ON THE BACK OF THOUGHT


I start on this mystical journey shrouded in a hazy, milky way, which lends an otherworldly quality to every sensation that assails me. Experience is everything, leaving me gasping for breath and yearning for more. I’m fully immersed in the atmosphere, taking in every little detail around me. The slightest nuances of infancy, the ever-changing mood swings, the innocent movements, and the sounds that marked those earliest days. I am a tiny, fragile vessel of energy, entirely dependent on and shaped by those who came before me. From fiery rage to radiant bliss and everything in between, these encounters left an indelible mark on my psyche. The more intense the experience, the more I grew in strength and resilience, shaping me into the person I am today.

Details may be fuzzy, but feelings are vivid.

There’s pressure.

We can assume we’re guilty before proven innocent. But when we open our senses to this world for the first time, one thing’s sure: we come with a clean slate, free from preconceived notions or conflicting ideas.

There’s a vague sensation of snuggling into my mother’s breast.

That impulse to survive.

When those close to us show care and concern for us, kindness ripples through our emotional landscape, leaving a trail of warmth and gratitude. In those moments, we glimpse the interconnectedness of our lives, an invisible yet palpable thread that holds us to one another.

A “newborn’s birth” can evoke a tender feeling that renders even the hardest of hearts speechless. Observing a baby’s striking resemblance to its parents can be a moment of wonder where the mother, child, and those present share a discernible silence.

When a person we depend on unexpectedly hits a bum note, our instinctive reactions are often quick and unfiltered, exacerbating a turbulence within. However, there are times when a familiar face or newfound friend steps in, and their presence shifts the underlying currents. We navigate another’s misgivings and assurances. Their words, like compass points, guide us toward clarity.

Captured by tension in the atmosphere, we begin to take heed of the Titans (influential or powerful figures) who stand before us.

Someone with greater expertise may try to clarify and explain what it means to belong in this Earthly realm. There are myriad questions about something we know little or nothing about. School, church, money, college, a career and so on, cajoling, enticing us toward a special place, by and by the keeper’s store gleams a star-studded throne.

Truth of our reality collapses, crashing in around us.

Buried in some heartfelt downtime, prompted by the reflection, we evaluate our feelings, retrace our steps. As the memory of what’s occurred lands a jolt to our gut, we may feel we’re at fault. Maybe we should try and make a difference, change things, come up with a plan that will make our elders proud. In this delicate dance, a conscience emerges—a quiet companion, wisdom, increasingly nudging us toward integrated interplay—companionship, care, emotions, and introspection that begins to shape our perceptions and dreams.

Something’s amiss.

I avoid anything I cannot concretely measure or define, afraid of exposing weakness or insecurity.

I stumbled upon an old photo of us when we were small, standing by the larder in the kitchen. Our bewildered smiles and uncertain gazes made me want to reach out and give those two a big, comforting hug.

It feels like such a long time ago.

Nostalgia may suggest a yearning to connect with a more specific, stable version of ourselves. But perhaps it’s more than that—a deep, instinctual yearning, a primal sense of separation? We spent so much time outside. Playing was a call to unite every part of our physical existence with worlds far beyond our own.

We were that, and now we are this. How could we have veered such a long way off?

It could have been that stranger running after us to give us something important we’ve dropped or an intense argument with a loved one that tugs at our heartstrings. From being cherished to neglected, a myriad of feelings encountered shapes our path and how we interact with each other. Each experience, whether it’s a stranger’s unexpected kindness or the complex dynamics of family relationships, contributes to the tapestry of our lives.

It’s significant how these experiences, especially in childhood, can set the foundation for our thought patterns and behaviours later in life. The validation we receive—or don’t receive—drives our actions and influences our decisions. It’s a continuous process of learning and adapting, where emotions serve as reactive and responsive actions. Do we react or respond?

We can have untold love in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean we trust each other.

Family, friends, teachers, and even pets determine which school is right or wrong, what subjects are best, and which university… and often dictate a career path. But an intuitive weight at the bottom of our stomach will tell when something we’ve done is or isn’t out of whack.

While hieroglyphs and equations spin about the classroom, we learn to placate morals, accept principles, realise vendettas, make laws, approve planning, and uphold beliefs with those around us.

Revenge is mean.

We identify and label individuals with different rhythms and cadences as having special needs. Instead of leveraging their unique strengths, the mainstream approach is to fix them. Phrases like “it’s for your own good” or “we want the best for you” can pressure us to conform to what others want rather than inspire us with something we’re drawn toward intuitively. While the outside world continues to beckon us to play, this well-meant indoctrination shapes us into individuals who believe that performance and success are the ultimate reasons to live. And the trouble is, while we’re constantly seeking to balance incentives and consequences, we lose all sense of a pulse.

It seems the hunter-gatherer persists in this age of AI and expansionism.

It’s a rig, an age-old story, not a cliché.

The trial reached a verdict before the child arrived. Each person involved in the case had a specific aim and expectation, perhaps hoping for justice, compensation, or retribution for what they see as their own failings. However, as time passed, the case dragged on, and the child’s importance faded like a thinning fog. This led to feelings of panic and fear as the child’s fate hung in the balance.

It doesn’t take long before we’ve lost sight of the thing that keeps the brain in place. In our all-pervasive race to be the best in our class, we swap out our bodies for the terms of how good or bad we are on paper.

The sapling, reaching skyward, mirrors our own quest for stability. Its roots, entwined with the Earth, echo our connection to existence. As we grow in knowledge and stature, these traits intensify. Yet, unlike our arboreal companions, our bodies, our beingness unwittingly curtails to the weight of the mind; aspirations that create a nagging ache of disconnection, a separation that permeates our existence.

