The science that I was taught at school used to think that the universe was infinite. Now they know better. It is in fact a four dimensional sphere. Let me explain. A man living in a two dimensional world lives on a circle, like that drawn on a page. Any direction he moves he’ll eventually return to his starting point. A man living in a three dimensional world lives on a sphere, like the earth. Any direction he moves he’ll eventually return to his starting point.
Similarly we live in a four dimensional universe and any direction we move within the universe we will eventually return to our starting point. It’s effectively a very large four dimensional closed loop. This is hard to image, as our brains are setup to think in only three dimensions, however, we live in a universe that is of at least four dimensions, and they all follow the same principle.
T. S. Eliot, in his mystical poem, Little Gidding, must have intuited something of this when he wrote:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
It gets more interesting. Albert Einstein has shown us that space and time aren’t separate; in fact they’re the same thing, which Einstein simply called ‘space-time’. Space-time was created with the elements at the time of the ‘Big Bang’. This means as you travel through space you also travel through time and vice a versa.
If you’re thinking that ‘you can show that you can move through time without moving through space’, you’re forgetting that you live on a spinning globe, circling a star, swirling around a galaxy that’s flowing through the cosmos. Space and time, not being separate means that not only space is in a closed loop but also time.
That is, if you travel in the same direction in the universe you’ll not only eventually return to the same point, you’ll also return to the same time. The best way to image this is the universe is expanding from a single point. This is the classic and well accepted ‘Big Bang Theory’. However as space-time exists in a closed loop, the universe is also at the same time contracting towards the same starting point within space-time.
This ability for the universe to be expanding and contracting at the same time has fascinating implications for the dimension of ‘scale’. If we take any particular point in the universe and go smaller and smaller, as if looking through a very powerful microscope, we’ll eventually see the whole cosmos.
In summary, every point in the universe is at the same time both an infinitely small part of the universe and also contains the entire universe. This is new to science but not new to the wise. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj said, “When I see myself as nothing, I call that wisdom. When I see myself as everything, I call that love.” William Shakespeare put in more religious terms, “Every man is God playing the fool.”When every point in the universe is both at the same time an infinitely small part of the universe and also contains the entire universe, where’s the possibility of union?
(According to legend) Buddha was laughing and a disciple asked him why. He reportedly said, “I’ve just realised that I’m holding the whole cosmos between my fingers!”
~ Leif Cocks, M.Sc. Perth-based author of Orangutans and their Battle for Survival