Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Multi-Dimensional Universe

Last weekend I found myself amidst the crowds of the annual Flame Tree Arts festival on the island of Saipan. This is a local gathering of artists from the islands, replete with local music and entertainment, food from the islands of the Northern Mariana, and crowds of tourists and locals “window shopping” and being seen. One can peruse beautiful local paintings, basket weavings, shell art, as well as eat to the hearts content on Chinese 5 choice, fresh fish, apigigi, arroz caldo, and desert on tropical fruits and concoctions. Mango and flame tree season have just come into their own, and the islands are awash with orange.

Fresh back from a trip to the mainland, I found myself enjoying the pace of the islands, no stress, FRESH food, real food, and beautiful sunsets, water and tropical breezes. The westward lagoon view in Saipan contains the most vivid variety of colors of anywhere I have ever been. So, wandering around the festival, it dawned on me that we are living in multiple dimensions all the time, and travel is a key to that world vision. Just as physicists and astronomers theorize that there are multiple dimensions of space-time out there, we can see those dimensions around us right here on Earth as we travel around we move between them. The fact that we are able to move between them, suggests that there are dimensions between which to move, but we usually don’t pay any attention to those shifts.

Jet lag is a good experiential example. When I fly from my quiet papaya garden in Saipan, to the chaos of Los Angeles, I cross the dateline, get there the same day and hour that I left, and transport myself between worlds – and yes, it does feel like different worlds. The pace, the people, and the concerns – the US runs on a different speed than the islands, a different vibration, and when you stop and actually feel the shift, you realize even a different universe or dimension. People in one place have absolutely no clue what it is like in the other unless they have been there very recently, and as soon as the air-lock of the plane door closes, or you sail off the shore, that dimension you are leaving begins to inevitably fade into the matrix. You can look up the news or weather, but it exists only in two dimensions, you cannot smell the air, feel the sane, or experience the sunset.

So as I was mentally traveling between my recent US experiences, and how different is than my Flame Tree Arts festival experience, I walked into the Voyagers camp. The Voyagers at the festival this year sailed 30foot sailing canoes from the outer islands of Yap, all the way to Saipan. These voyagers are renowned for their ability to navigate by the stars and currents, the clouds, and the sky. They can read weather and they know the sea. Some of the best are even blind, steering the boat by the way the current and waves sound against the wooden hulls. Now as I stood in their camp on the fringes of the carnival atmosphere of cotton candy and Budweiser, I was transported again to the outer islands, another downshift in pace and scope of life. It was quiet; people were sleeping on grass mats, cooking on open fires, speaking traditional languages, probably about food or sailing. The lagoon waters lapped against the wooden hulls of the boats, and I imagined them out there t night, listening for the currents to make a sound, feeling the sea air on their faces and I traveled to their outer islands, where there are no computers or iphones, no ATM’s or airplanes, some may not even know they exist, and for all intents they don’t when you are there. Their universe, their dimension was different than mine, it was different than the festival, yet I was right there on the edge of it. If I slowed down enough to travel with them, I would have joined that world for a little while. So now I had three dimensions in my experience, and that was profound, because then I knew very vividly that there were layers to this world that exist simultaneously, on top of one another, just like the physicists say the space-time dimensions exist all wrapped around and between each other. It just takes a subtle shift of perspective to go between them, if you are aware of them. How many more are out there, how many more had I been to in my travels, in my dreams. Reluctantly I stepped off the sand and back into the fray of the carnival, back to the dimension I was currently living and experiencing, but feeling both awed and unsettled at the same time that we are living among countless layers and dimensions all the time, and that we can CHOOSE, and we can BE, wherever we want to, with just a flick of perspective. Bon Voyage!

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