How could we have known? None of us are born with an agenda, yet we’re soon made to feel fraudulent without one. We’re told that knowledge is a rubric, the engine of our lives, something we must attain to fulfil purpose and meaning.

Once the legalities were done, guardianship was no longer considered valid or valuable. Tossed aside like an old toy, with little support or guidance, the young adult now faced a daily existence that felt more like a prison sentence than a life worth living. The weight of their experiences and the uncertainty of their future loomed heavy, leaving them struggling to find sense in a world without purpose and belonging.

At the heart of our existence, there may reside a singular affirmation, a quiet ember that ignites a delicate feeling of belonging—a rhythmic pulse of life that defies the shackles of the past. Our intricate and woven bodies remain tethered to the cosmic mainframe, yet often, they stay unattuned to its subtle frequencies. With its twists and crescendos, the grand theatre of life can abruptly shift our gaze, nudging us away from the fullness of being alive.

Whether we’re found wanting, starving, or a dependent who wants independence, we run a gamut of emotions, taking a step to get somewhere else, only to find that fortune has no easy answers.

Our fascination with the struggles and challenges faced by famous artists, politicians, and other public figures is not for nothing. We’re relieved to see that despite their wealth and fame they still encounter difficulties and strive for balance, in the same way we do.

I grapple with core beliefs in this enigmatic dance—those silent whispers that shape our reality. I’m certainly not alone. Four such beliefs echo through too many of us:

1) “I’m not good enough.” This refrain, often veiled in shadows, sabotages our aspirations. It whispers that we are undeserving. We shrink from opportunities, settling for less than we deserve.

2) “The world is not safe for me.” Fear clings to this belief, casting shadows on our adventures. It may manifest as specific phobias or a reluctance to step beyond our comfort zone.

3) “I am powerless.” This belief binds us, rendering personal growth elusive. We attend seminars, devour self-help books, yet falter in applying transformative knowledge. Responsibility slips through our fingers, replaced by blame.

4) “Love and relationships equal pain.” Unseen, this belief shapes our connections. It draws us toward tumultuous unions or keeps us isolated, fearing the heartache that love might bring.

These beliefs underpin our reality and colour our choices and experiences. To rewrite our story, we must delve into the depths, unearth these silent scripts, and replace them with empowering thoughts.

Beneath life’s surface currents ripples waves of whispers that shape our journey.

Consciously
subconsciously
direct
indirect
quick
quick
slow,
anywhere between the fires of hell to a garden of celestial delights… mirrored images, a harrowed missive, tumble and fall into an open heart.

Through a series of actions and reactions, regardless of our place in the scale of social acceptance, everyone involved sets our aims in motion.

How to handle failed love and obvious fear of punishment?

Block it out, blow it up, or let it go.

You got a job!

Embrace the calm and seize the opportunity. Let’s hope and pray you don’t blow a gasket before reaching the motherlode.

Kickback and liftoff. All systems go.

Now you’re in uncharted waters.

Time out, you lick your wounds, run faster, stand still, ponder the headlights, hide in the sand, or relish the encounter; either way, associating words with mood swings and feelings, you adapt, engage, and work out where you’ll stand or fall in subsequent encounters.

Eager to please, subzero esteem? With no disrespect to the company, sometimes the only place for a frazzled brain is time out on the throne in the bathroom.

Unbeknownst to the wanderer, this was the perfect place to begin.

At the core of our planet lies a solid sphere of iron and nickel, measuring 759 miles in width and reaching temperatures of up to 9,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Surrounding this inner core is the outer core, a thick band of fluids made of iron and nickel extending 1,400 miles. Further out is the mantle, a layer of molten rock around 1,800 miles thick, serving as a base for the Earth’s outer layer, the crust. The thinner oceanic crust averages five miles thick, while the thicker continental land crust is between 20 to 30 miles. If we likened Earth to an apple, its crust would be no thicker than the fruit’s skin!

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and is on the outer edge of a minor spiral arm known as the Orion Arm, Orion-Spur, or Orion-Cygnus Arm. This arm is roughly 26,000 light-years away from the centre of the Milky Way galaxy, where astronomers have discovered stars that are almost 13.6 billion years old.

Space constantly corresponds to objects throughout our solar system, making it ever-changing and dynamic. Our solar system is like a delicate web of gravitational filaments, tracing the most straightforward trajectory through spacetime’s curvature. A monumental manipulation of energies keeps our planet and us in a precise orbit around the Sun. This intricate dance between the celestial bodies is a testament to the remarkable power of that which seems void: space.

When seen from outer space, Earth appears like a gleaming pearl amidst an endless backdrop of darkness, glistening with the faint light of countless stars. The closest and brightest of these stars is our Sun, approximately 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000 km) from Earth.

Proxima Centauri, the next closest star, is a tiny speck 4.3 light-years away from us, roughly 25,300,000,000,000 miles (about 39,900,000,000,000 kilometres).

In contrast to Earth’s 365-day year, Pluto, the furthest planet (dwarf) from the sun, with its five known moons, takes approximately 248 years to complete a single orbit around the Sun.

Of the planets, Venus comes closest to Earth every 584 days, approximately 25 million miles (40 million km), though it can reach as close as 24 million miles (38 million km). Mercury comes in at around 57 million miles (91.7 million km), and Mars is 48.6 million miles (78.3 million km) away from Earth. Because of its nearness to the Sun Mercury has the shortest year (a revolution period of 88 days). Mercury is an average distance of 48 million miles (77 million km) from Earth.

