A Sanctifying Embrace

Young one of many
Lie in the wind
Bow down at the feet of your Maker
Humbled by His raining grace
To drown is to bathe
A sanctifying embrace

Now sprouting sage
Wizened inside
Rise only to the perfect Light
Keep your blossom safe
As a baby in a womb
Pacify thy fight

From patient sleep
Purity arisen
Unfurl your wings and bring the Dawn
Veins are green yet water tight
By day break free
Into white Light

Your cherry infant
Royal bloom
White Light of Spring she glistens
Beautifully singing a single song:
He shall come, He shall conquer
He’s arisen

Theology and Modern Physics, and me.

“Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable.”
-Einstein

See, I think a problem that needs to be addressed concerning me and any religion getting along is that I have a lot of theoretical physicists’ point of view on things to meander through. I spent a lot of time researching and understanding theoretical and quantum physics on my own in college, for no reason other than it was interesting, and also researching some of their theological views. Take Einstein’s quote above from above. One would think, “Oh! Einstein was religious!” Here is a follow up quote from that same interview:

“I believe in Spinoza’s God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”

Until now I’ve let these theoretical physicists’ views coincide and sometimes overrule my own thoughts but I really need to step up and make my own interpretations.

You know that Einstein, even if you’re only vaguely familiar with his work, was a god of physics. If you aren’t really familiar just go wikipedia general relativity, or special relativity, it will blow your mind (and don’t bother with the equations haha just go for conceptual understanding) and really make you appreciate the complexity of the world, do yourself a favor. So with that said, it’s hard not to really, really, respect what he says about things.

What one needs to remember though is that he was a theoretical physicist. He spent his days laboring at a desk and chalkboard, talking to like-minded colleagues, thinking of abstract mathematical equations. With his talents for mathematics and physics, his brain probably spent little time considering the human condition. When he did consider such things, he was able to put it into words beautifully but the physicist in him cannot be hidden away, it seeps out of his every metaphor:

“An hour sitting with a pretty girl on a park bench passes like a minute, but a minute sitting on a hot stove seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”

and

“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”

So I guess my point is…what is responsible for people falling in love? Einstein didn’t have an answer for that. Sure, cite neurochemicals and genetics and environmental influences, you can do that. The complexities associated with those factors are beyond human comprehension, however. The interplay between those things for any one individual is about as complicated as the galaxy (?universe, hm), seriously. We can model it all with sociology and psychology but it will never explain the human beings that fall through the cracks. Those methods will never explain anything other than “the average.” Who is average? No one is actually “the average.”

Anyway, I’m getting offtrack. Einstein, and many theoretical physicists, and many dedicated scientists in general, did not, do not, have healthy social or family lives for the most part. They exist in their own worldview that they have constructed to make themselves comfortable. For them. Not for all of humanity. Physics is for all of humanity, physicists’ world views are not.

Back to the first quote at the top of the page – doesn’t the mysterious and sometimes ridiculous uniqueness of every human being fall under “secrets of nature”? I don’t know what inexplicable things Einstein was talking about; perhaps it was the curvature of space-time, or the fact that our universe is expanding into…nothing, or that light is both a particle and a wave and just to make things crazier does not experience time, or maybe he was just describing the beauty of the cosmos. There is no real explanation for any of those things. They are just parts of the universe. Just like there is no explanation for fate. It’s just part of life.

It is to these things that I can submit myself to a Higher Power. There is no science behind the path you choose in life. There never will be. That’s what spirituality is for.

Logic and reason break down when there is no science to be applied. This is really hard to accept sometimes for me…because they rule so, SO prominently in many other areas of life that I am somewhat well-versed in. It’s quite a disconnect, it’s a jarring disconnect between the modern world and the intangible world. It’s tough to swallow sometimes…tough to keep them apart.

