Man, only progresses by slowly unfolding, the essence and totality of the universe that lies within him.

(Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

I went for a walk again, a long walk, accompanied by memories that intertwine two centuries of tales. Accompanied by the living and the dead, in a caravan of debris, flowering gardens and deserts.

Remembering, moments alone and shared times, spaces inside and outside. Facing sometimes joy, sometimes sadness, as the winds of life blew. Remembering paths walked, imagining, the ones not yet even imagined. I reflected on my career, performance, and script. On the surrounding scenarios, from the most contiguous to the universal. Reliving my life, my relationships with others, my achievements, and failures, what I learned, and what was forgotten and forgiven. The sequel of entanglements, which even in my old age, still burdened parts of my consciousness.

All of this, of course, is seen through my mind, interpreting processes and experiences, and in the frames of the scenarios of matter and energy, in innumerable conformations, which formed the materials of evolution, history and my own tales.

Stories, ranging from theories about life in general to my particular involvement in it. That is, from the evolution of the universe, until my birth and travel, through eight decades, to the point where I am now. Just a walker, looking at a trodden path.

Musing, as I walked by the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, under the stars, about my mental notes. Of all books read, conversations, studies, and thoughts, regarding human history. The so many different perspectives, the various worldviews; materialist-mechanistic, religious-dogmatic, and spiritual.

I reviewed in my mind the theories of the origin of life, ranging from a primordial soup of molecules, which arose from the congregation of atoms, cooked over the intense fire of stars. Stars, which in turn, were born as clouds of tiny particles cooling down. Fragments of that primordial explosion called the Big Bang. And I also reviewed my thinking and pondered the creation myths as told by the various religions.

With every step I took, phases of what I knew about history and prehistory emerged, in my memory. Theories, observations, opinions, beliefs, and nomenclature. The Paleolithic, the Neolithic, slavery, the inquisition, the renaissance, the compassion of the Buddha, the sacrifice of the Christ, the love of Francis of Assisi, the meeting of the hemispheres, the mandarins of China, the Vedas of India. The human imagination, literary creativity, plastic arts, music, science, poetry.

An assortment of pieces of information bubbled into my mind, as I walked alongside the shore under starlight.

I was aghast at our incomparable wickedness as a species, towards other forms of life and even to our fellowmen. The ignorance, the supreme egoism, and the greed that we exhibit. Yes, I tried to reconcile in my mind, our endless wars, with our symbolic legends, things like generals and bakers, in the context of myths like Adam and Eve, and Ganesh. So many names, so many people appearing and parading through my mind as I walked, that they did not fit in the memory, let alone in this brief recount.

To some topics, I devoted a little more reflection. For example, how was it that the great religions derived from teachers, who taught love and compassion, became instruments to dominate others? I would think also about the great difference between spirituality and religion, and the relative progress of human civilization. On how the reaction, to religious dogmatism and superstition, had led to the suppression of the spiritual vision of oneness, and intuition, through the quasi-religious adoption of an absolutely materialistic worldview. I also pondered, with concern, about current wars, pandemics, climate change, rampant consumption, economic inequality, superficiality, and political polarization, which apparently reign today on this planet, already crowded with so many people.

And wondered, how is it possible that in the hyper-connected world that we live in today, where the sustenance network of biological, economic, and spiritual life, has become so patently evident, the each one to his own dictum predominates, instead of love. That tribal consciousness prevails, alongside a materialistic worldview, even when we know that we are all in the same boat, and are aware today, more than ever, of the interconnection of everything.

I reflected, that the consensus of observations constituting the basis of scientific materialism, about things conceived in time and space, is that there is a unified field of the universe. We also are more aware of the silence of our interiority, and we have glimpses of the unitary nature of being, and of love as an organizational principle of all, that lies beyond words, concepts, and thought “in those planes of heart, which reason does not understand”, as Pascal said.

But by turning off intuition, by assuming that rationalism and the materialistic worldview are the only ways to conquer ignorance, we become surface sages and ignoramuses about our inner depths.

Life of course goes on inexorably, despite all the history being read and our opinions about it, beyond what one believes and does not believe, and well beyond the stories, we tell ourselves. I feel somehow that there is a truth, well beyond the whirlwind of mind, a deep love, that gives meaning to the world, from the bowels of atoms to the skirts of the farthest stars.