As we ponder how far we are from these celestial bodies in our solar system, we may find ourselves overcome with a sense of our own insignificance. Just like Alice, after drinking the shrinking potion, we may feel small and powerless in the face of immensity. Nonetheless, an alternate viewpoint exists. If we take the other potion, from a twinkle in the baby’s eye to a supercluster of galaxies, we can sense the energy that defines every object in the universe.

The juxtaposition of the vast and the tiny, the external and the internal, is challenging, even for the most ardent scientists. This stark contrast might compel us to fall back into what we understand, seeking solace in the familiar. Yet, what if our connection to every facet of life is something we feel? What if our being is a link that validates us as part of an entity far more significant than ourselves, that in the same breath is ourselves?

Compared to the trillions of years it took for Earth to become a suitable place for intelligent, great apes with features such as hairlessness, bipedalism, and high intelligence to live, our lifetime is a glimpse, a fleeting sense bound by abundant spirit energy—the one true constant since the beginning.

~

The strength of the gravitational force between two objects depends on their mass and the distance separating them.

That’s you and me.

Please don’t leave it too late.

Because of their colossal size and proximity, our Sun and the Moon exert enormous gravitational influence on Earth. This force of attraction most notably handles the pull and push of water on Earth. Earth is an unparalleled marvel among the countless celestial bodies scattered throughout our vast solar system. The complex interplay of its geology, atmosphere, and climate has fostered ideal conditions on Earth for us to become embodied. The presence of drinkable water, a stable atmosphere, and a suitable distance from the Sun have allowed life to flourish and develop over billions of years. The rarity of life as perceived on a cosmic scale could amplify the notion of Earth as a singular sanctuary amidst a hostile universe.

Many astronauts travelling into space thousands of miles from Earth have bestowed mind-blowing insights into our lives. From their life-changing perspective, we understand the importance of caring for our planet, our one true home, and appreciate the intricacy of the cosmos and the delicate balance of nature that sustains life here.

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, look at that, you son of a bitch.”—Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, lunar module pilot of the Apollo 14 lunar landing mission.

“Part of this is the realisation that we are all travelling together on the planet and that if we all looked at the world from that perspective, we would see that nothing is impossible.”  – NASA astronaut Ron GarenThe Orbital Perspective.  

“Earthrise” as photographed from Apollo 8 (Credit: Bill Anders/NASA)

“You begin to look at all living things with greater trepidation and you begin to be more kind and patient with the people around you.”– Boris Volynov, Soviet cosmonaut.

In 1970, sixteen months after the iconic Earthrise photograph captured the world’s attention, the biggest demonstration in American history was staged. Over 20 million people took to the streets to protest the rampant destruction of our planet, united in their determination to raise awareness of the urgent need for action.

Staked, claimed, drilled, doped, sprayed, remade, repaired, torched, and concreted over for a self-serving paradox.

You cried wolf back then, and here we are, alive and well fifty-four years later.

Most of us will have a connection with someone who has a terminal illness, looking fine one day as if firing on all cylinders, and the next time we see them, they’re gone.

Paint the picture how you like.

Everything we and our planet are made of extends across the universe. Our brilliant minds will be worthless if we do not stabilise the body with the bedrock of Earth-given life in this cosmological sea.

I’m not of any denomination.

Our complex lives, with their difficulties, extend light-years beyond our existence. Do we need to be shot into space before we realise a formidable tapestry connecting us with the cosmic hub? As it was back in the day, we brush aside a proven force pivotal to being human for a tick-in-the-box.

The air we breathe comprises various gases and compounds. Nitrogen and oxygen are crucial elements, composing over 99% of the total volume. However, other elements like hydrogen and helium are present too. Both oxygen and nitrogen undergo a similar process in supernovas. When a star enters a new phase or dies, these gases spread out into space, providing ingredients for new stars.

Breathing with a deeper resonance can benefit our overall health and well-being. It helps to increase cognitive clarity by supplying more oxygen to the brain, nourishing our cells, and regulating blood pressure. Increasing our air intake helps to aerate the blood further, leading to faster and more efficient healing throughout the body. As a result, we can achieve a more balanced and calmer physiological combination, affecting our mood, productivity, and overall quality of life. A slower, deliberated inhalation and exhalation allows us to become grounded and present, strengthens our constitution and makes us less distracted by stressful thoughts and subsequent worries.

Our bodies are undergoing the process of regeneration, so we have a new set of taste buds every ten days, while our nails grow and replace themselves every 6 to 10 months. Our bones renew themselves every ten years, and our heart regenerates every 20 years. The carbon dioxide we exhale is the same carbon dioxide that plants absorb from the atmosphere, highlighting the deep interconnectedness of all living things. Our bodies have sensitive touch receptors that respond to a featherlight brush, allowing us to experience the world intimately.

The nervous system is a complex network of specialised cells known as neurons. These cells work together to transmit signals to the brain, enabling us to adjust our senses, such as touch, taste, smell, and sight. Our motor nerves send messages to our muscles and glands, allowing us to move and function. This intricate system enables us to process and respond to various stimuli, making our bodies remarkable detectors, givers, and receivers.

Time constraints confine a body’s lifespan. Yet, within its temporal limits, the body holds the potential for boundless discovery.

Consider the possibility that the body, which we grieve in death and celebrate at birth, embodies the cosmos itself. If we paid closer attention to the body’s interaction with air, beyond the sensations of temperature and humidity changes, we might uncover a profound truth: that our inner being is the world.

