Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Secret of Genius

Aldous Huxley was one of the great and open minds of the 20th century. When he died on November 22, 1963 at age 69, he left behind a legacy of having the 'secret of genius' of which he speaks here. It takes remarkable strength and resiliency to maintain that spirit of the child: the innocence, trust and wonder that animates the child's movements through his or her personal world as well as the more expansive outside world. Those characteristics are the reason for childlike enthusiasm.

Huston Smith wrote the following to honor the 25th anniversary of Aldous Huxley's death:
He loved the desert, he told me, for its symbolic power. Its emptiness emptied his mind. "The boundlessness of its sands [I paraphrase] spreads a mantle of sameness - hence unity - over the world's multiplicity in something of the way snow does. The nothingness to which the Deseret fathers were drawn is not a blank negation. It is a no-thing-ness in which everything is so interfused that divisions are transcended. Pure light contains all the frequencies of the rainbow, but undemarcated. The Void is the vacuum-plenum complex, grasped by its vacuum pole."             And Live Rejoicing, p. 161
May you always carry that spirit of the child within you!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Higgs Boson, part 4

"The Higgs field is like the air, or the water for fish in the sea; we don't usually notice it, but it's all around us, and without it life would be impossible. And it is literally "all around us"; unlike all the other fields of nature, the Higgs is nonzero even in empty space. As we move through the world, we are embedded in a background Higgs field, and it's the influence of that field on our particles that gives them their unique properties."
~ Sean Carroll, The Particle at the End of the Universe, p. 136
Wow! This statement explains, in part, why the media call the Higgs, the God Particle. First, it's a field, an expanse rather than one little speck. Second, and more significantly than we can imagine, it's everywhere. Like the air. Like the water for fish or shrimp or whales. Something all pervasive and without which everything we know and see and feel in the physical world would not exist. Not even us. It's not that we live within it, it's that without it, life as we know it, is not. Period.
Sounds like the New Testament's Acts 17:28 ~ 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' Which also comes from an older source: Epimenides' Cretica ~ "But you are not dead: you live and abide forever, for in you we live and move and have our being." Either way, commentaries about a deity, a god. Physicists may argue the term God Particle is not apt, yet for ordinary folk, it may be the only way to grasp the expanse of what the Higgs seems to be.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Playing Small, part 2

"There is no passion to be found in playing small ~ in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
~ Nelson Mandela

There's been some craziness going on in the ethers lately. At least that's what I've read. All I know is that I seem to have more physical energy than I have in the past; none of which is directing itself to writing or blogging. Yet... yet... when I sit down to write, words flow in a manner I love to experience. It's as though my system resonates with something greater than me.

When I think of that, when those moments of awake show up in my being, I recognize a much deeper truth regarding the concept of playing small. Nelson Mandela's quote sums it up quite nicely: there is no passion in it. We move forward without thinking, without being awake or aware, without feeling passion. Not that we aren't busy or chock full of emotions. Only that the passion, the zeal for life, isn't at the core of what we're doing. Days go by as though they are meant to be simple. One day we awaken to the thought that we've missed actually living a huge chunk of our lives.

I have friends who live their lives in the fast lane with lots of things happening: travel to exotic places, writing books or plays, making money hand over fist ~ or a variety of other things. Sometimes realizing their dreams, sometimes not. I find myself wondering if the fulfillment of our personal dreams is what we are intended to do. If so, what happens to those of us, those around us, who do not do this? Does that mean we are living small?

What does living small mean to you? Why?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

What Do You Have to Say?

Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer.
~~ Barbara Kingsolver
Consider that: What we have to say is the one and only thing we have to offer. Maybe that's true; maybe it's not. When we read comments such as this one, written by authors we may admire, our default position is generally to accept it as true, to believe those with famous names truly know something more than we do.

I take exception to the face-value of Kingsolver's statement. Face-value is that what we speak is what we have to offer. Really? Our words are important, that may be true, yet what is even more significant are our actions. What we choose to do, how we choose to express our lives in the world, how we choose to interact with others ~ these are our most vital and vibrant offerings to those around us.

What of our words? Those are important also. I recall an adage I heard in college: "Make your words sweet, for you may be required to eat them." It's not that we speak what others want to hear; it's that we speak our truths respecting that those around us have theirs as well ~ and there may be differences.

What do you think? What is the 'one and only thing you have to offer' those around you?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Saturn's Moons ~ Mimas & Pandora

Saturn moons Mimas & Pandora taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft.
What a spectacle: Images of the moons of Saturn as well as its rings! How distant this truly is ~ approximately 830.1 million miles! ~ yet how immediate and intimate it appears.

Mimas, the larger of the two and having a visible crater on its right side, was first seen in 1789 by William Herschel. Over 200 years ago, this moon was 'discovered' with a 40-foot telescope. Today, this image comes to us across the span of space from an unmanned craft. More of those enchanting distinctions.

As I reflect on this, I am thoroughly fascinated by the span and intimacy of All That Is. Looking at this image strikes me dumb with awe. Love. Fascination. Awe. Hope. Power. Spaciousness. Vast. Spectacular. So many words flow through my mind. None of them enough. What do you think?