The actual technique of prayer - the kneeling, the hiding of the face in the hands, the uttering of words in an audible voice, the words being addressed into empty space - helps by its mere dissimilarity from ordinary actions of everyday life to put one into a devout frame of mind.
The organs are correlated by the organic fluids and the nervous system. Each element of the body adjusts itself to the others, and the others to it. This mode of adaptation is essentially teleological. If we attribute to tissues an intelligence of the same kind as ours, as mechanists and vitalists do, the physiological processes appear to associate together in view of the end to be attained. The existence of finality within the organism is undeniable. Each part seems to know the present and future needs of the whole, and acts accordingly. The significance of time and space is not the same for our tissues as for our mind. The body perceives the remote as well as the near, and the future as well as the present.
If we attribute an intelligence of the same kind as ours, as mechanists and vitalists do, the physiological processes appear to associate together in view of the end to be attained. The existence of finality within the organism is undeniable. Each part seems to know the present and future needs of the whole, and acts accordingly. The significance of time and space is not the same for our tissues as for our mind. The body perceives the remote as well as the near, the future as well as the present.
There persists, however, throughout the whole period the fixed scientific cosmology which presupposes the ultimate fact of an irreducible brute matter, or material, spread throughout space in a flux of configurations. In itself such a material is senseless, valueless, purposeless. It just does what is does do, following a fixed routine imposed by external relations which do not spring from the nature of being. It is this assumption that I call scientific materialism. Also it is an assumption which I shall challenge as being entirely unsuited to the scientific situations at which we have now arrived.
One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few… My life… lacks this quality of significance and therefore beauty, because there is so little empty space. The space is scribbled on; the time has been filled. There are so few empty pages in my engagement pad, or empty hours in the day, or empty rooms in my life in which to stand alone and find myself. Too many activities, and people, and things. Too many worthy activities, valuable things, and interesting people. For it is not merely the trivial which clutters our lives but the important as well. We can have a surfeit of treasures – an excess of shells, where one or two would be significant.
Our hesitation before such a colossal thought will perhaps be diminished by the recollection... that the ultimate dreamer of the vast life-dream is finally, in a certain sense, but one, namely the Will to Live, and that the multiplicity of appearances follows from the conditioning effects of time and space [the morphogenetic field whereby the Will to Live assumes forms]. It is one great dream dreamed by a single Being, but in such a way that all the dream characters dream too. Hence, everything links and accords with everything else.
In the vast tapestry of manifestation, the entire universe issues forth into form. Alternatively, it is re-absorbed into formlessness. Each individual life can be likened to a thread in a tapestry. So, if a person could see the whole chain of his incarnations, some of which, from the point of where he stands, would appear to be causally past and others causally future... There is a two-fold pattern of manifestation. The pure being, which in essence you are, is manifested horizontally and vertically through space and time: horizontally it takes form as all the other beings of your present world, vertically as all the past and future incarnations of your present person. You stand at the intersection of the two patterns.
A thinking reed. It is not from space that I must seek my dignity, but from government of my thought. I shall have no more if I possess worlds. By space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom; by thought I comprehend the world.
All our dignity consists... in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.
Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed. There is no need for the whole universe to take up arms to crush him: a vapour, a drop of water is enough to kill him But even if the universe were to crush him, man would still be nobler than his slayer, because he knows that he is dying and the advantage the universe has over him. the universe knows none of this. Thus all our dignity consists in thought. It is on thought that we must depend for our recovery, not on space and time, which we could never fill. Let us then strive to think well; that is the basic principle of morality.
Geometry supposes... that we know what thing is meant by the words: motion, number, space and without stopping uselessly to define them it penetrates their nature and lays bare their marvelous properties.
When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant and which know me not, I am frightened and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then. Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have the place and time been allotted to me?... The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me.
When I consider short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the little space which I fill, and even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I am ignorant, and which knows me not, I am frightened, and am astonished at being here rather than there; for there is no reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then. Who has put me here? By whose order and direction have this place and time been allotted to me?
When I consider the brief span of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and behind it, the small space that I fill, or even see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces which I know not and which know not me, I am afraid ...
When I look at the stars and realize that the light from some of these suns takes a million years to reach my eyes, I realize how tiny and insignificant this earth is, and how microscopic and evanescent are my own little troubles. I will pass on soon; but the sea stretching for a thousand miles in all directions and the stars and spiral nebulae swarming through illimitable space above, they will continue for thousand of millions of years. I marvel that any man looking up at the stars can have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance.
(Paraphrase) While physical entities seem to be separate in space and time, they are actually linked or unified in an implicit or unifying fashion. Beneath the explicit realm of separate things or events lies an implicit realm of individual wholeness, and this implicit whole connects all things.
Subatomic particles are dynamic patterns which have a space aspect and a time aspect. Their space aspect makes them appear as objects with a certain mass, their time aspect as processes involving the equivalent energy… When we observe them we never see any substance; what we observe are dynamic patterns continually changing into one another – a continuous dance of energy.
Sentimental time is a genuine, if poetical, version of the march of existence, even as pictorial space is a genuine, if poetical version of its distribution... the least sentimental term in sentimental time is the term now, because it marks the junction of fancy with action... For it is evident that actual succession can contain nothing but nows, so that now in a certain way is immortal. But this immortality is only a continual reiteration, a series of moments each without self-possession and without assurance of any other moment; so that if ever the now loses its indicative practical force and becomes introspective, it becomes acutely sentimental, a perpetual hope unrealized and a perpetual dying.
God washes the eyes by tears until they can behold the invisible land where tears shall come no more. O love! O affliction! ye are the guides that show us the way through the great airy space where our loved ones walked; and, as hounds easily follow the scent before the dew be risen, so God teaches us, while yet our sorrow is wet, to follow on and find our dear ones in heaven.
Every beginning is in time, and all limits to extension are in space. But space and time are in the world of sense. Consequently phenomena in the world are conditionally limited, but the world itself is not limited, either conditionally or unconditionally.