Begin by finding a comfortable position with a well-supported spine, especially in the lower back. Next, close or soften your eyes to relax them. Take slow, deliberate breaths, breathing a little deeper each time. Pay attention to the air entering your lungs as you inhale, holding the air for a few seconds before exhaling.

Be aware of your chest rising and falling with each breath, engaging your diaphragm to create a gentle outward curve down into the abdomen. On the inhalation, feel the air filling the whole body. Let tension draw your awareness to uncomfortable or tight areas, such as the abdomen, stomach area, lower back, and neck. Gently release any tightness with each exhalation.

As you breathe, your skeletal frame should lift and settle without collapsing. However, keeping the upper chest elevated during exhalation can be challenging. Patience and diligence are crucial for easing stress and stiffness in your body. When thoughts arrive, with cries of pressing engagements, see how far you get with the breath before those voices take the body elsewhere. With persistent practice comes stability in the present and a capacity for play.

Breathwork benefits our well-being and connects our body’s intelligence with our surroundings. As you continue practising, you’ll find breathing easier to navigate, relaxed, and more centred and focused. This simple yet powerful technique is a gateway to a deeper, extraordinary physiological world.

Our body is a temple of experience, profound knowledge, and ancient wisdom for sustaining life. However, we often overlook and take for granted the integral intelligence of this human frame. Our body has other “brains” besides the cerebrum, that a computer model cannot match. No machine can turn food into a sophisticated organism, such as the physiological form we adorn. Computers cannot experience the beauty of a sunset, hear the rustling of leaves in the wind, or recognise the fragrance of spring flowers with the refinement our noses, ears, and eyes are capable of. Even our feet are touch-sensitive and have feelings. Can any computerised machine be as agile and responsive as our feet?

Physicists have an in-depth comprehension of the human body, viewing it as a complex system of energy particles, cells, and networks operating throughout the universe. The universe is the totality of all that exists, encompassing time and space. ‘Everything’ is the pivotal term; it implies an absence of boundaries or distinct demarcations, only the phenomenon of emergence. For example, the Solar Wind Anisotropies (SWAN) instrument on board SOHO used its sensitive sensors to trace the outermost layer of our planet’s atmosphere and measured it well beyond the lunar orbit, almost double the distance to the Moon.

Similarly, the human body continuously produces and exchanges various chemicals with its environment, functioning as a dynamic system where both natural and human activities generate many chemicals. This molecular exchange between our bodies and the environment underscores the remarkable interdependence of all living entities with their habitats.

Despite profound findings of this interconnectedness, we rarely have time to absorb our unique place in this mysterious environment teeming with life. Our struggle to find meaning in our existence on Earth leads us to question the reliability of our thoughts. Scientific theories are valid until someone disproves them.

Space travel is a fairground ride inside this heavenly host.

Sensations allow me to experience the enigma of my mind and the nature of my body. Despite the potential benefits of participating in a shamanic, plant-based ceremony in a biodiverse rainforest, I hesitate because I feel entrenched in a certain way of being and am afraid to let go. Trust becomes a critical factor in such situations.

The reptilian brain, despite being primitive, plays a crucial role in our survival. One of its primary functions is prioritising letting go of things that no longer serve us. This ancient part of our brain is far from redundant. It can be a lifesaver when navigating busy city streets. The forebrain is the seat of our conscious decision-making abilities. It allows us to analyse, theorise, think it through, and plan for an imagined future of our own making. However, our instinctual primal gate takes over when our lives are on the line. This innate, animalistic logic is hard-wired into all vertebrates and allows us to make immediate decisions that could mean the difference between life and death. So, take a lesson from the nearest animal in your life, trust your instincts, and weigh your options quickly and carefully. In that split second, make a leap of faith into the unknown.

Sorry, I need to go. I’m running late. It was nice talking to you.

What’s time…? Hello… they’ve hung up!

Are we hung out to dry by the maestro’s tune, our disseminations passed on like some robotic code from generation to generation?

Only if we want to be.

Love and trust are very different things.

A self-serving, self-saving paradigm?

Look around, breathe, sit with the ambience, and thank those stars you’re alive; there’s more than the person you think you are.

Hold on a minute, aren’t you the player running late?

Too busy.

There’s nothing up there,
in control.

Down here
in God
love and hate
overloads.

I won’t let go.

You mean you can’t.

I’m a god with a cup of tea,
a dog with a bone
sitting in God’s lap.

Consider the existence of God…

Different people interpret the word “faith” differently. Some associate it with very different thoughts, framing specific beliefs with names or sides. Faith, religion, science, art, atheism, agnosticism, and general beliefs can placate, conceptualise, describe, theorise, reflect upon, ponder, and wonder about the human condition, but the body, in its entirety, senses and experiences it.

In certain circles, they call bodily talk oafish.

While our thoughts can lead us to lifesaving discoveries and realisations, they are not the only driving force in the universe. As someone who enjoys writing, I find it helpful to remember this, especially when my mind becomes overwhelmed with too many anomalies. While thoughts can inspire us to build a rousing monument, write a book, bake a pie, or even engineer a pioneering flying machine, they can also drive us mad. It’s reassuring, even calming, to acknowledge that other factors are at play in the universe.

Where do thoughts burst from?

Thoughts shape our personality and ultimately determine the person we become.

Can a definition determine clouds?
A song might elicit a tear, but the song is not the tear.

Yes, but how do they manifest?

A chance encounter, that excruciating insult, drives thought to actions. Atmospherics build until the pressure gives, and particles collide. Find an angle on what makes thoughts, get to the point, and look at what underlies the weather.

