If we take seriously the concept that the universe is fractal for a moment, and we combine that with the idea that atoms are able to organize in four basic states of solids, liquids, gases, and energy, and able to change from one state to another depending on the situation, then we come to the conclusion that the universe itself can get together with other universes to organize in these states as well.
One way I’ve found to think about these states is by the kinds of relationships of the individual components.
In a solid, the elements are all connected to each-other, rigidly, as in a tetrahedron, so that no element is free to move independently of the other elements, and the whole mass generally stays in one place, relative to it’s environment, and when it does move, it moves in a mostly 1D line (straight from point A to point B). Solids don’t tend to combine with other kinds of masses in the environment.
In a liquid, the elements are only connected in a linear way, as in a string of beads, with only one or two connections for each element (depending on whether it is in the middle, with one connection on each side, or on the end, with only one connection on one side). This allows the whole mass to flow, wiggling around the environment in a mostly 2D plane. Liquids sometimes combine with other kinds of masses in the environment, and sometimes don’t.
In a gas, the elements aren’t usually connected, and are freely bumping into one another, interacting occasionally, but mostly not, as in balloons bouncing around a room. This allows the whole mass to move around in all directions and to spread out or contract in, to use the whole of the 3D environment. Gases more readily combine with other kinds of masses in the environment.
In pure energy, though, the elements aren’t even connected to themselves! There is no more inside vs. outside. There is no “whole mass” at all, but is instead a dissolved “element” that has spread out in 4D time, leaving just a wave of probability. Energy combines with mass in the environment not just easily, but rather aggressively so!
My initial guess is that our universe is part of a gas right now. Our galaxy seems to be a part of a gas, definitely, as it is still functioning as a part of the universe (the mass as a whole), and could interact with other galaxies at some point, but is mostly wandering around freely on it’s own within the universe. While our solar system seems to be more of an element in liquid, since we do seem to be fairly well connected to the other solar systems in the milky way, as we all flow around in more of a planar way.