What I have learned, because of you, is that love is not constrained by the laws of space and time. It is something that can be experienced in physical form. It can be experienced temporally in this particular dimension. But it doesn’t come from here nor does it end here. In trying to illustrate a concept that hovers at the far edge of our ability to comprehend it — as the space-time manifestations that we are — the best I can do is offer a metaphor.
I think of the way that mycelium exists in the fabric of the forest floor. Mycelium is the over-soul of the forest, it is everywhere. It underpins the whole system. When we walk through the forest we mostly don’t even see it. We may not even suspect its existence. But it has an interesting way of announcing itself. On fallen logs and on the surface of the soil it has the tendency to grow strange and colorful protrusions that are visible to our eyes. We call them mushrooms.
We look at this colorful protrusion as an object that exists of itself. We believe it to be a self-contained little miracle that has suddenly appeared today, tomorrow will shrivel, and the next day will cease to exist. But this is a defect in our perception. The mushroom is simply a visible outgrowth, at a point in time, of an underlying layer of mycelium that is older than you and I and that extends the length of the entire forest floor.
We met one afternoon in the shade of palm trees, where everyone was pretending to be glamorous, and by the end of the nigh, we were standing ankle-deep in the ocean, kissing under a full moon. Exactly one year later — to the day — we were smashed by another space-time manifestation, driving a very large car, and that was the end of our physical love. That’s when the learning began.
Sometimes I felt like you were teaching me. Other times it feels like me teaching you. One way or another, we’ve been learning together. And it’s still going. This written declaration does not mean the process has ended. It only means that it’s reached a point at which this much has been learned.
Even as I write this now, I sincerely wonder who or what is behind these words. I suspect that it’s you, or the essence of you, or the essence of you and I together. The you and I that spent our time physically wrapped around each other — that was just the visible manifestation of the you and the I that are now writing this declaration and that will outlive both of our material bodies. Yours, in all of its infinite loveliness, was merely the first to transmute.
What has changed, among many things, is my understanding of physicality. I once thought of our bodies as the source of our self. I ascribed to the notion, espoused by the likes of some neuroscientists, that our consciousness is a mechanical byproduct of our biology — that our bodies are real and our minds are virtual and there is no such thing as a soul. Now I’m beginning to see it the other way around. I see our bodies as a virtual construct of the wider, underlying fabric of consciousness from which all is created, of which our souls are individual units — like fractals. Our physical lives are a manifestation of consciousness.
Unfortunately the word “soul” is religiously charged and therefore possibly misleading. The same applies to scientific terminology. All of these words are a gross approximation. In this view here, nothing that has ever been written by anyone is anything other than metaphor. Even the laws of physics are akin to nonsensical words written on the wall of a dream.
Here’s what I’m saying. I can’t be certain of this, but it’s possible that consciousness is the real thing, and the physical universe is a marvelous, meaningful fabrication. The universe is a vast learning center where Underlying Consciousness, in the form of its many individual parts, uses experience as a means of its own self-optimization. In other words, growth. But growth in what sense? I have no idea. Whatever it is, that same instinct is inside us. As fractals of the Whole, we grow too.
So does mycelium. It extends the thread-like arms of its massive web underneath the entirety of the forest floor. And then it sends its colorful protrusions upwards to the surface, so that they may experience life in the form of a body, briefly. Until their bodies disintegrate from our field of vision and return to elemental form, hidden again from our view. All the while the mycelium is still there, growing.
The Newtonian scientists believed that the physical universe is the basis of reality, from which consciousness mechanically arose. But when quantum physicists set out to the find the building blocks of the physical universe they found nothing solid, nothing material. Some even surmised that consciousness is the wellspring. I guess that’s what I’m proposing. The next step in understanding the provenance of our existence is to fully reverse the Newtonian conception.
I have no physical evidence for anything I say here. I present it as a hypothesis to consider, which I am blowing into the wind with a kiss. The basis of reality is consciousness, from which the physical universe was created. Think of it as something analogous to a virtual reality computer simulation that is designed, programmed, and hosted by the Mind of God.
Here’s how the universe was built. Initial conditions were defined, such that all action and interaction occurs within the constraints of a given rule set, which we call physical laws. A sufficient degree of randomness and uncertainty is written into the governing code, such that choice and agency are ascribed to the individual elements of the simulation, depending on their relative degrees of sentience. All action is guided by one fundamental driving force: the impetus toward self-optimization (i.e., growth) in the context of consciousness. This fundamental force applies to all units within this frame of reality. It defines the macro-purpose of the overall system as well as the individual purpose of each of its fractal elements, such as you and me.
This brings us back to the question of love and its origins. Is love the product of the physical world, or is it a product of that which created the physical world — i.e., the vast underlying consciousness? Again, I have no proofs that I can put down on paper. There is nothing in here that will satisfy the Newtonian scientists and their contemporary manifestations. All I have is the great lesson you have taught me and are continuing to teach me.
Even after your lovely body was turned into ashes, our love never went away. And I’m beginning to think it was here long before the afternoon our physical bodies first met. In between those two bookends in Time, there was an exquisite interval of endless mornings in bed, of holding hands, of touching each other with our temporary eyes and voices, of physically tasting each other.
One day my body, too, will also be converted to ashes. And when that happens, our love will still not go away. It will continue to be expressed in the configuration of these words, in the collective memory of people and in the fabric of consciousness that underlies all of this.
There will also come a time when this love of ours is reconstituted in the form of two new colorful protrusions into the realm of Space and Time. These future lovers, should they happen to read this, will be reading about themselves. And when they — I should say you — come together as naked bodies, the love you make will be our love. You will be resurrecting us. And it makes me wonder. It makes me think of all the lovers that you and I resurrected during those endless mornings in bed, just by looking at each other.
This thing we call Love is energy. It is energy that adheres to the First Law of Thermodynamics, which is science’s most beautiful metaphor for existence. Love never ends, it only changes form. It even transcends physical laws, it exists outside of Time. We are its carriers, its colorful three-dimensional manifestations. We are the underlying fabric of existence in the act of experiencing love.