“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion."
This week’s quote brings up an important point. Although we tend to take life very seriously, the universe is basically a creative interplay between atoms and empty space. If you were to zoom all the way out to the galactic scale, the universe would appear as an infinite void, full of sparkling lights. If you were to zoom in all the way to the atomic scale, you would find a similar scenario.
Space is everywhere- it’s the invisible glue that holds our whole universe together. But the universe is not just empty space, it also consists of light and matter. And all matter in the universe consists of atoms. Scientists estimate that the average human consists of around a billion billion billion atoms. Scientists have also determined that an atom is 99.9999999% empty space.
How much space is inside an atom? If you were to picture the nucleus of an atom as being the size of a peanut, then the whole atom would be the size of a baseball stadium. That’s a lot of empty space. In fact, if you eliminated all the empty space inside your atoms, then your whole body would be able to fit inside a particle of dust, and all of mankind would fit into the volume of a sugar cube.
So, embrace the space that is all around you. Space is everywhere- not just on the outside but on the inside as well. Space is like the hidden canvas upon which the whole universe is created. It’s also a common thread that binds us all together. The space inside your atoms is the same as the space that’s inside mine, which is the same as the space that exists between the stars in distant galaxies. It’s all the same space! So, the next time you feel burdened by the heaviness of the world, remember that emptiness is an essential component of all existence.
“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.”
Fall is the time of year when the natural world demonstrates just how beautiful the act of letting go can be. As the trees release their leaves to the wind, we are reminded of the importance of releasing that which no longer serves us. But what exactly does it mean to let go? And what is the best way to do it?
Letting go of something means that you stop carrying the emotional weight of it within your heart. In the case of emotional trauma, letting go means that while you acknowledge the past, you no longer allow it to bring you down. Letting go is not just releasing past emotional wounds, it’s also a heartfelt belief that better things are coming your way. As the author Daphne Rose Kingma once said, “Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.”
While this is a helpful explanation of what it means to let go, it doesn’t explain how to do it. Perhaps it’s helpful to think of letting go as an ongoing process instead of a one-time occurrence. Afterall, deciduous trees don’t suddenly dump all their leaves overnight, it’s a process that happens gradually over time. As Eleanor Brown once said, “Letting go may sound so simple, but rarely is it a one-time thing. Just keep letting go, until one day it’s gone for good.”
So, release whatever it is that’s weighing you down. It may seem difficult at first, but it’s actually the easiest thing you can do. Holding on takes effort, whereas letting go requires no effort at all, other than a willingness to surrender. Ultimately, letting go involves appreciating life as it is, rather than getting hung up on how you think it should be.
“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”
This week’s quote refers to a relatively simple concept that has the power to completely transform the way you experience life. It’s a reminder that you are not a product of your past, you are the architect of your future. Whatever happened to you in the past is part of your personal history, but it isn’t who you are right now. In other words, your memories of past experiences are still valid, but they don’t define you as a person.
As Carl Jung would say, you are not your regrets, you are your aspirations. You are not the mistakes you have made or the adversities that you have endured. Who you are is better defined by how you respond to life’s challenges, how you choose to rise up in the face of adversity. Regardless of what you have been through, you always have the option to choose resilience over despair.
Living your life while focusing on the past is like driving your car on a busy freeway with your eyes glued to the rearview mirror. While it can be informative to look backwards on occasion, focusing solely on the rearview mirror will increase your chances of having an accident since doing so prevents you from focusing on what is happening in front of you right now. Much better to keep your focus on the present than to remain obsessed by that which has already passed you by.
So, liberate yourself from your own personal history. However, don’t get too caught up in defining yourself by your aspirations. As Carl Jung also explained, “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” Therefore, instead of making plans to transform, why not start your transformational journey today? It begins by letting go of who you used to be. By releasing yourself from the shackles of the past, you give yourself the ability to create yourself anew in the future.
"You yourself are the eternal energy which appears as this universe. You didn’t come into this world, you came out of it, as leaves from a tree." ~Alan Watts
This week’s quote is a reminder that we are fundamentally the same thing as the reality that we behold. On the surface, this sounds like a fairly obvious notion. Afterall, how could you possibly consist of anything else besides the eternal energy of the universe? However, many people feel disconnected from the world, regarding themselves as strangers in a foreign land, unaware that they are a creative expression of the same lifeforce energy that gives rise to all of existence. What can you do to maintain a sense of connection to the greater whole?
One way to appreciate your connection to the universe is by understanding where all the atoms in your body come from. All the various elements that make up your body were formed inside of stars which have exploded, reformed, and exploded again over billions of years. In fact, the hydrogen atoms in your body were formed during the Big Bang itself which happened an estimated 13.8 billion years ago. It’s crazy to think that atoms formed inside an impossibly huge explosion which took place at the dawn of time would one day become an essential part of our bodies, yet here we are.
Another way to understand how you are fundamentally connected to the universe is to consider the second part of this week’s quote, which explains that you didn’t come into this world, you came out of it. Alan Watts compares how we come out of the Earth to the way a leaf grows on a tree. An individual leaf may have its own unique size and shape, but it is also an inseparable part of the tree as whole. It appears that Earth is a planet that naturally produces people, just as certain trees will naturally produce fruit, as long as all the conditions are right.
So, instead of thinking of yourself as an isolated individual, alone in a vast universe, remember that you are a unique manifestation of the same basic energy that makes up everything around you. You didn't just appear here by accident one day, rather you have been here all along in the sense that your essential energy is the same energy that creates and sustains the entire universe. You are not a separate entity that came into the universe from somewhere else, rather you are the universe itself- experiencing life as a conscious being for a little while.
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About The Author
Nick Hughes is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and co-owner of Well Being. Influenced by the ideas of Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, and Deepak Chopra, Nick presents his unique take on human existence with the goal of helping others live a happier life.