Welcome to this week’s wisdom for the Inner and Outer You.
Hello wisdom and adventure seekers! After a nice long walk in the forest this past Easter weekend I’m convinced that Spring is just around the corner. I determined this from the small little buds I saw on many of the bushes were otherwise bare. It won’t be long now and nature here in Canada will awake out of her long winter slumber and grace us once again with her amazing beauty! The question is will you notice? When will you notice? Too many times we don’t notice the amazing things happening all around us and inside of us and I think this is a tremendous loss. You can read more about what I think in this week’s blog article below.
As a reminder the next Morning Meditation I will lead will take place on Saturday April 13th.
Please enjoy this week’s article.
Are You Curious or Comfortably Numb?
By Terry Hodgkinson
Right now the earth is spinning on its axis at the speed of 1675 km/h or 465 meters/second. That’s 1040 miles/hour. Just think, for every second, we are moving almost half a kilometer through space and we don’t even feel it. Why don’t we feel it, you ask? Due to a sticky phenomenon called gravity. Okay maybe it’s not sticky like glue, but it shares the same commonality of adhesiveness and this is why we don’t go flying off into outer space!
The interesting part of all this is not that it’s happening, because most of us know this through the basic science education we were taught in schools, rather what I find amusing is that it’s hardly a thought most will entertain amongst the plethora of mundane thoughts moving through our minds every day. It seems that all too often, unless something is creating an acute sense of pain or pleasure in our life, we will not pay any attention it. Instead we drift along with the tides that direct our daily life. Things like work, our families, sports games, our social interests on the internet, looking forward to that vacation, etc. Not that there is anything wrong with this; actually it’s quite normal. Yet sometimes life becomes so set in place, so routine we tend to lose our awareness of what else might be happening around us in our neighbourhood, city, country, continent, world and cosmos.
I remember reading an article regarding the evolution of our modern day calendar, how we keep track of the days and months that make up the year. The calendar we use today is called the Gregorian calendar. Before it was adopted we used what was known as the Julian calendar. It seems the Julian calendar worked for a great many years. It was admirably close to the actual length of the year but it was not so perfect because over the centuries it slowly shifted off track.
Upon further reading I learned that Catholic monks, who had the most time of anyone centuries ago for the pursuit of scholarly discoveries were actually discouraged from thinking about the issue of “secular time” for any reason beyond figuring out when to observe Easter. You see in the Middle Ages, the study of the measure of time was more less condemned and viewed as prying too deeply into God’s own affairs.
By the year 1582, Caesar’s calendar had drifted a full 10 days off course and Pope Gregory XIII (1502 – 1585) finally reformed the Julian calendar. What created the change finally wasn’t that the Pope woke up one day and said, you know I should really do something about that outdated calendar, but rather he buckled under the weight of the scientific reasoning that continued to point out the error over and over again. While the new as we know it today calendar was not accepted by all right away, it was adopted uniformly across Europe in the 18th century. Once again we see an example of how the old calendar would have remained in place perhaps for another few hundred years, had there not had been unrelenting pressure for change!
The Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) never agreed with the theory that the earth was the centre of the universe, yet he never publicly announced his views until he was old. Back then anyone who opposed Church doctrine was branded a heretic, and that would destroy your reputation, put you in prison, or even sentence you to death. Many people believe that Copernicus was not the first to discover heliocentric or better known as a sun-centered system, but he was merely the first modern person (of that time frame) to advance it. As far back as 9th-8th century BC in the east there was mention of the Sun and not the Earth being at the centre of the solar system. It was the Indian sage Yajnavalkya, who believed that the Sun was “the centre of the spheres” and wrote in a sacred Hindu text (Shatapatha Brahmana: 18.104.22.168):
“The sun strings these worlds – the earth, the planets, the atmosphere – to himself on a thread.”
I often wonder how he came up with this discovery back then, as there certainly was not much in the way of scientific instruments around, not even the most basic of telescopes. Could it have been the meditation he practiced and insights born of this that shed light on our solar system and perhaps the entire universe? I can’t confirm this but my intuition says so.
Most of you know I’m a huge proponent of contemplative and meditative practices in daily lives and that I have personally benefited and witnessed hundreds of others doing so as well. When we get stuck in our routines, which is not hard to do, we need something to help lift the blinders we may be wearing that keep us feeling like that race horse running down the track heading for the finish line, “comfortably numb” to everything else around him/her. For many people this is fine, wearing blinders or being in a state of comfortably numb helps keep them focussed on their daily routine with little or no distractions. For me, you could say that I’ve always had a bad case of the wonders: I’ve always been curious as to what lies outside my comfort zone and pursued it. Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity was “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
I think scientists and meditators have a lot in common. Through a certain way of thinking (or not thinking) they intend to open their mind to the creative forces of the universe without holding prejudice. In other words they are always looking for deeper meaning or truth behind what lies most apparent and thus different possibilities or greater alternatives. Scientists and meditators haven’t always fit in with the status quo and quite often have been looked upon as being on the fringe of society. I think in our modern day much of that perception has changed for both peoples. The majority of people have come to appreciate and respect both what science and meditation has been able to do for the human condition.
When I reflect on the basic similarity of what scientists and regular meditators share, it’s their appreciation for the quality of wonder of this thing we call existence or life. I know when I ponder the thought that the earth is rotating at 1675 km/h, or that the earth hurtling through space around the sun at a speed of 107,300 km/h (or if you prefer 67,062 miles per hour) That’s about 1000 times faster than the speeds we go at on a highway! When I think about these marvels I have to wonder what other amazing things are happening or exist that I might not be aware of? I mean, come on, we live in an incredible day and age where anything is truly possible. Instead of racing to the finish line with blinders on, what if we were to stop, take a break and look around a little, maybe ask questions about alternative ways we understand the things in our life. Think about it for a minute: if your life calendar is off by 10 days, why wait until something comes banging into you with a whole lot of pressure to do something about it? You can be what’s called pro-active and at the first hint or gut feeling that something needs attention simply put your scientific (contemplative) mind to use and then take some time to meditate and allow for alternative ways to address the issues or things in your life. I promise you, it’s not that hard. You might just surprise yourself in regards to what you discover and then watch out…you will be hooked just like me on the rewards begot by having a naturally inquisitive mind. I challenge you to do something different. If you have attitude about it, like saying “you don’t know anything different” or “no way, that’s not for me” then perhaps this is the first thing you should contemplate and meditate upon. Be like the snake that sheds its old skin in favour of wearing a new one or the caterpillar’s metamorphosis into the butterfly, not realizing at that crawling stage that it would soon see things from a completely different vantage point. Whenever you get stuck in old, limiting ways of thinking, or come to the realization that you have been feeling comfortably numb for a while, simply ponder on the marvels that have been discovered in the past, some of them mentioned in this article and thousands of more that haven’t been. Focus on what keeps you inspired and let that energy be your guiding light. Namaste.
Quote for the week:
“Everybody knows what a caterpillar is, and it doesn’t look anything like a butterfly.”
– Lynn Margulis