Low-pressure centres develop surrounded by high-pressure. God, the air’s oppressive. A hike in temperature whips up the wind, and menacing-looking multi-level clouds, called cumulonimbi, extend high into the sky. There’s a marked tension, and the bag’s about to burst.

Do I hide, wait for the air to clear, or walk in and face it off?

Don’t go in there.

Pressure builds.

What’s the matter with him?

Something I’ve done!

Never seen him this bad.

Worse than that time in the den?

What time?

When you had your hand on his brother’s package…

Go underground, secure the doors and shutters, bolt them in, sit tight, and keep the animals close. It will pass.

The force of this thing gained momentum, becoming a formidable opponent. Then, before we knew it, a leviathan came among us, unleashing an erratic swirling mixture of water, air, and dust that moved with unrestrained energy. It sucked up everything in its path, from riverbeds, furniture, and tree trunks to roofs and entire buildings, and hurled them out in all directions as if they were mere trifles. The floodwaters added flooded streets and homes to the mix as if they were a terrible afterthought.

Sorry about that. I got a bit carried away.

Finally, the horrors subside, and a tentative calm wraps the Earth.

I feel like I’ve failed you.

Honeybee…

There’s some empathy. But you still plead not guilty, and I don’t buy it. On the other hand, the weather changed, and the heaviness in the air lifted.

You know what I’m like, darling girl.

Reaching into his back pocket, I pull out his wallet and take what he owes.

Although the eye of a hurricane is typically calm with no wind and clear skies, ready yourself for the eye-wall replacement cycle or some other maniacal shift. Better still, don’t go there.

Don’t bottle the tension. You’ve got to let it pass, or the body will shut down, and the mass won’t ebb and flow, leaving energy locked in to implode.

Say what’s on your mind, write a book, consult a friend, a brother, or anyone who doesn’t mind you dumping your trash in their acreage. Flourish and flow. Say you are a conduit, maybe a channel for a critical theory, a fulcrum that bears a beautiful symphony, a muse that touches the core of our being, anything but being stifled. The body bears these works like a tree bears fruit.

I feel like crying…

Did you ever see a tree trying to hold on to ripe fruit? As roots, branches, and trunks do for the tree’s fruit, energy does its thing via the torso, in and outside us.

They don’t teach this…

The lesson is there, but we’re mostly unaware of it. The symphony of existence is here and now, hitting high notes in the canopy of stars, dancing sprites to the mids on the forest floor, and rumbling base at the Earth’s core.

When a single drop of water evaporates from a leaf, it creates negative water vapour pressure in the surrounding leaf cells. This negative pressure draws water into the leaf through vascular tissue called the xylem, which extends from the roots, through the trunk, and out to the branches and leaves of the tree. Like the human vascular system, which carries blood throughout the body, the xylem transports water and nutrients in the tree.

Trees have an energetic frequency or vibration that provides grounding, trust, security, and stability for humans and nature. These majestic beings root themselves in the crust while extending towards the sky, absorbing atmospheric ingredients to conserve energy.

Extraterrestrial particles, carbon dioxide, and water give trees their mass. Since we exhale carbon dioxide and water, our negative becomes their positive. We benefit wholly from trees, and it seems our lives depend on them, so why do we give them little to no credibility?

Become like a miser in the give and take of energy, and it’ll buck one time too many and land you in the wood box.

We may sit under a tree and be everywhere all at once. But hoping to coin this experience or stumble upon this grail through a theory, or an order of beliefs becomes a game of blind man’s bluff.

However much you say it, it won’t stick. Don’t get clever giving me the runaround. You’re in over your head.

There’s some logic there.

However poignant our precious words are, they are not the energy that weaves the threads of birth and death into the fabric of life.

People have been channelling and working radiant energy for over 5,000 years in China, India, and other Asian countries. While the validity of Qi, Prana, or life force has remained relatively untapped in our culture, science confirmed in 2012 the existence of a universal energy field to add to these labels: the Higgs field.

Logic tells us the person we see in the looking glass isn’t natural, but we converse with it.

It is precious to have the space and air to mull things over.

Pah, it does nothing for me. I hate what’s looking back…

When there’s no other ear to bend or eyes to investigate, a work of art can be a reflection that stands the test of time.

This face is no work of art… you do yourself a disservice, sir.

The beauty of Michelangelo’s sculpture of David draws you in slowly and surely from afar. Thinking it’s skin deep, you catch his gaze. Then, you realise the story. In short, the eyes concentrated on the target in the distance speak volumes, as does the negligible, well-worn slingshot casually slung over his left shoulder. This isn’t a pastime or game but a display of strength, virtue, and profound intelligence worthy of Muhammad Ali. I’m in love, but I wouldn’t mess with a young beauty as rare and commanding as this.

Breaking out of the trance in the public square, with pigeons and tourists doing their business, you know the statue can no more sling a stone at a heavily armed Philistine giant than the writer here can. But it sure can make you believe it.

So?

Carl Benz built the first reliable two-stroke engine. Before the automotive or aviation industries existed. He conceptualised, sorted, and assembled his thoughts so his body could build the first motor-driven carriage. This wonder of science, which seated two people, featured a compact and high-speed single-cylinder four-stroke engine positioned horizontally at the back. A sturdy tubular steel frame supported three spoked wheels, making it look like a three-wheeled bicycle.

The initial version of the ‘Motorwagen’ only had two gears and could not climb hills unassisted. However, without informing her husband or seeking permission from the authorities, Benz’s wife later took matters into her own hands to figure out the solution to this limitation. With help from her two sons, Bertha Benz drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim/Black Forest in Germany, there and back covering 194 km (120 miles) over rough lanes and cart tracks. The pioneering long-distance journey on this combustion-driven work of art wasn’t without its challenges.

