put their attention on the electron, it instead acts like
a particle (physical matter), not a wave. It then goes
through only one opening, not all of them.
Perhaps then matter is insubstantial, composed of
intentions, desires, and ideas—in other words, energy
instead of mass. William Blake could have been
suggesting this possibility when he wrote these famous
lines: “To see a world in a grain of sand/And a heaven
in a wild flower/Hold infinity in the palm of your hand/
And eternity in an hour.”
A Rip in the Seam of Reality
When I was about 7 years old, something happened
that revealed this concept to me in a once-in-a-lifetime event. My father and I were sitting in the
car in our driveway on a lovely, sunny day, having
just returned from an errand. In an instant, a breach
seemed to occur in the universe, but only to me. A
figurative scrim fell apart before me in kaleidoscopic
waves, and I saw with complete truth and certainty
that the car, the house in front of me, and the whole
world around me were not real.
I was simply astonished, aghast. If it had happened
to me when I was an adult, I would have said out
loud: “What’s going on? Hey,
mission control! Did someone
spill coffee on their keyboard?
There’s been a glitch here!
Someone please fix it!”
But back then, I was
Dorothy on the Yellow Brick
Road discovering that the
Wizard of Oz was a fake. I was
Jim Carrey in The Truman
Show learning I had been
oblivious to the fact that my
family was simply acting out
their roles in a reality TV show since my birth. What a
stunning thing to happen to a child! And what in the
world is a 7-year-old to do with this knowledge?
Decades later, I was introduced to holography
when I saw the captivating crystal ball in the Haunted
Mansion at Disney World. This prop plays host to a
precise three-dimensional image of a woman’s face.
When the attraction first opened, as the cars on the
tracks circled the ball, the riders could see and hear
her talking and moving her head from many angles. It
was highly engrossing.
The fascinating principle behind holography is the
idea that the boundary around a certain space contains
all the information about what’s inside. Even just a
fragment of the original still contains the whole picture.
If you cut a true hologram in half, for example, each
half contains the whole view of the holographic image.
Years later, as I watched the TV show Star Trek:
The Next Generation, I became familiar with the
concept of holodecks—fictional virtual reality systems
projected in an empty room. Like holograms, the
people and scenery in the holodecks appear completely
real. Within this graphic simulation of any desired
reality, a person can materialize objects or make them
disappear at will. While holodecks are fantasy, I know
from my experience at age 7 that physical reality is
not necessarily what it appears to be. Just for fun,
I occasionally thank people for joining me on my
Science Meets Spirituality
Like me, physicist William Tiller, Ph.D., professor
emeritus of the Department of Materials Science
and Engineering at Stanford University, thinks the
universe is like a holodeck. “We’ve created it as a
vehicle of experience, and we’ve created the laws that
govern it,” he told Michael Talbot in The Holographic
1991). “And when we get
to the frontiers of our
understanding, we can in fact
shift the laws so that we’re
also creating the physics as
we go along.”
When I became a student
of A Course in Miracles, I was
reintroduced to the idea that
the world is just an illusion.
Slowly, my childhood
experience began to make
sense. If the universe isn’t real, then time and space
don’t exist. Living from this perspective, a person
can truly become fearless, relaxed, and accepting
of everything that appears to happen here. We can
Shakespeare wrote, “Life is but a dream, within
a dream.” Many spiritual teachers admonish us to
be in the world but not of the world. This level of
disengagement makes me feel more free—lighter,
less afraid, and quicker to laugh, love, and enjoy life.
More important, I am able to forgive more quickly,
which in my way of thinking is the whole point of
this so-called universe.
particle in the
every other one.