Does "matter" really matter?
Article by Mark Prince 3/12/18
Here's a sad truth about the world today. We are all seemingly addicted to matter. Gold, money, real estate, material wealth, property etc. One might think that this is a completely normal state of affairs for physical beings in a material Universe, and never give it a second thought. Apart from being completely apocryphal, it sets us up for some harsh realities.
We now know, through a variety of scientific means, that the Universe is made primarily of "Dark Energy" and "Dark Matter". How much of the Universe is "ordinary" matter? All of the stuff from the Periodic Table of Elements? Approximately 4.1%. That's it. Everything we see, planets, stars, quasars, Bok globules, black holes, the works. Add that to the quantum nature of matter, and it all becomes rather insubstantial. The quantum "particles" of which matter is composed are actually discrete packets of energy, and have no material properties at that scale. Why do we place such a value on material gain during our brief existence?
The answer isn't very satisfying, but it must be explored in order to gain a deeper understanding of our true nature. The material world is a persistent illusion. That's it, in a nutshell. This understanding is found throughout the writings of sages, teachers, and wise persons reaching back into antiquity. It has long been understood, by those who have achieved self-realization, that eschewing the desire for material gain was crucial to elevation of their consciousness. It serves as a distraction of the mind, and creates the specters of envy, greed, desire, and avarice. Essentially , the culprit is attachment.
One of the biggest limitations to self realization in the modern world is the inappropriate value placed on conspicuous consumerism. We try in vain to fill the empty spaces in our psyche with material gains. We erroneously tie who we are to what we own, where we live, and how much we have. It leaves us empty, and only creates the feeling that maybe we just need more, and then a little more. What a tragic circumstance for something as wondrous and inexplicable as human consciousness to experience! It serves as an insult to our own magnificent existence.
It is often pointed out that we are "stardust", since the elements of which our bodies are composed were formed in the nuclear furnaces of stars, but even that poetic notion falls utterly short of the reality. We are, in fact, the very Universe itself. We aren't separate or divided from all of existence, but we are actually existence itself. Everything that we are came from the singularity of the Big Bang. We are the descendants of the hydrogen, helium, and lithium created at the very beginning of the universe. The elements of which we are composed, spent millions of years accumulating in the vastness of space, eventually becoming the aforementioned stars. As magnificent as our origin seems to be from a material perspective, it pales in comparison to the non-material aspects of this Universe. While science seems to have a strong grasp on the material, it's still struggles to answer the most pressing questions about the nature of existence. For example, What is consciousness? Or, what are Dark Matter and Energy? It is possible that we may never know the answer to these questions, but a great deal can be deduced from what we do know. The material universe that we are familiar with is essentially only the 4.1% "pollution" in an otherwise immaterial and energetic existence.
What would the universe do without that inclusion of material? It would go on as though nothing had happened. Physics would still be physics, empty space would still be a sea of boiling, quantum, energetic phenomenon. And matter? Well, it's simply wouldn't matter. The physical universe gives us a vessel for our consciousness, and the means to sustain that vessel. It's not a goal, destination, or a purpose for living.
When we understand the fleeting nature of the material illusion, then we are truly ready and able to reach our full potential. From singularity, to star, and from cradle to grave, we are this Universe...