On the way, Bertha used her garter to fix the ignition. After covering some more miles, she stopped at a nearby pharmacy; her intention was to buy a few litres of cleaning fluid that she could use as fuel for the vehicle. She used her hat pin to unclog a blocked fuel pipe. When the Motorwagen’s brake blocks wore out, Bertha got a cobbler to fit the brakes with leather strips. And so, brake pads formed in the aether. Her suggestion for a third gear to regulate those hills sowed the seed for gearbox transmission.

Cäcilie Bertha Ringer entered the world on May 3, 1849, in Pforzheim. Her upbringing was in a family of considerable wealth. Despite having a financially stable future with a “good match,” she chose the young, unemployed, but visionary engineer Carl Benz. She received her dowry in advance, and because she shared Carl’s passion for technology, she invested it in his small business.

Carl and Bertha officially introduced the Benz Patent Motor Car to the public in Mannheim, Germany, on July 3rd, 1886. Their tenaciousness and undoubted skill in transforming ideas, thoughts, and creative mindset into a bespoke combustion-driven carriage were instrumental, if not pivotal, to the car we take for granted parked in our backyard today.

Only one person remained with me in the small ship of life when it seemed destined to sink. That was my wife. Bravely and resolutely, she set the new sails of hope. Carl
Benz1925

Given the widespread pollution from passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks, we struggle with now, are innovators like Carl and Bertha accountable?

I suspect they are both executor and prey like all of us. Their enthusiasm and excitement, while proclaiming the irresistible nature of a game-changing machine, highlight the power of thought and how it influences decisions and outcomes. As anatomical frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes, the cerebral cortex is neither good nor bad, but like a tool in action, it can be razor-sharp.

Once upon a time, in the twelfth century, Al-Zahrawi, considered the father of surgery, thought out and designed many pioneering surgical instruments, including forceps, scalpels, and surgical hooks.

Perhaps not so literal, but the Benz flagship car, inducted into the Industrial Hall of Fame, came through trial and error amalgamated from thoughts in Carl Benz’s head. While modern cars are significantly different and much more efficient, our love for gas-guzzling vehicles has shown no signs of diminishing. Many see owning a car as a source of pride and status, and we defend them fiercely. You may even face a physical altercation if you get too close, tailgating someone’s car.

Road rage is the throat and vent of a volcano. Other stress factors…

If cars were a panacea for a sane society, pharmaceutical companies would be out of business.

Have you ever driven a Tesla Model 3?

In 1941, concerning the War effort, Henry Ford produced a car using plastic made from hemp and other plant materials. This plant-based material proved ten times tougher than steel and even lighter than fibreglass. Powered by ethanol derived from hemp or other agricultural waste as it was, the bioplastic Model T was never mass-produced. In its December 1941 issue, Popular Mechanics reported that Ford’s experimental model advanced his vision of “growing automobiles from the soil”.

“Why use up the forests, which were centuries in the making, and the mines, which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?” ~ Henry Ford

Think it through.
Keep your eyes skinned.
Work it out, then drive.

Isn’t that turning a blind eye?

Thought can be the key to insight and care, but it can also be the spit in
the flame.

John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton were so engrossed in developing the theory that they almost drove themselves to the brink of insanity. Finally, on April 14, 1932, the British and Irish physicists successfully split the atom, confirming Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2. This equation is the underlying principle behind both thermonuclear weapons and nuclear energy. Little did they know that their experiment would start a chain reaction.

Call in the quarks.

How’s that?

Albert Einstein’s understanding of gravity and its effect on the fabric of space-time is essential for space travel, but his understanding is neither space nor time. It’s a theory travelling through space and time to us from the great man’s head.

Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking. Albert Einstein

With extraordinary talent and tremendous verve, giving meaning to something is what humans do. But it’s not altogether what we are.

When a marine biologist asked me to sum up the ocean, I said water. My answer didn’t impress him.

Sum up the meaning of the universe with a word; it comes across as if you’re being obtuse or, worse still, that you’ve nailed it and got the entire shebang worked out.

And we haven’t. After the first atomic explosion in the world took place in a desert in Alamogordo in the state of New Mexico, USA, at 5.45 in the morning on 16th July 1945, J Robert Oppenheimer, remembered by many to be the father of the atom bomb spontaneously spoke out in Sanskrit:

Divi surya sahastrasya bhaved yugapad utthita Yadi bhah sadrashi sa syat
bhasastasya mahatmanah

If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendour of the Mighty One. Translated into English from the Sanskrit Bhagavad Gita.

Oppenheimer wrote of the Bhagavad Gita texts… It is the most beautiful philosophical song existing in any known tongue…

Twenty years after the New Mexico ‘Trinity,’ drop, in 1965, on television, an hour into the program, when asked about the first man-induced nuclear bomb explosion, Dr Oppenheimer says: “We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed (immediately after the nuclear explosion), a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince (Arjuna) that he should do his duty, and to impress him, he takes on his multi-armed form and says: Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.”

If we want to destroy the planet, we can. Thoughts can do that. One reading, or one alarm away from the apocalypse.

The ocean of all that exists, inside and outside of us… some call it consciousness, others the almighty, some say it’s a field of energy woven into all that is upside down, inside out, meets all that is of this Earth and beyond; an unending tapestry woven with divine thread.

A word in the ear, particle to particle.

Once a jumble of thoughts honed into theory, there’s a machine exhumed from the physicists’ heads: a twenty-seven-kilometre ring of superconducting magnets and speeding-up structures buried one hundred meters underground. The Large
Hadron Collider, at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research on the border of France and Switzerland, is the largest particle accelerator in the
world.

