Sometime in my early 20’s I read in the Upanishads a statement that changed everything for me. I still think about it regularly. “As large as the universe is outside, even so large is the universe within the heart.”
At the time I felt my complete education, even my Catholic religious education, had been about exteriority, about what is outside of me. All of the hours in classrooms, the histories and the textbooks, even the theologies of God and saints, everything talked about what is outside of me. What about interiority? This ancient text gave me a clue for the first time that affirmed what I had always sensed to be true – that the universe inside is as large and infinite as the one that is outside. No one had ever told me this explicitly before. Even as I sensed it I needed to know someone else knew it too.
I remember flying on a little airplane to an island in the Bahamas some years later, looking down at the islands below. I thought at the time, every bit of the surface of the earth is charted and mapped, there is little yet to discover on our surface in some sense, but the oceans and layers below remain unexplored. I remember thinking, that is what my life will be about – exploring the undiscovered inside of earth and Self.
I just watched a DVD of a lecture by physicst Nassim Haramein describing his discoveries at the level of physics that reveal this same thing. As far as it goes outside in the vast universe, that is how small it goes inside. We thought the cell was the smallest organization, then the atom, then the nucleus of the atom, and so on. Apparently we will never get to the smallest organization of matter any more than we will arrive at the furthest.
So what are the implications of this for our psychological and spiritual quest? Sheesh, who can say? But I think there is no end to internal exploration and what can be discovered, and I get frustrated with those who think interiority is more self-absorbed than exteriority. It is all science! It is all part of the universe! What is the self except a cell in the great reality we are all cells in? If you understand one cell, you can understand them all; if you can understand any of them you can understand them all. No one cell is greater or more important than another. If the quest for interiority is taken to be a way to exalt or defend the self, then so be it; every self like every cell deserves to be understood, exalted and defended. Just so we do it for every other cell as we discover the truth within.
So large is the universe within the heart.