And I remembered my conversation in my teenage years, with a neighborhood friend. We talked about life, about what it was all about, about why, and how. Life separated us, and as we grew up, he went to study metamathematics in Europe, and biology in North America. We saw each other a few years later, and in a bar having a few beers, we returned to our philosophical conversations of youth, now equipped with more varied nomenclatures. And perhaps it was this conversation, with my dear friend now deceased, that led me to think during my walk, in the metamathematics of the one and the many. And speaking to myself, I was addressing him:

Let's say that existence is one, that it is only one. Well, that one has no borders, no limitations, one is a singularity. One is one.

But then, the most beautiful song that one can sing eternally drowns in its oneness. Because songs need an audience and a singer. Singing is an act of two, I told my mathematician friend in my mind, but there is only one.

And went on to tell him, *an artist's dream is to express colors and textures in imaginative combinations. But rainbows, to be seen, need the iris of the observer and the dance of colors. Art cannot be expressed in the oneness of the one. Art is an act of two. But there is only one.

Love is the most subtle essence, the substance of oneness, its very nature. Love is expressed through longing, searching and the happiness of reunion. But the one, being one, cannot be longed for, in its timeless oneness. Love has to flow through the romance between two, the lover and the beloved. But there is only one.* And I kept on presenting my theory, in my imaginary conversation with my friend who now lives only in my memory.

The other is the imagined possibility of one, realizing oneself, and expressing love. To listen to the concert of the song. To unfold and admire the colors of the canvas. The other is the reflection in the mirror, of the one. The reverberation of the other in many is the expression of the creativity and imagination of the one, who loses himself, in a game of hide and seek with its own being.

And so, every time one finds itself in the imagined others, a concert of light in consciousness resonates, without time, a dawn of love, music, and color.

The one is only one, the other, its reflection to love, and the innumerable multiples, the compassion to achieve, infinite and diverse moments of love. One and two and all their multiples are just one. One loves the other and everyone, all the time. You and I are the other, looking for the one in the many, but we are also the one, losing ourselves in the others, to long and yearn and let love flow.

I turned around returning from my evening walk, excited about my imaginary conversation. I summarized the metamathematical theory of the definition of the one, as equality with the many, (1=i1). Because the many are imaginary numbers of the one, which are lost in themselves to express the flow of love. Or as José Saramago once said, "God is the silence of the universe, and the human being, the cry that gives meaning to that silence."

And then I went on to think about my own personal life. This long and short walk of being me, which now is almost coming to an end, just like my night walk.

My mother's old hands came to mind. Subtle, fragile, healing, so wisely healing my unknown ailments. They dissolved into my skin. And they became housed in those secret niches of the heart, those little nooks, and crannies, where one keeps the golden chests, which store the beautiful moments spent in life.

She would tell me, "Son, from time to time, go to those niches of silence deep inside you, sit down, take a deep breath and open the chests, there all your interactions with others are going to resurface in their essence. So, you can review the lessons, and understand how beautiful each moment lived was, no matter if it was good or bad. Some were intense, others ephemeral, but they are the ingredients of who you are now. Treasure all your moments and relive them in the silence of your heart."

My mind, returned to the concerns about the present situation of the world, about this and that, and I heard an inner voice whisper to me:

The sun, in its tremendous explosions, emits caresses of light, which feed the leaves of distant plants. Chlorophyll molecules receive them excitedly with great tenderness. And in gratitude, they produce the food that sustains the hands of Da Vinci and the singing soul of Francis of Assisi. The violent tenderness of the relationship between the sun and chlorophyll makes life, beauty and love possible.

To my left, the first roofs of the houses of my neighborhood were now becoming visible. I looked again at the stars in the firmament, in their endless display, and thought, roofs protect us from inclement weather, but they hide the caresses of the stars. And sometimes, one needs to have a drink of stars, to cope with the loneliness of the heart. Sometimes, a few drinks of space with stars, helps us with the pain of waiting.

So, I searched for the handle of the ladle, formed by the stars of the Big Dipper, and poured myself a large drink of space bubbling with stars. Ah, the things that one can do, when that ceiling that delimits our mind and cages our heart is not there!

Let us continue, then, each our walk, writing our book of life, without roofs, in the open, with transparent wet pages, dotted with tears and laughter and bright stars, spilled from our last drink of space!

Abandon the everyday for a moment. Allow your senses and your body to expand, like a longed-for season Above the meadows, coasts, and the hills. Climb on the Roof. Make a new mark to measure your emotions and your love.

(Hafez Shirazi)