Aiming to capture elusive fundamental particles, inside an atom, such as the Higgs boson or a top quark, scientists speed up two beams of particles, close to the speed of light, in opposite directions in this hoop collider. This results in one particle smashing into another. On average, just one out of hundreds of millions of collisions produces a top quark.

A lot of planning and thinking it through does that.

Setting up the essence of life so it smashes the hell out of itself. Why would anyone want to do that?

Divide and rule?

A lot of kinetic energy goes into that, too.

After a year of observing collisions, scientists produced the Higgs boson at CERN in 2012.

Physicist Peter Higgs first proposed an all-pervasive field of mass in 1964: a field of energy that permeates the entire universe. The discovery of the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that creates a wave in this field, confirms the interconnectedness of life here, there, and everywhere.

We split the atom and smashed the quark to realise the field.

Just because we think we know something doesn’t mean we understand it.

Yes, but where does the field come from?

Like an apparition comes from everywhere.

Did you know some animals can reproduce without having sexual intercourse?

Insects and vertebrates have mass, particle mass that induces virgin births in certain insect species, such as aphids, bees, and ants. Scientists have discovered that certain vertebrates, including lizards, snakes, birds, and sharks, can reproduce asexually (without a male). In 2006, scientists found that the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) could have virgin births

The field is the universe; is us!

Some people call the Higgs particle the “God particle,” but most physicists disapprove of this nickname. At CERN, words with familiar spiritual overtones are creeping into the jargon… ‘fundamental’, ‘all-pervading’, ‘omnipresent’.

It’s not a room we’re born of. It’s the universe!

The veil between the seeker and maker has become as thin as in ancient Greece. Look to Eleusis… the Eleusinian Mysteries, Plato, Aristotle, his teacher Socrates… the maverick tramp who tied most of them up in knots, Diogenes…

The established existence of this field of mass, present throughout the entire universe, has a physical dimension that determines the properties of matter. When excited by a specific particle, this energy field manifests itself as different celestial bodies such as planets, stars, galaxies, and even small objects like a grain of sand, an ice cream, or a Van Gogh print. Scientists have proven that this mass of subatomic particles interconnects all Homo sapiens with each other and the universe.

The sun, which has tremendous mass, bends space-time, causing the planets to follow its space-time curvature.

Thoughts seem ethereal in form, but thoughts come through or from the brain,
and the brain is an integral part of the body, which is itself matter.

The more importance we give to our thoughts, the more this changes the brain’s ‘space-time curvature’ and helps to shape what happens around us.

Yet, if we identify or let a heavy thought run its course, we could easily find ourselves at war, at odds, and separated further from the person or country we’re trying to win over.

If ever there was a race of people who need to feel stable.

We’re given this relatively brief span in human form to open our hearts and minds to a universe that beckons trillions of secrets. Yet we’ve become so overloaded by the next idea or the more pressing matter of reaching our goals that we’ve lost touch with the foundation of life. Then we spend a lot of our downtime wondering if it’s too late, if what we have really is falling apart.

Given the heights that human aspirations have attained it’s now more than ever that we need to secure our sense of being.

Just as a building needs a solid foundation, our emotional well-being relies on stability. When we feel secure, we can explore new heights without fear of collapse.

There’s no question, we do the light and antigravity thing exceedingly well. We’re so obsessed with it we run away with ourselves. Chin up. Cheer up, knock it out of the park. Only one way to go, and that’s to the top… adrenalin junkies, high divers, paragliders, and surfers that land the highest wave, up, up, and away. We can’t wait to get up there, and we can’t get enough.

Like a musician who utilises contrasts of highs and lows in music to establish the tone and capture the complete pitch, timbre, and intensity of a symphony, it is crucial to hear and feel all the keynotes, combining light and heavy, to grasp the vastness and complexity of the score.

The scientifically proven Higgs field highlights a sharp contrast with the lifelong struggle with failure and the accompanying heavy cloud of depression. This contrast is so vivid that the tactility makes it impossible not to be humbled. Today and all days since. This congregation has no sides unless the matter I nibble on makes it so.

As human beings, we can transform our lives and shape our identities in profound ways. With hard work and perseverance, we can make our dreams come true and impact the world meaningfully. However, we should never forget the beauty and depth of our humanity. Even when we get caught up in the daily grind, life’s grandeur continues to unfold around us, inviting us to explore and embrace the fullness of our existence. By staying true to ourselves and experiencing the wonder of life, we can create a vibrant world with unimaginable possibilities.

We may not be number one, two, three, or four, etc., but that doesn’t mean we can’t miss the beat that holds the mainframe together.

The universe comprises an invisible and elusive fabric that is the foundation for everything we see, including galaxies and planets, from the largest to the most minuscule life on Earth. Physicists have extensively studied and chipped away at this energy field to understand its workings and significance in our lives. However, sages, yogis, and other spiritual figures can sense that this field is not limited to theory or understanding but is an actual presence that is felt.

Yoga teaches us to unite our fragmented mind and body, bringing about assimilation. The word ‘Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, which means ‘to join’, ‘to yoke’, or ‘to unite’. By bringing the mind and body together with the universal sea of energy, an omnipotent tactile presence puts the chattering thoughts into perspective, bringing harmony and balance to our celestial home.

Isn’t this believing in such and such a deity again?

