Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt from Pam Grout’s book, God Doesn’t Have Bad Hair Days.
"How the world still dearly loves a cage." -Ruth Gordon in Harold and Maude
The New York Times rang in 2004 with one doozy of an investigatory scoop. According to a prominent scientist at Columbia University, it appears that two fundamentals of our everyday reality – space and time – are not all they’re cracked up to be. In fact, there’s good reason to believe that most of what we think of as reality is an illusion, a put on, a con job of enormous existential significance.
It’s really only a matter of time before scientists will be forced to trade in their old formulation of natural law for a radically different, more accurate view of reality – namely, that consciousness itself creates the material world.
For years, Western science has operated on the assumption that consciousness emerges from, or is dependent upon, the physical world of space, time and matter. In other words, the world is a machine, an objective world made up of atoms. But, unfortunately, this dogmatic worldview has glaring gaps and major holes. There is far too much quantum weirdness going on, way too many lab results showing that the objective world is an illusion of our thinking. For example, physicists now have irrefutable proof that an electron can be in two or more places at the same time, that time can go backwards, and that once you go to the trouble to observe a wave, it freezes into a particle. In other words, material reality, despite all appearances to the contrary, is nothing like it appears.
This radical view is not exactly breaking news, having been fleshed out nearly a century ago by an acknowledged genius of the 20th century. Albert Einstein and his cronies ushered in a whole new wave of energy physics that we now call quantum mechanics or the new physics.
And every physicist on the planet knows about the freaky universe where matter pops into existence from nothing at all and where electrons can jump from one orbit to another without traveling across intervening space, but most have chosen to ignore it, to shrug their shoulders and to employ the old junior high standby, "Whatever!"
It’s not that they’re in total denial. They’ve used the new physics to develop lasers, transistors, superconductors and atom bombs. But they can’t even begin to explain how this quantum world works. As one physicist put it, "the question is not whether the theories are crazy, but whether they’re crazy enough." Or as physicist James Trefil observed, "We’ve encountered an area of the universe our brains just aren’t wired to understand."
The continued failure of science to make any appreciable headway into this fundamental problem suggests that all approaches are on the wrong track. Believe me, I understand stubbornness, but eventually even those medieval sailors had to concede that the world was not really flat.
A few brave physicists are starting to acknowledge that their precious assumptions may be wrong. They’re admitting that the fundamental tenets of material reality just don’t hold up. Some are even brave enough to admit that consciousness itself creates the physical world. As Fred Alan Wolf, a physicist at the University of California, says, "It boils down to this – the universe doesn’t exist without a perceiver of that universe."
All I have to say is "about time."
A Course in Miracles, a self-study program in spiritual psychology that I’ve been studying and teaching for 15 years, has always advocated the idea that consciousness creates the material world. It says we humans decide in advance how we’re going to experience life, that we choose beforehand what we want to see.
The problem is that we all look at the world with a giant chip on our shoulder. All we need do to change the course of our crummy lives is to get over our on-going grudge against the world, to actively see and expect a different reality. As it is now, we devote all our time and attention (our consciousness, if you will) to things we do not want.
But it’s nothing more than a bad habit. And like any bad habit, it can be changed with conscious and deliberate effort.
Instead of looking for evidence to support an antagonistic view of the world, you spend your time looking for things you do want. Things like clear guidance, love, peace, joy and, yes, God.
Because we bought this idea that God is vague and mysterious, we don’t really expect to find it. Or at least we’re not surprised when we don’t. What I suggest is looking in the same way you’d look for a set of missing car keys. On a day you’re out of milk and the baby’s crying.
After looking everywhere you normally put them – in your purse, in the pocket of your khakis, on the counter by the door – you start lifting up couch cushions, crawling under the bed and sifting through kitty litter. The important thing is you don’t stop looking until you’re clutching them in your grubby little paws.
If you go to the grocery store for sink cleanser, you don’t come home until you find the shelf with the Comet, the Ajax and the Mr. Clean. If you go to the bookstore to pick up the latest John Grisham novel, you don’t wimp out with some feeble excuse about not being able to find the "G" section.
It’s not even a question of whether or not you’re going to find sink cleanser or the latest John Grisham novel. You go fully knowing they’re going to be there.
We’ve been looking for God for centuries, but because we fell for this notion that It isn’t easy to recognize, that It’s more or less unknowable, our half-hearted searches have been in vain. Because we haven’t been trained to notice, this inspiring, energizing, life-altering force is zooming in, around, and through us without our awareness.
Another reason we don’t persist in looking is because we secretly believe we don’t have the right. We think we don’t deserve it. Man, you oughta see the skeletons in my closet.
We have to retrain ourselves to think of the God power the same way we think of electricity. We don’t wonder, "Am I good enough to plug my toaster oven into the outlet? Have I prayed long enough or deep enough to deserve the right to flick on the kitchen lights?"
We don’t feel guilty for wanting to turn on the radio and listen to NPR. The God juice is just as non-prejudiced and available as electricity once we make the decision to really look for it.
And it’s not that hard to find. The god force is where you are. It’s who you are. It’s why you are.
Buckminster Fuller found a truer, grander way of looking at the world. When he was 32, he decided to use his life as an experiment. He decided to see what one penniless unknown individual might be able to do on behalf of humanity. Dubbing himself Guinea Pig B, he dedicated himself and his consciousness to bringing about change in the world.
At the time he started the experiment, he was what you might call a "nobody." Bankrupt and unemployed, he had a wife and new baby to support. His first child, the new baby’s older sister, had just died. He was drinking heavily.
His prospects didn’t look promising. But he decided to cast aside the past, to give up limiting thoughts. He wanted to know, "What could one person do to change the world?"
For the next 56 years, he devoted himself to his unique experiment. He took risks. He asked, "What if?"
Not only did he became an architect, an inventor, an author and a great leader of men, but between 1927 when he launched the experiment until his death in 1983, he wrote 28 books, received 44 honorary degrees, won 25 U.S. patents, and literally changed the way humans see themselves.
Every one of us longs for an extraordinary life, one that sizzles, one that makes others want to stand up and cheer.
I hope you will go out now and become the most fantastic, the most joyful, the most wondrous, the most beautiful, the most tender human being you possibly can.