Yesterday was Ascension Thursday. The invitation arises to consider what location means, what dimensions overlap with our space/time dimensionality, what it means to say ‘I am here.’
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) speaks of the physics and spirituality in a sermon:
Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.
He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.
These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God.
(—from, Second reading, From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop, office of readings, Solemnity of the Ascension)
I remember hearing the phrase in my youth coming from my mother saying, “that’s neither here nor there.” With yesterday’s solemnity, forty days after Easter, a variation is suggested — “this is both here and there.”
Branes, in the vocabulary of physicists,
The central idea is that the visible, three-dimensional universe is restricted to a brane inside a higher-dimensional space, called the "bulk" (also known as "hyperspace"). If the additional dimensions are compact, then the observed universe contains the extra dimension, and then no reference to the bulk is appropriate. In the bulk model, at least some of the extra dimensions are extensive (possibly infinite), and other branes may be moving through this bulk. Interactions with the bulk, and possibly with other branes, can influence our brane and thus introduce effects not seen in more standard cosmological models. (Wikipedia, Branes)
The way we think, the philosophical system or categories we choose to be familiar with, influence what we hold as our spirituality.
Many, many people have been influence by Plato’s philosophy in fact -everyone who thinks that spirituality is nothing more than a means to escape from this world – are Platonic in their thinking. People who think that when they die they will be forever free of their bodies in Heaven where they will become angels are Platonic in their thought. They are also wrong too to think that a human becomes an angel when they die, is the same as thinking that a frog becomes a human when they die. The point here is that this kind of dualistic thinking has more to do with Platonic thought, than it has to do with the revealed truth in the Bible. When we think about anthropology and cosmology from a biblical perspective we find a unity between the spiritual and material, that the spiritual flows into the material and the material responds and is elevated.
From a biblical perspective, Heaven or the spiritual realm is where God and Angels dwell. Earth, or the material realm, is where humanity and animals dwell. The two touched each other, they penetrated and influenced one another, and they are never separated. (—from, The Ascension: Why are you looking up to heaven?)
Today, Friday, is the celebration of the Visitation, when Mary visited Elizabeth while both were pregnant, one with Jesus, one with John. It is said they both realized something was different about their pregnancies, some new understanding was at hand.
How thin is the veil between worlds? Between dimensions? Between what we call heaven and earth?
And do we, or, should we, traverse and awaken to the infinite belonging inferred by our participatory residence in a multitude of manifestations interpenetrating this place under our feet and surrounding our shoulders?
What does it mean to be ‘here’ — to be anywhere?
And if we were to ever be ‘here’ — what revelation about presence and the boundless everything would we awaken to?
Will transparency, in time and space, be our liberation, our release from a restricted thinking and limited belief about our true nature, freeing us into our true Self within and without, whole and entire...
Into a new appreciation of who we are as family, community, friends, one another?
Yes, question this!