Our thoughts, theories, and voices are expressions of our inner world, but we should not let them overwhelm us, especially when they become hostile and dramatic. Instead of following their lead, we can observe them, like that dark, foreboding cloud, wondering about their power, and allowing them to pass. Paradoxically, this detachment can help us appreciate the extraordinary intelligence that our mind and body possess. Being human gives us a rare opportunity to link with the vastness of the planet and the cosmos, which also flows within us. It is a stunning fusion of the microcosm and the macrocosm, where our tiny yet meaningful existence blends with the immensity of love.

Gosh, where do you find the time for this hearsay malarky? It’s all good and well if you’re not busy keeping the wolves from the door. And that machine? Do we need to set particles on a collision course with other particles to experience the miraculous concourse of life?

It’s better than spending trillions on people colliding together in a raging war.

The art and science of yoga have become about how far we can stretch and how supple we are. Union with the cosmological self is now bastardised into a competitive sport.

Maybe Aristotle had a conflict in mind when he figured there was no effect or motion without a cause.

How the body becomes the body is not a belief. It’s a ubiquitous force simultaneously earthbound and tied to the other. With all its astonishing complexities, the mass that makes being human is everywhere, in one form or another, all at once, right now. Keep it at bay and shut this energy out, if you will, but it will not concede.

Boson is no fluke; it’s a revelation. Go quietly with the mind and witness the body’s ability to receive and transmit the cosmos in unison. The universe is the field of mass, body and brain, past and future, us in entirety. Despite our tribal differences, we’re joined at the hip, interconnected mystical beings.

This vast canopy of stars, this Earth with its massive heartbeat of life in which we find ourselves, magically defined by words, turned on its head with scientific discovery, remains a mysterious wonder. Yet, the miracle of life itself, fully realised, experienced, and taken to heart, is often dark and unsettled, too shattered for a lecture on the power of thought, how energy works, or what we’re made of.

The pain of losing someone you deeply love to an untimely death can be overwhelming. It can feel as though the world has lost its colour and meaning.

A precious balm soothes our sad, weary hearts as we lay down to rest by the ocean, lulled by the crashing waves. Stricken by loss, the rush of the sea and the cries of seabirds remind us of life beyond the grave.

As the day draws to a close, the sun sets, bringing a sense of calm and peace. Yet, outside, in the forests, jungles, fields, and by the waterside, life is bustling with activity. Creatures of all shapes and sizes, above and below ground, are busy birthing and dying, allowing new life to bloom. Air filled with the sweet scent of flowers and the sound of nature creates a symphony that soothes the soul.

Seeing a friendly face or a loving animal’s companionship can bring hope when lost in despair. Amid the sadness and noise surrounding us, spending time with them can feel like a secret escape, a hidden refuge where the world’s troubles fade for a moment.

As beautiful and evocative as an artist’s reflection of someone can be, the portrait isn’t the person posing. Likewise, a belief is a reflection. Believe in God all you like, but the belief is not God. And before you bark up my tree, I’m simply trying to put some meat to the relative meaning of the word.

In a spiritual context, a belief refers to a collection of thoughts that are conveyed through an apostle. Parables reflect something within us—a forgotten heartbeat, the wonder of nature, kindness in our neighbours, and the basic principles of our cosmological origins. It’s a poignant irony that no matter how elevated we become, eventually, often in our twilight years, we come to wonder what the hell was all that fuss about. We’ve had a lifetime, but only then do we wonder why we drifted so far from a mighty host, a recently proven subatomic force of nature that’s been surging through every pore of our being since the day we were born.

Albert Einstein was 70 years old and lived in Princeton when he received a letter from an ordained rabbi. The rabbi’s letter detailed his unsuccessful attempts to console his 19-year-old daughter following the death of her sister, described as “a sinless, beautiful 16-year-old child.”

A human being,” wrote Einstein in reply, “is a part of the whole, called by us Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein

Is human life made up of speculation?

When the physical and emotional attachment between mother and foetus foretells an infant… the bosom is the go-to place.
That’s not a thought.
It’s a step with feeling.
Thought, along with its subsequent beliefs, comes later.
They’re inseparable.
What proof do you need?
A belly button…
Contemplate the navel all you like.
How’s that?
Beyond questions and thoughts.
Can anyone put words to that which bears the muse?
Being
eclectic
human
in body and mind
love
scream, shout, plead,
as much as we like to believe it, the thought of God might be in matter, but that thought isn’t all of matter.

From wispy and light to dark and threatening, coming, going, and disappearing, thoughts like clouds have drama.
If the entire universe and everything in it is God, then yes, thoughts are a beacon helping us…
Can anyone define this God you speak of?
Does anyone know?
Hang out somewhere between non-believers and believers… there’ll be an answer.
I wouldn’t sit between a lion and her cub.
Art needs science and some good medicine to sit in God’s lap.
Without inner engineering,
you become but a fragment eaten to pieces.
Tis thought.
You are…
Therefore, I am
unimpeachable.
Look for flaws in a realm of consciousness marked by birth and death. This prerogative might quantify a purpose, but it would be folly to hang our fleeting glimpse of this realm on a word, the sum of what we are to a belief or a building.

If heart and thought are the song’s central premise, then the body is a temple.

And so, I am grateful for the chance to marvel at the wonders of the Earth and the vast, mysterious universe. Because of you, I’m humbled, more curious about life’s fragility and abundance, and ready to reach into the depth of your being with fresh eyes and an open heart.

Tread carefully upon this hallowed ground… being human isn’t a dress rehearsal.

Where’s the main event?
Right here.
Who said that?
A disentangled teacher.

Photography courtesy of ALEX LAURENCE-PHILLIPS

Note to self… release that sway of thought and live again.

Matthew Scurfield