Anyway, I’m glad I kinda got this cleared up. I want to get in the habit of writing my thoughts down because I feel like I get more out of them this way. This way, I have to FOCUS for an extended period of time on one subject in order to explore it in a brief essay, and it’s meditative in a sense. This way the thoughts are not fleeting, my mind does not wander as easily, and it makes me confront myself head on.

What’s in your hand?

I just watched Rick Warren’s TED Talk and it really inspired me to write something about it. I’ve been quite a little bit of a mess recently. Got a big move coming up. I’m directionless for the most part. It can be a good thing and scary thing to be directionless. On the one hand I’m open-minded, but it’s hard to have hope without any direction to look for it in. And life is all about hope.

One of the most touching parts of the talk for me is when Mr. Warren quotes this bible passage, one where Moses is having doubts about his purpose in life (leading people to God):

…the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,” he replied.
The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.
Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand, and take it by the tail.”
So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake, and it turned back into a staff in his hand.

Pushing aside the fact that Moses picked up a live snake, and trying not to focus on how badass that actually is: The point of this was to show Moses his own power and show that if he didn’t use it, that wouldn’t be in his best interest because that live snake could kill someone, perhaps even him. His shepherding staff symbolized his ability to lead, as any good shepherd should, and God wanted him to know that he needed to use this talent of his because it was God-given.

Recently I’ve been talking about a big career change. I’ve been thinking about how dense I was, how much of an idiot I was, for going to a four year school and studying Biochemistry just so a year after graduation I could turn my back on it. But have I really seen what else those 4 years can get me? I didn’t like basic research, I don’t really find academia to be a very stimulating environment. It’s quite drab, it drones on, it changes at a snails pace, it’s frustrating.

So that story made me realize that I need to start using my talents. I need to stop waiting for things to just come along and start using my damn talents. I wasn’t happy being a scientist, but I love science and soccer. I love learning. That’s who I am, it’s who I’ve been my entire life, like it, or not. I think I love helping people out too. Maybe I can show other people how to love science, maybe some kid will grow up and love science and save the world because I helped show him how cool it could be. I doubt that, due to basic knowledge of statistics and an intuitive doubt of the possibility that one man even CAN save the world, but I have no idea. No idea. What I do have an idea about is that if I just let the world pass me by, I’m going to have no idea still. I’m still going to be unhappy too. Unfulfilled.

So I went and signed up for Teachers Without Borders on their website, hopefully I can find something. It’s a start, the wheels are turning. I’m not a certified teacher, but I want to travel and get to know other cultures and I know things about science, mainly intricacies of life on the cellular level, intricacies that many people cannot even imagine exist.

In related news, I almost drifted back off into atheism over the last week or so. When I do it’s always my logical side that gets to me. It was just making more sense than Christianity was. It probably always will in some respects. I like to think I have a very well constructed logical mind. I can’t always get that logic out on paper or into words, but it’s there. It’s deeply ingrained into my thinking patterns. Choosing to be a Christian I see as an illogical thing. There are so many other religions in the world to choose from, and many of them have merit (Eastern thinking +++). I see merit in anything for the betterment of man on an individual and societal level. Do I really have to believe in a certain set of teachings? Can I just believe in the betterment of man? That’s a humanistic perspective on spirituality I suppose. It’s hard to just choose one and wholeheartedly follow it when all of this other stuff is so appealing and yet still very good for people.

So I guess all of the things don’t fit together for me with Christianity. Yet. And I say yet because I hope they will. Before tonight when Obama chose Rick Warren to give an invocation at the inauguration on Jan. 20th I would have never thought to watch him on TED and I sure as hell wouldn’t have ever read his book. Too cliche and all that. After watching this talk I see he’s a really good guy and I might should try and find that book. As much as I think I have things figured out sometimes and as dreary an outlook as I occasionally may have, life always surprises me. These are the moments, the moments of fresh surprises in life that I absolutely devour, where I swear I can almost see God’s hand at work.

