These two levels of description, that of ‘strings’ and that of ‘quanta,’ convey to us a new understanding of ourselves as embodied beings… Like the tiny particles, we are made of energy capable of transforming us in more than one direction, and capable of changing our inner reality as a result.
In the world of space and time that human beings inhabit, we ordinarily think of physical objects as solid and ourselves as solid. But what if nothing was solid in the physical universe, and all that appeared that way was really energy in motion? If something is solid, it has a shape and form and is fixed in terms of spatial coordinates such as height, width, and depth rather than fluid. But if something is energetically moving, it is fluid and changeable, depending upon where and how we view it.
This shift in our assumptions about physical matter is taking place now. Although its precursors arose in the nineteen-thirties with the great surge of interest in quantum mechanics and its research into the nature of the sub-atomic world, it was not until a mere twenty five years ago that the newer ‘string theory’ gave new meaning to and a new understanding of the fluid reality that we live in.
‘String theory’ is the result of the efforts of theoretical physicists to complete the work of Albert Einstein in being able to articulate a unified field theory of physical reality that would apply to both the smallest sub-atomic aspects of that reality and to the larger spatial realities as well. ‘String theory’ arose and became popular within physics as a way of responding to this wish. Based on mathematical models that can be shared and refined but not yet observed directly within matter, ‘string theory’ predicts a physical world of ten dimensions, nine tiny curled-up spatial dimensions and one dimension of time. This is six dimensions greater than the traditional model that we have typically held containing three dimensions of space and one dimension of time.
Within ‘string theory’ as with quantum mechanics, we once again discover a fluid and changeable reality that contains the property of ‘indeterminacy.’ What this means is that the tiny energy filaments that are known as ‘strings,’ (tinier than the tiniest sub-atomic particle that has ever been measured), can become anything that it is possible to become – a particle, a wave, a graviton, an electron, and so forth. Theoretical physics does not deal with the question of ‘how’ this is decided, but only with the effervescent nature of the tiny energetic filaments which possess a dynamic potential to become anything.
This smallest level of physical reality exists within all of us as well as within everything else in the physical universe. Therefore, it is possible to look deeply into our own inherent nature and say that at the foundational level of what we are made of is a fluid energy in motion, capable of becoming anything. And since energy can interact with and be transformed by other energies in the direction of one’s intention, (thought, emotion, and intention being energy also), string theory lends support to the premise that we can change our reality by intending to do so, and by adopting new mental and emotional attitudes which bring in new aspects of our larger consciousness.
While ‘string theory’ describes the most fundamental or tiniest level in which to picture physical reality, quantum mechanics had discovered a similar fluidity to reality seventy years earlier. In the early experiments of physicists looking for a way of joining Einstein’s general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics, it was discovered that if you try to measure the smallest sub-atomic particles called ‘quanta,’ the measuring of these particles influence their nature and what they appear as. Observing sub-atomic particles, one encounters the principle of ‘indeterminacy’ or ‘probability.’ In essence, the ‘principle of probability’ states that when we seek to understand the smallest aspects of physical matter, we cannot do so with precision because to understand these tiny particles of matter we must measure them, and any measurement we make will influence what they appear as and are. At this level, any particle we measure can appear as either a particle or a wave, and we can only state the likelihood or probability of its being one or the other. We cannot be certain. In the famous ‘double slit experiment’ which almost single-handedly gave rise to the field of quantum mechanics, when we project photon particles at a flat surface with two slits in it, not only do we not know whether these photons on the other side of the surface will behave like a particle or a wave. We also do not know where the particle we are projecting will appear on the surface that it will land on. There is only a probability that it will be to the left, in the center, or to the right.
These two levels of description, that of ‘strings’ and that of ‘quanta,’ convey to us a new understanding of ourselves as embodied beings, beings made of the same ‘stuff.’ Like the tiny particles, we are made of energy capable of transforming us in more than one direction, and capable of changing our inner reality as a result. This is due to the fact that our physical bodies and our consciousness are not separate but joined. We change through the energy that we carry. On one level it is an energy of mind. On another level it is the larger landscape of our consciousness beyond mind which can produce an energy that infuses every aspect of our being, allowing us to develop new pathways of energetic influence. The science and practice of yoga support this understanding and allow us to flow more fully and more easily as energy beings.
For all human beings, resting in the reality of the indeterminate as ourselves, we can entertain the possibility that we can become anything that we wish. Our consciousness can redirect the malleable energy that we contain in alignment with our intentions. Some of our intentions are conscious, but not all, and the more deeply self-aware we are, the more we can have direct access to our beliefs at more subtle levels. These deeper beliefs about life, death, and the nature of reality govern our entire life, often without our knowing it.
This is hopeful news for those concerned with changing the world we live in from its present state into one in which love and peace reign. We can, if we turn toward the models of current theoretical physics, find great support for hope for ourselves and for the planet. Change is perpetually happening in our bodies, and it permits us to seek to propagate a new and hoped for reality for the planet.