Thursday, January 13, 2011

Observing Mother Earth and Father Sky

I observe nature...I watch, I wait, I listen.

I observe the behavior of animals: birds and rabbits and squirrels; the behavior of insects: bees, butterflies, grasshoppers; the behavior of plants: trees, flowers, bushes; the way water flows over rocks, drips off of leaves, soaks into the soil.

I watch, I wait, I listen.

I watch how animals and plants are affected by the changing seasons, by the changing rhythms of the sun, of heat and light and moisture.

I wonder, could there be water without fire? Could there be water on earth without the sun? Could there be life at all without the sun? What life, if any, would exist on this planet without the sun? Without the sun, would not the world be in complete darkness, cold, silent, desolate, frozen?

Obviously when ice is melted it becomes water, and when it is boiled it evaporates into the air, and transforms from solid, to liquid, to gas. But is there ever a point of extreme cold where ice is transformed into something else entirely, or does ice always remain ice, no matter how cold it gets, until it is melted? In order for ice to melt there must be a source of heat, a source of fire, so, again I ask, could there be water on earth without the sun? I'm not a scientist, but I would have to say probably not. It seems that fire is necessary for there to be water, and water is necessary for plants, and plants are necessary for animals.

What is water? Hydrogen and oxygen. Oxygen is air. I looked up hydrogen, and you know what it said?

"Hydrogen is the simplest element known to man. Each atom of hydrogen has only one proton. It is also the most plentiful gas in the universe. Stars are made primarily of hydrogen. The sun is basically a giant ball of hydrogen and helium gases. In the sun's core, hydrogen atoms combine to form helium atoms. This process—called fusion—gives off radiant energy. This radiant energy sustains life on earth. It gives us light and makes plants grow. It makes the wind blow and rain fall. It is stored as chemical energy in fossil fuels. Most of the energy we use today came from the sun's radiant energy."

Again this goes back to primitive mythology - Mother Earth, Father Sky - in order for the earth to bring forth life, there must be light. It would not rain without the sun. Without the sun there would be no life on earth. The sun is the furnace that powers all life.

Besides the outer sun of our planetary solar system, there is also an internal sun within all individuals. Within each cell there is a sun, the cells nucleus. Fire... fire burns, fire heats, fire illuminates.

Within each individual human being is a universe, a galaxy, a solar system, a planet, and trillions of organisms which all depend on an internal sun as well. The cell's nucleus is like a sun, within each and every cell. The universe is composed of trillions of mini universes. Each human being is composed of a trillion mini universes. This is a riddle that is unfathomable to me.

Fire is the furnace of life. Fire, water, earth, air, spirit, chi/qi, prana, ether. Or according the Chinese Five Elements Theory, these elements, fire, water, earth, wood, metal, are actually considered movements. Perhaps these five movements are present in all of nature, in all physical forms, and are reflected in the human body, in mind and consciousness, emotions, and personality.

If we share a common chemistry with nature, are bound by the same laws, then by observing nature we can learn a great deal about ourselves and about the universe we live in. Not just physical sciences, but psychological and philosophical truths are also mirrored in the processes of nature. Nature is a great school, that is freely available to all, and denied to none but those who freely refuse it. All that is needed is your attention to calmly focus on what you see, observing the way water flows, how it flows, when it flows freely, when its flow is impeded. There is great wisdom to be found in the observation of all natural processes, from a spider spinning a web, an animal digging a hole, climbing a tree, the way bark peels off, the burning of leaves, the direction a flower grows, observing nature is the ultimate insight meditation.

Many people lack patience, lack the ability to sit still. You need patience to quietly sit still observing your suroundings. Not many people can sit for an hour looking at a leaf, or looking at the bark on a tree. This is the domain of the artist, the scientist, and the monk. If you are none of these things, or all of these things, or one of these things, you'll probably be labeled weird by most. The normal consensus reality opinion shared by most people who witness a person who does not appear to be an artist, staring at a rock or any other inanimate object, would typically conclude that this person is either on drugs or crazy.

You need to be calm, alert, relaxed, and patient. Hard to do if you're hopped up with artificial stimulants and junk food. Television and video games and cell phones and internet addiction and junk food and stimulants and artificial food additives, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, steroids and fluorides, exposure to pesticides and plastics, and other synthetic man-made poisons that you breath in, or get absorbed in your skin, or that you swallow in pill form.

I am fire, I am water, I am air, I am earth, I am spirit.

What is spirit? The invisible current of energy that animates life, that powers the interaction of the four elements. What is earth without spirit?

Have you every seen a dead body up close? Yes. My grandpa. And I've seen a few dead animals.

I saw my dog die before my eyes. I was in the same room with him when it happened. He was laying on the floor slowly being consumed from the inside. Suddenly he bolted up, like with a bolt of adrenaline, acting like he was choking, drowning in his bodily fluids, his energy seemed to evaporate before my eyes. You can see the eyes become lifeless. A dead body is like a lifeless doll. What makes life alive is not just the presence of earth: the presence of skin, flesh, blood and bone. What is the difference between a dead body and a living one? What is the dead body missing? What has left it?

It broke. What broke? The system collapsed? What was powering it? Fire is a furnace, but what powers the furnace, and what keeps it going? What kept the system in balance? What keeps fire, water, air, and earth in balance? The fifth element?

*I wonder about these things all the time, but sometimes it all seems like an unfathomable mystery to me, where questions only lead to more questions, with no definitive answers.

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