You see…if I wasn’t so depressed last week, wasn’t yearning for something new to help me out of the rut, I’m almost certain this talk would not have impacted me. I may not have even watched it. Come to think of it, I almost turned it off a minute in once I realized who exactly Rick Warren was (I’d heard of his book, and his Megachurches).

But I didn’t, I just didn’t. And I learned something powerful that is going to shape my life from it. Is that just chance? Am I just making a big deal out of it because us humans like good stories? Or is that what He wanted?

The devil’s advocate is in me, I’m not sure it’s the devil, it could be, but he’s in me and he says…it’s just human nature. It’s human nature to take the easy way out so of course you will. The easy way out is taking that Biochemistry degree that you really don’t think interests you very much and running with it some more. Go teach.

What if I feel like I don’t like Biochemistry and basic science for valid reasons? What if I really do need a career change? Moses’ story tells me that is not what God would want for me. How do I even know what my talents are? I’m so talented…I can do anything. That’s what my parents say. I really believe I could do so many things, but they all take work and I have no direction to choose except the easiest one. So, back where I started? Yes. Life is frustrating as shit.

Ah, but I guess I should take into account my mood. When I wrote those last two paragraphs it was very frustrating, it was me regressing back into my past, depressed state of mind. I could feel it happening. It felt childish, it looks childish now.

I was happy to decide on a new course of action. I was happy before I sunk into that state of mind. I’m back in the other state of mind now, the Moses story state of mind. It’s better here.

Human minds are fickle and nobody ever has any solid answers.

Haiku Relief Effort

Seasonal Queens
______

Oh grainy wood-lorn
Flower, matriarchal bloom,
Come back to me soon.

Indifference’s Asunder
______

My sullen breezy
Temper rises up but smites
No one. Good or bad?

Broken Birds Always Stay
______

Circular paths house
One-winged birds. Amnesia av-
-iary, alone.

It’s a chemical embrace that kicks you in the head.

So for a couple of days I was depressed and I wrote this but didn’t want to express my fragility publicly but I’m doing pretty good now so F it this is my blog and a journal of sorts and it’s going up. voila

My computer hums at me.  The dishes pile. The coffee is sour. My feet are cold and I am directionless. I have no bread. My stomach aches after lentils and butter. The room is not cozy. This place is no sanctuary. Motivation eludes me. Excuses own me. I read until I can do nothing else but sleep. I sleep until I physically hurt from being in bed too long. My job is mundane and I avoid it. I know this is unhealthy. I don’t even want to listen to music. I cannot follow a plot. I forgot to pay the parking ticket again. I haven’t brushed my teeth in over 24 hours. I am a slave to the computer and it makes me check things on it. It beckons to me even when it is off, such a power it holds over me. Even when the hum is off, I imagine the hum. The hum is calling me to check things.  New things are happening all of the time and I’m missing them.  And they don’t involve me.  Too much information is bad for me.  I am fragmentary.  I am leaving in 15 days. I have nowhere to go. I have everywhere to go. I am directionless. I have bought no Christmas presents. Christmas is coming too soon. Bad timing. I am owned by excuses. The days are too short to do anything, and I am owned.  The police sirens and the train horns are really annoying.  The trains sound like dying, angry, whales.  They are damn annoying.  They shouldn’t honk.  I can save me from anything but myself.  When no challenge confronts me I create the illusion necessary to fulfill that need.  It is always the same illusion, but seemingly darker every time.

I’ve been in this illusion many a time, stuck. Had a vacation to the illusion in High School for a month or two, in college for God knows how long, and I can’t remember the last time before this but I’m sure it happened.  I think I am always a different person when I go into the illusion than I am when I come out. And I can’t remember the way out, but I am pretty optimistic that if I just keep wondering and wandering I’ll come out. I like to think I’m somehow stronger when I come out, but I don’t know if that is true. I don’t know if it’s true because this is just an illusory attempt at hardship.  Real hardship makes people stronger, how about 21st century illusory hardship?  Some of that middle-class, white collar, hardship.  I just don’t know.  Also, just incase this little note hasn’t brought you deep enough into my psyche, I unfortunately don’t really become disillusioned into becoming ridiculously happy and driven – then I suppose I would be labeled a manic. Nope. I just go from a deep pit to fairly nice plains to perhaps some rolling hills that always meet with the plains and go on out to a plateau (very boring) that ends on a cliff which leads down to a Marianas-esque trench (wee!).

