There is an episode of Cosmos, within which Carl Sagan states 'If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe'. This profound statement transcends its purely technical interpretation - that the matter comprising a pie must first exist so that it can assemble into its separate ingredients from the smallest particles upwards, hence one needs to invent a universe just to manifest the possibility to bake the pie. According to science, then, if one were to take this line of thinking as far back as one may go, one could say that the pie is made of star stuff...plus whatever it was that manifested this universe in the first place.
It's a beautiful thought to consider that everything we can see, including ourselves are made of the materials of ancient stars. And it is true. But only on the physical side. We are actually comprised of two major components. We are physical and reside in a physical reality of three dimensions of space and one of time, plus we are conscious. Our consciousness is both fluid and constant and exists both within and without our physical three dimensional reality. Just as our physical bodies are ultimately made of star stuff, what gives us 'life' comes from the 'place' that birthed this and countless other universes and realities, which exists in timeless perpetuity. A tiny, infinitesimal drop of this 'source' is contained within our physical mold and it is this that we have named 'consciousness'.
This as yet scientifically undetectable reminder of what we are gives us our yearning for the truth that is hidden within us, it is what motivates us to search for truth outside of ourselves in religion, spirituality and even science. We are lost in our physical bodies, aware yet unaware of our disconnection, or that paradoxically the answer we desperately seek within this physical reality is ultimately within us. We live in a state of dissonance, at once we are eternal and mortal, but while we are in a physical form, we are subject to the laws of this realm. By the time we are able to walk, the dissonance is so strong and the reality we inhabit so powerful that we believe what we see and discard the unfathomable. Soon after we believe our physical manifestation is consciousness, and the disconnection is complete.
The Sudden Immensity of The Little Muffin
One day a batch of muffins were removed from the oven and laid out to cool. Once they were cooled, they were placed on a plate and left to themselves.
The muffins considered each other, compared their differences and decided who was the most perfect muffin and who was the least. They talked amongst themselves in their silent muffin language, and discussed where the muffins went that were taken away never to return. The largest muffins were taken first, so they decided that because they were the biggest muffins they must have been taken to a wonderful place as their reward. Because of this, the remaining muffins tried very hard to make themselves look bigger so that they would be chosen next.
The smallest and flattest muffin was left to himself, he could only listen to the other muffins, because when he tried to speak no one listened to him. The others sneered at him - how could he have anything of worth to say when he was so small, flat and unimportant? He was very much alone and sad. Secretly he wondered if the other muffins were wrong in their conclusions since they never questioned themselves. Finally, since no one would pay attention to him, he moved a little apart from the group and began to occupy himself by looking at the strange world that surrounded him.
He didn't understand what he was looking at. He didn't know what the big moving thing was that sometimes took the other muffins away. He wanted to understand, but he had no one to ask. He only had himself. So he watched, day and night while the other muffins jabbered to themselves about their importance and began to form ideas that there might even be a bigger original muffin that they came from, who was invisible and watched over them. The other muffins liked this idea very much and spent a lot of time discussing it.
The next morning, while the other muffins were still sleeping after a long and protracted debate over which laws and punishments the Mighty Muffin in the Sky had for its muffins, the little muffin noticed the big being had arrived and begun to make a lot of noise. They took many things from closed in places and placed them on a flat thing beside them, then they took some other things from a cold place and divided them up and put them in a deep round place together. He could hear those things from the cold place talking excitedly amongst themselves, although he didn't understand what they were saying. He felt their excitement. Something big was happening! He wanted to share what he was seeing with the remaining muffins so he called to them, but they told him to be quiet, that they needed their rest.
Soon he saw an amazing thing - there was a thing on the flat thing he vaguely remembered! It reminded him of when he woke up. It was flat and had little round holes in it. He watched, fascinated as the big being put a little of each of the stuff that was in the big round thing into the little round things. He heard the voices of the others more clearly as the big being carried the flat thing with the little filled holes to the heat box. They were so excited and happy! What was happening?!
The little muffin felt sorely out of his depth, but he persisted in watching and listening. Nothing happened for a long time, then suddenly the big being came back and took the flat things out of the heat box.
It was not possible! Those wet, flat white things had turned into...him! His little muffin mind reeled. He was not only a muffin...he was all of those other things too. He had seen them, individually at first and then placed together and made into one. He saw them divided into the flat thing with holes, what he now remembered coming out of when he woke up.
He watched as the big being took the new muffins out and placed them on a new plate. They were silent, perhaps they were sleeping. Impatiently he waited for them to wake up so he could ask them questions. Who were they before they became like him? Why couldn't he remember anything from before being a muffin? While he was preparing his questions, the big being came and lifted the plate he and the remaining muffins were living on. Because he had moved himself to the edge, he fell off and was left behind. Upside down, he watched as the big being opened a huge shiny container and let the muffins slide off their home down into its depths, their screams of terror silenced as it closed up behind them. Then the big being brought the plate with the new muffins over to where the little muffin had been left behind and set it down beside him.
One by one they woke up. He wiggled up to the plate. Who are you? He whispered. They stared at him in silence. Eventually one of the bigger muffins replied. We are muffins, just like you...what are you, stupid?
Sadly the little muffin realised that they had forgotten who they had been before they were put into the heat box - even when he told them what he had seen, they said they had no memory of it and told him to stop making up stories. He listened in horror as they followed the same path as the muffins who came before them, admiring themselves and each other, allocating power to unknown entities...all of this they could do, but they could not see what they were within! When he could not endure their mockery anymore, he moved himself into a corner and spent his time alone, trying to understand the things he had learned.
Days went by and the little muffin became very old, he felt that he would cease to be a muffin very soon, but he was not afraid. He knew he didn't understand all there was to know, for he was only a little muffin, but he had done his best to understand difficult things.
He closed his eyes to sleep his final sleep. Suddenly he felt incredibly light, lighter than anything he could imagine. He opened his 'eyes' and looked down at the old and ruined muffin form he had lived in for those long and lonely days. He didn't know what he was supposed to be without his muffin form to look out of. He felt vulnerable and disoriented until he realised he was finished with his muffin life. He allowed himself to let go. Soon he felt himself speeding backwards. He remembered the parts that he had been before he was a muffin! Then he remembered what those parts were made of! Further and further back he travelled - faster and faster - shrinking into tinier and tinier spaces. Suddenly, in an explosion of light, he crossed a threshold and felt himself disperse into a vast place of knowing. He knew everything, he understood everything. He was so happy! He realised he was no longer one little muffin, he was everything and nothing, he was everywhere and nowhere. He was immense.
He was home.
Originally published on Breaking Every Paradigm Dec 21 2012