That’s always sounded painful to me. If I danced on a pin, then it would go through my foot and I wouldn’t be doing much dancing, other than hopping around in agony…not the best dance moves.

One of my spiritual teachers recently posed this question to me: “Can 10,000 angels dance on the head of a pin?” This is a variation on the old philosophical question “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” The history and reasons for the question is adequately covered by this Wikipedia page.

Although there have been many responses to this question, the general consensus you find out there by those who have contemplated it is this — the answer is from zero angels or some of the angels all the way up to all of the angels as “angels are non-material” — hence, they do not occupy space, therefore an infinite number of them could be present at a single point in space simultaneously. Although I like this answer better: “as many as needed”.

Now, let’s set aside the question of “do angels exist?” which can take us down some theological paths that, to be honest, I’m simply not interested in at the moment. We could rephrase the question plugging in anything that we believe is “not material” for the idea of angels in this question. “How many gnomes/fairies/unicorns/etc….”

The question is really asking us to consider the idea that in our personal experience of third dimensional space right here and right now in this present moment (our fourth dimension experience of time), can there be, to paraphrase William Blake, an “infinity within a grain of sand”? That is, what we consider as some point within this dimensional experience, is there the potential for it to contain within that single point the infiniteness of the universe?

However let’s admit it, this is contrary to our day to day experience. Our senses deliver to us a world where things appear separate and distinct. I am over here, you are over there. We cannot occupy the same spot at the same time.

Yet, as has been pointed out many times, our senses actually serve to limit our direct perception of the world. Here are some articles which talk to this: 10 Limits to Human Perception —  Looks Can Deceive

William Blake also wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” It is this quote that led Aldous Huxley to naming his book detailing his experience with mescaline The Doors of Perception. There he wrote, “Each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and of perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe.”

Many mystics and spiritual explorers tend to come to the same conclusion — everything is connected and through that connection, within everything that exists is the consciousness and information and whatever that exists everywhere.

Of course, it would help us to accept that if we had had that direct experience ourselves. I’m not advocating here taking mescaline or any drug into to have such a transcendent experience, but I am asking you to consider your life experiences and explore any anomalies that cause you to question the accepted story that everything is separate and apart from everything else.

Maybe you have had interesting dreams that gave you knowledge that logic says you should not have? This has happened to me many times, including within the past week when I realized in a dream where something was that my wife had been looking for. Sure, enough, the item was where my dream said it was. How could that be?

Maybe you have had a really strange “coincidence” occur that was outside the realm of statistical possibility? I know that I have.

Maybe you have experienced something directly that called you to see that a part of you existed outside time and space? I know that I have.

Maybe you have sat on a meditation cushion and experienced some feeling of connectedness or that ideas or information “popped” into your awareness with no known source? I know that I have.

In fact, although my day to day experience is one of “separate and disconnected things”….these anomalies are so salient that even with their infrequency, they can call into question the accuracy of the more frequent experience that feeds the story of everything being separate. If you start to look for those moments of unity in your life, you will see them and start to question the status quo too.

But what then? So what if you begin to notice and then accept that “all is one”? How would this make a difference in how you show up in the world of form and separation?

Maybe you would be more loving, more understanding, more compassionate. Maybe you would let go of judgment and fear and prejudice? Maybe you would let go of competition and seeking to “win” at the expense of others? Maybe you would begin caring for more and more people?

Maybe it’s time for all of us to being dancing on the heads of pins? At least, start dancing! This world is meant to be enjoyed!  And, its much more enjoyable when we are all dancing….

Mark Gilbert


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