Happy Holidays.

All true

Over milk and porridge a young child sings
Falsetto Bre’r Rabbit Songs of the South
Not a thing was wrong in this little lad’s world
Except he’d never laid lips on a girl

There are lost souls on the sidewalk, hidden in the cracks
He’s taken some strides he’d wish to have back
Head down, eyes glazed, not a care in the world
Except those beautiful kids, that job, and that girl

Carousel career-woman, she swore they’d have it all
Hectic spinning worlds don’t pause for mere reflection
So she’d summon up an ego just gazing in a pond’s direction
With no penitence for those who’d drowned

Over grizzled wood grains hangs a respite ghostly glory
Commanding everyone in the room
Then a languid priest shuffles his cramped feet
And that glory, the man, escapes through the chimney flue

I’m Proud Today

You slide down at the ego depot.
Emerge
From hiding in a cobwebbed corner.
Spidery,
Voice, trapping, pristine your
Smile.
A web of kindness, yet you’re all alone.
Recluse
From the old ones who bore you to death.
Life
They once gave you, life to start you
Anew.
While simul-tiring your wild, random,
Mind,
With old news, old views, stale and
Lifeless.

But I’m a liar except in certain parks,

And you aren’t a selfish spider,

You’re just a flighty lark.

Every time you fly away,
It’s just to find prey.

It’ll never be soul-less aviation,
Lacking the courage for deviation.

I’ll be proud of that someday,
Until then, stay.

Blindsided [Bon Iver found poem]

Can’t you find a clue?
Solace, my game, will mark you
For me now.
My feet melt the snow,
There’s a pull to the flow.

I told you be patient
At the end of all your lines.
Who will love you?

Was a long visit wrong?
So many foreign worlds to reform.
My love was down.
With everything that happens
From now on, forgoe the apropos.

For the irony I’d rather
Rush out for you now, blindsided.
Who will love you?

Only love is all maroon.
Sky is a womb and she’s the moon
All at once,
Or so the story goes.
So balance we won’t know.

All my love is down.
Your love will be safe with me.

Where you forget to exist, your soul remembers to live

The Suns and the seasons, they tell time true,
Hiding not one cosmic thought,
Leaves turn to fall and grass grows to burn,
Our world, it always turns.

So throw away all of your wind-up clocks,
They’re man-made and abstract, perils to thoughts.

With time out of sight, bring forth your mind,
And the minute hand, it stops.

Upon sweet surrender, find your lively place,
Where atomic ticks make no audible tocks.
Where you forget to exist, your soul remembers to live,
And it’s there you’ll wear a timeless face.

Lament, by Joseph Knecht, by Hermann Hesse

No permanence is ours; we are a wave
That flows to fit whatever form it finds:
Through day or night, cathedral or the cave
We pass forever, craving form that binds.

Mold after mold we fill and never rest,
We find no home where joy or grief runs deep.
We move, we are the everlasting guest.
No field nor plow is ours; we do not reap.

What God would make of us remains unknown:
He plays; we are the clay to his desire.
Plastic and mute, we neither laugh nor groan;
He kneads, but never gives us to the fire.

To stiffen to stone, to persevere!
We long forever for the right to stay.
But all that ever stays with us is fear,
And we shall never rest upon our way.

This is in “The Poems of Knecht’s Student Years,” a chapter at the end of The Glass Bead Game, by Hermann Hesse.  It rang true with me in many ways, literal and figurative.

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