Condensed Sunlight

E = Mc^2

We all know (I think) that this is the equation that governs the burning of the sun.

Energy can be converted to matter and matter can be converted to energy. It’s happening all the time, not just in nuclear reactions, but in the cells of your body.

In the same way that ice and water are really the same thing, energy and matter are one.

Hydrogen nuclei combine in the heart of the sun to form Helium, and the He nucleus is just a tiny bit lighter than the H nuclei from which it was formed. The missing mass is released in the form of an energetic photon, which bounces its way out of the sun (eventually) and swims off through the (nigh) vacuum of space. If it happens to arrive at the point the earth is crossing, and if it happens to hit one of the green living forms, it may be eaten, absorbed, consumed in a flash of quantum flame… and provide the activation energy for the formation of a molecule that is just a (even tinier) bit heavier than the atoms that went into it: the energy in the photon is converted into matter.

Back and forth, E, m, E, m, sometimes a massless particle, sometimes in one form, sometimes another… through the ATP process, into the cells of a human form, moving my fingers on the keyboard, reordering the neurons in my mind to make thoughts, stories, perceptions, to flow out of the fingers and into the reordering of electrons on a machine both in front of me and (nearly) simultaneously on another machine several thousand miles away… where it sits until a machine picks it up and shows it to another form whose neurons move in response….

I pause to contemplate the Heart Sutra, and Thich Nat Han’s statement that what we are empty of is independent form. My edges are blurry, my fingers can never actually touch the keyboard; there is always space between particles… it is only the repulsive forces that I feel, and the electrons travel up my hands, up the arms, again reforming the neural structures of my brain in response to the ever-flowing E, m, E, m… c^2 so huge (on our scales), the amounts of matter/energy involved so small that we can’t imagine, can’t conceive, can only just brush the surface of the reality involved before turning away.

We are condensed sunlight, breathing condensed sunlight, basking in (not condensed) sunlight, forged in cosmic fire, conversing with stars. There are galaxies in your body. They are also in the ant, the acorn, the snake, and the virus. They dance down cascades, caress meadows, and burst forth from volcanoes.

“Who am I to…” I hear people say. Why do I think that I have special access to awareness, to intuition, to auspicious coincidence?


That’s what they want us to know, these teachers we have not been able to hear for the last thousands of years. This is normal. Everyone can do this. There’s nothing special about it. We just need to learn how, like swimming, or dancing, or driving a car. Driving the local part of condensed starlight we find ourselves in, that’s the work.