My favorite metaphysical conceit: the unmanifest.
We are all well acquainted with manifest reality: it is the path beneath our feet, the blood in our veins, the hills, the trees, the oceans, the earth, the stars... The manifest universe is everything physical in existence, and it is all polar through and through.
But what lies beneath this physical realm? You have to have a room first in order to fill it with furniture -- but what of the room itself? If polarity is a common denominator, what exists in polar contrast to physical reality? Where does physical reality exist?
Welcome to the unmanifest.
Here again duality is at work because something needs the symmetry of nothing -- absolute nothing in order to be something, and infinite vice versa. However, the nothingness of the unmanifest is very special because while it is absolutely non-physical, it is brimming with possibilities equal or greater than the scope of the known physical universe. I like to think of it as a field of pure potential energy that provides the underlying energetic framework that sources all of physical existence.
The relationship between the unmanifest and manifest is porous and fluid, energy moves in and out; but you might not think of it that way because this universe of ours appears so solid and consequential. There are physical laws, after all. What goes up must come down, yes? But these physical laws exist a matter of course, because it is an absolute inevitability for matter to organize itself logically and in contrast to the free form of the unmanifest. In this way potential is able to explore itself, and eventually things become what they were meant to be. With inevitability leading the charge, potential consciousness becomes definitive consciousness -- evidenced in this little thing we call life.
Have you ever marveled at the patterns life takes? What is it about fractals, anyway? They seem to be everywhere...?
What more beautiful expression of the unmanifest, the fundamental source of all consciousness -- than to witness a physical awareness take shape within itself and emerge from the sleeping stardust of this inert material world. Life is a divine expression of the unmanifest, a polar distillation of awareness. From infinite possibilities comes a being with one perspective, whose choices culminate into the forms, direction and focus of their lives. An individual capable of deciding who or what it wants to be. I know what you're thinking -- what is doing the witnessing? And who is the individual? They are always one and the same. You.
There is only one witness. You. If you are worried about a higher power keeping tabs on you, judging your actions, look no further than yourself. You know when you can do better. You know when you don't care. You know when you bring your best, you know when you are a light to others. You know what feels good and what doesn't. The witness watches all of us from within ourselves, the same way we observe and respond to other individuals in our lives, who also have a "you" inside them. It is all the same witness at the end of the day. It might be put another way:
So whether it is the God within me that is hungry and eats you for my dinner, or it is the God within you that suffers and dies, rest assured that both ends of the experience are sampled and acquired.
The first organ that ever formed was an eye. It was an evolutionary advantage to distinguish light from dark because it informed the opportunity to chose: run away from the shadows that were coming to eat you or stay and die. By keeping it's eyes open, life has made the choice to live an infinite number of times, and survived. Along the way, learning and adaptation through trial and error, witnessing cause and effect, have aided definiton. Which brings us all the way to there present moment here, where your eyes are finding these words and your consciousness is scrutinizing these concepts, entertaining them, challenging them, absorbing them, mutating, taking what works and discarding the rest.
You have your own ideas about things; but just like me, you have also been informed by the narrative and inevitabilities of your own life story. You know what you like, you know what works for you as an individual; and it's supposed to be this way. Life exists in variation because that is the best way to ensure that life persists. The witnessing that happens throughout a life sustains the opportunity for consciousness to be observant within itself, and the simultaneous witnessing from within many lives serves the quest of consciousness to understand things from the inside out, from all sides of the equation. But also, the singular reader in you has a mind that observes these words and rips them into abstraction and semantics -- and this is at the end of the day, another expression of consciousness acting as an individual. So you are conscious of your own experience, and also the source of your consciousness is the very same unmanifest that underlies the fabric of reality.
How perfect is it that the same umanifest that cradles the manifest universe, also exists within you?
Where does inspiration come from? Everything starts as an idea, a concept. The human world we have built on this planet is a perfect example of inspiration run amok. We have invented shoes, cars, harmonicas, spoons, computers, airplanes, books, houses, the stories we tell ourselves, and even something like the internet (a rather efficient means of transporting information from one conscious mind to another, don't you think?). All of it started as an idea, a possibility, a fantasy. Then someone somewhere somehow plucked it out of their inner unmanifest and harnessed the powers of communication to manifest it into existence.
Life arrises from the unmanifest, while death returns us to the unmanifest. Every night when we go to sleep we experience the phenomena of the dream. If you are lucky enough to remember your dreams, then you return to your waking life with memories of your dream state that can be as vivid as memories of your waking life. So whether experiencing life via reality or in a dream state, it seems your consciousness is always active -- it is persistently awake even when your body is not, always experiencing its own polarity of existence. While you are in the dream state, generally you are not aware that you are having a dream -- that's what makes dreams so powerful. The moments, places, scenarios, and people within your dreaming mind feel concrete but they are mental fabrications. Given the holographic nature of reality and consciousness, it begs the question:
But there is another way the relationship between the manifest and unmanifest is yet another polar construct, one that we are able to actively partake in every magic moment that we choose to witness via the gift of being alive, and that is this:
You have all your ideas rattling and jumping around the unmanifest world inside your head, and from that, your thoughts become actions that shape reality. Whether they get out and manifest into objects and actions, or they fade and subside; you are the arbitrator of the phenomena, you get to decide what becomes real: whether you eat a slice of pizza or put on a red dress or take the blue pill. And this intimate inner filtration process mirrors the mechanism of the physical existence of the universe. It is the same phenomena, replicated within you holographically. You are a fraction of the whole. You contemplate yourself within yourself, and this contemplation is the universe contemplating itself within itself. You are part of everything, and everything is all together everything. Consciousness cannot help but create itself, over and over and over again, endlessly.
To fully understand this, to feel yourself in everything, is to awaken within the dream of reality; just as you might become lucid within a dream inside your own head.
Take heart, dear one. You are not separate from the whole. You are not alone. You are all one.