> ... to see a grain of sand means something is arising in external sight space. In order to know that it is a grain of sand, visual associations must arise in your image space. Those visual associations are usually below the threshold of awareness. Furthermore, each visual association triggers a cascade of subtler visual associations, and each of those subtle visual associations triggers yet another cascade of even subtler visual associations. The wave of visual association spreads wider and wider, but as it spreads, its components get finer and finer. To borrow a notion from calculus, that association wave points to the whole universe “in the limit.” If equanimity is not deep, the intense See Out (physical sight) and the subtle See In (mental image) are both coagulated, and you have the ordinary experience of an I looking at an it. But if the See Out of the sand and the See In of visual association are not fixated, they become a single wave. The entire universe points to the grain of sand as its child, and the grain of sand points to the entire universe as its parent.

> Admittedly, that sounds a little mystical-shmystical. Here’s what I mean: In the objective world, there’s a pyramid of physical causality that lies behind the grain. The base of that pyramid spreads out to encompass the entire universe, because any one thing comes from a relational net that is ultimately connected to everything. On the other hand, there’s a visual association wave triggered in you by the sight of the grain of sand. Although that association wave may not literally include everything in your subconscious, it implicitly points to your whole inner imago mundi. The grain of sand triggers subliminal mental images. That’s what allows you to understand the grain of sand in context. However, each of those associated images requires its own wave of association, and each of those associated images sets off an even finer wave of associations. Of course, this does not actually go on forever, but it does potentially point to everything you’ve ever seen or could even imagine seeing. It’s a little bit like how light propagates. Each point on the spreading spherical wave front becomes a new source for another spherical wave front.

> All this happens below the threshold of awareness. An experienced meditator can detect these spreading waves of association constantly happening in image space. Because the content is below the threshold of awareness, the wave is in a sense empty, but because it points to everything that you know or can imagine, it’s also huge. Taken together, the combined experience is a simultaneous sense of vastness, thinness, and all-encompassing connectivity.

> In the objective world, the grain of sand arises through a converging net of physical connections. And in the observer’s consciousness, the grain of sand is understood through a diverging net of mental associations. A relational net converges from the whole world creating a product: grain of sand. An associational net diverges to your whole mind creating a concept: grain of sand. Matter and mind are dual in the mathematical sense of that word. They are partial mirror images of each other, inverse lattices so to speak. As William Blake wrote, you really do:

> 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.

-- Shinzen Young, The Science of Enlightenment
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