The Meaning Dimension
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
Everything that exists in this world exists in two dimensions: objective and subjective. The objective exists as something of outer value, like the color of a flower, or its shape, or its texture or smell. The subjective is the dimension of inner value, or what I call the meaning dimension. This entails not just what the flower looks or smells like but the meaning of those things. Whether or not you believe this meaning exists in the world itself or just in our brains will determine in part whether you are spiritual or not. It could be a mix of both. Regardless, noticing that everything has an objective component to it and a meaning component to it is a part of waking up to the nature of experience. Not only this, if we can recognize that everything has meaning, that it naturally makes us feel something, this allows us to recognize when we are attached to those meanings, when we are averse to them in anger, or how we can deeply appreciate this dimension of meaningfulness in our world. Let's take some examples to show how meaning can be recognized in everything:
A sunset can for most people bring a natural sense of beauty and meaning. Despite the colors and shapes, there is a meaning that is felt from a sunset. It is in the sunsets nature to elicit those feelings in us, otherwise there would be no basis for feeling the way we do. We may differ from person to person about what specifically we feel and how we interpret it, however there is certainly a meaning in the sunset that has to be there in the first place in order to bring about our feelings. We experience the meaning of the sunset by looking at it and interpreting it naturally based on what we see, and then we say “ah.......”. This meaning dimension is obvious in a sunset, but what about something usually considered ordinary like a rock.
A rock we see on the sidewalk may not illicit much meaning at first, but for those who train well in recognizing the meaning of all things we can see great meaning, even infinite meaning. Just think about how the rock got there. First there was some massive molten reactions in a volcano millions of years ago that was the remnants of the cooling of stardust into a planet which came from a lineage of stars amongst millions of stars in the galaxy that all came from the big bang and beyond. All of that is found in the meaning of one little grey rock. Not only this, but also consider the fact that it exists at all. Creation itself is an absolute mystery, and since we find meaning in the rock it is an absolute wonder. We feel the vastness of the ordinary simply by seeing this rock. And if you are spiritual, you can recognize the identity of the divine within the rock, its signature in every part of it, and ultimately grounding its very being into existence. This is the practice of recognizing the meaning dimension.
One unique example of something who's nature is openly both physical and meaning are crystals and gemstones. There will be a handout on crystals and gemstones, but one thing to note is that they have been known for thousands of years to have some kind of power or significance that exists not on a physical level but on a meaning or spiritual level. When you hold it, or put it on jewelry and wear it, it has empowering and healing properties that are delightful to appreciate. This phenomenon is not unique to crystals, since all living things are this way. In our natural state living creatures are radiant beacons of spiritual light, both physical and meaning. Plants are known to give life energy to a space and that's one reason why people use them for decoration. Animals like dogs and cats are adorable and we can feel their love when we share with them. And of course, humans are all precious hearts and when we connect with each other and love each other we raise our spirits and our experience of meaning is exponential.
To recognize the two dimensions, objective and subjective, physical and meaning, is to know your world and your experience. The more we know our experience the more we are able to use that knowledge to better our relationship to ourselves, others, and the world. Deepening our appreciation of everything is possible when we can recognize what there is to appreciate about anything in the first place, including an ordinary rock. That is the meaning dimension. May you come to recognize the significance of the meaning dimension in your life that you may become conscious and a master of appreciation.