become inertia and solidify as objects of experience. These will arise in our experience of the world and within as crud and crusts.”
    David, where in the Vedas can I get some clarification on “crud and crusts?”
    [He said with tongue firmly in cheek.]

    1. Crud and crusts are highly technical terms with deeply abstract meaning, Tim. Actually, I don’t know the fancy Sanskrit terms. 🙂

      Granthi means knot which we’ve all felt. But there is also a kind of energetic sludge that can plug up the nadis. And there are crusts, often built as a protective response but which then constrain. The lower 4 chakras can gain those.

      I explore some other categories here:

    2. More interesting to me is that potential to steer the process, to work with energy and mass directly. The Yoga Sutra describes it but the samyama combines knowledge of the gross form, essence, subtle form, connectedness, and purpose of an object.

      Yogic flying just requires 2. (laughs)

  2. To be clear, the gunas are qualities of consciousness. They are not in the nature of pure consciousness itself.

    The observer is not = sattva. It’s more the gunas arise as qualities of lively awareness with sattva having a correspondence to the observer aspect. As above, so below. Different levels of functioning but some mirroring.

    Make sense?

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