From the end of the twentieth century, areas that had previously seemed incompatible, the world of science and the world of spirituality, became ever closer.
In this article, I will deal with one of the fundamental principles of quantum physics and one of the fundamental concepts of Buddhism. Please don’t run away 🙂 It will not be difficult. And, once you read it, you may be thrilled.
I will try to describe everything in simple words — as I understand it myself, that is, a man without a thorough education in the field of physics, or without practice in the field of Buddhism. However, I think the conclusions can be extremely inspiring. Or at least they’ll make you think, and that’s what it’s all about here.
Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle
Let’s start with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. This Nobel laureate in the field of quantum physics proved that it is impossible to determine at the same time the position and momentum of a particle with any accuracy.
In other words, the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be predicted from initial conditions, and vice versa.
After discovering in 1927, Heisenberg was to say the following:
“I had the feeling that I was looking through the surface of atomic phenomena at the underlying substrate of amazing inner beauty …”
The law discovered by Heisenberg means that at any given moment a particle can be anywhere in this world, moreover, that it can be in two places simultaneously!
It also means that at some lowest (as yet discovered) level of the energy structure, neither space (or distance) nor time matters in the least.
Events can take place simultaneously and affect each other instantly regardless of distance and time.
A consequence of Heisenberg’s discovery was also an unequivocal statement that the action of the observer of a given event affects the event itself.
In other words, in the so-called objective reality, there is an unlimited number of possibilities, and the appearance of the observer gives rise to one of these possibilities.
Śūnyatā — the Buddhist Concept of Emptiness
Now let’s move on to one of the fundamental concepts of Buddhism. It talks about the so-called emptiness of things, or about their potential.
This means that everything that exists in this world is neither “good” nor “bad” in nature. Everything is essentially empty and carries within it the potential for an outcome that can take on.
We are the ones who give the incident the shade of “good” or “bad”.
If a given event, a given thing, or a given person were evil by nature, everyone would experience them in the same way without exception. But it never is!
I know that these are categorical statements and that it is probably difficult to reconcile with them internally at first. But let’s take a closer look at it using an example … of our “idiot boss” 🙂
We have no doubts that when the boss once again changes his decision or yells at us — firstly he once again confirms that he is a complete idiot 😉
and secondly (and for this example the most important), in our eyes it is undoubtedly in his behavior, in him all the evil of the situation.
Are you sure?
In the eyes of our boss’s superior, the same event can be perceived as positively as possible. As caring for the company’s good performance.
I know, someone will say right away that they are men from the same (bad) cohort. But once again, please do not be fooled by the temptation to follow your convictions right away. Please look at this provocative example with an open (empty) mind. Its purpose is to show that different people will perceive the same event differently. This is what it is all about.
To highlight this example in another way, let’s think about the boss’s wife, who will perceive his actions as striving to deserve another high bonus, i.e. actions aimed at ensuring financial comfort for the family.
What’s more, someone who does not like us, a situation in which the boss is angry with us, will also perceive a positive event! 😲
Please think about it. Why should our “truth” be more true than the “truth” of someone who doesn’t like us? And vice versa.
By the way, one interesting fact: if we enter a room with 10 people, we will usually like 3 of them, 3 others will be negatively perceived, 4 will be neutral for us. This principle is said to work even when in the next room we would gather 10 people selected from among all those who we liked in the “previous” rooms. True or false? I do not know. I will try to confirm this in my experience, once we can come back to normal social interactions.
Coming back to our example — I hope I have managed to show that the same event causes a completely different perception in different people.
And among others, that’s why it’s worth taking minutes after important meetings at work. Their participants very often remember the arrangements made on them differently.
I hope now you can see a connection between Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, the Buddhist concept of emptiness, and our everyday life. It is the observer who creates his/her reality. It is our ideas and intentions that determine how we perceive the world.
So before we go back to work after the winter/summer break, before we start thinking on Sunday afternoon “Gosh, it’s Monday tomorrow!”, before we decide to change jobs, before we start blaming bloodthirsty corporations for our professional burnout — first let’s examine our mindset. Let’s first see what beliefs accompany us, what we can see, and what we eliminate from our field of view.
Our energy will follow our attention.