Waves and Particles

In the natural state of ease, mind watches over mind. When mind rests in this way it is called calm abiding shamatha (shiné in Tibetan). We leave the mind resting like a clear lake. Maybe a wind arises and ripples begin to form. This is called movement. If we follow the movement, we will get mired in our thoughts. So it is important to settle the mind and observe movement from stillness and notice stillness in movement.

A similar idea surfaces in Quantum Theory, a notion of subatomic physics. Here we recognize energy moves as both particle and wave—wave being a kind of non-local interference pattern. This theory begins to bridge science and metaphysics because it recognizes the role thought plays in creating reality. From an unformed spacious wave of energy moving in the mind, we can create the illusion of solidity—what we label as ‘real.’ Reality is, in essence, a “play of thoughts,” as Dudjom Rinpoche suggested. 

We experience this first hand when we accomplish the creation and completion stage practice.  As we visualize the deity or archetype, we notice how reality unfolds based on the mind’s intention. When we mentally dissolve the image and rest in non-conceptual meditation, we recognize the non-locality or unlimited nature of awareness. In the regathering stage, we unify particle and wave, movement and stillness, emptiness and form. It is a dance of energy, or what Vajrayana Buddhism refers to as “one swirling Bindu of great bliss.”

This energy is continuous with all the energy in the universe. Quantum Theory confirms the notion of no separation—a ‘science’ of interconnection. Of course, we do not need Quantum ideas to tell us this. We simply settle the mind and see it is true. But we are fortunate to live in an era where western science and eastern metaphysics seem to be finding common ground. 

Practically speaking, employing a metaphor of Quantum dynamics, when we notice an interference pattern we have the capability of creating particles of happiness. It is a matter of choice. In observing a wave, particles appear. Clarity of the observer creates compassionate activity. This is why all Vajrayana practices are based in bodhicitta—the mind mingled inseparably with unlimited compassion. If our mindstream is mingled with hate, well, you can see what happens.

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