Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Buzzing mind

For some reason I woke up a little after 2 am this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. My mind buzzing .... our kitty Henry is sick and has not been eating for the past few days. Yesterday he spent the day at the vet attached to an IV and going through a series of tests and x-rays. Funny isn't how, the crazy, fiesty behaviors of our pets can bug us ... like how Henry will start knocking rocks and small ornaments off of our buffet when he's hungry and believes we need to feed him; or how he will start chewing on our blinds when we're comfortably seated on the couch because he wants to go hang out on the porch;or how he will wake us up at 3 or 4 am because it's time to play (which is why he has been banished to sleeping downstairs) --- I admit, I am much more of a dog person. My partner gives me grief about it (and rightly so!). But I must confess that Henry has nuzzled his way into my heart - in his quirky feline way. In July, 2007 when he first met Mister he hissed and hissed and hissed ... why the heck were we bringing into our home a crazy puppy? You would never know they had a rough beginning as they are now best friends ... I made a video to capture their love story and posted it in on an old blog of mine.

And as my mind continued to buzz after I came downstairs to write ... to start my early morning ritual a little earlier than usual, I found myself drifting back to our week up north. I found myself captivated by the bees hovering and pollinating flowers all around our cabin and on the paths I would walk. With camera in hand I would get as close as possible to the bumble bees. I find myself wanting to learn more about bees, about bumble bees. I stumble across a website with an entry on "Bumble Bee's inspiration" - it begins with a quote: "Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway"- (An inspiring quote by Mary Kay Ash). It then goes on to talk about a folklore: "According to 20th century folklore, the laws of aerodynamics prove that the bumblebee should be incapable of flight, as it does not have the capacity (in terms of wing size or beats per second) to achieve flight with the degree of wing loading necessary. Not being aware of scientists 'proving' it cannot fly, the bumblebee succeeds under "the power of its own ignorance".

I learn that this was a myth that became popular in the 1930s. More recent studies have shown, however, that the bumble bee's flight is characterized by an oscillating wing that shares more characteristics with a helicopter rotor than an airplane wing. Bumblee bees are social insects known for their black and yellow striped bodies. They have a hair-like substance (called pile) that makes them appear and feel fuzzy. They are typically found in higher latitudes ranging from warm to cold climates where other bees might not be found. This is apparently due to their ability to regulate their body temperature - using both solar radiation and internal mechanisms of "shivering" and radiative cooling from the abdomen.

My mind, like a bumble bees whose wings can beat up to 200 beats/second, is beating and firing in all directions. I could choose to calm my mind through meditation. This morning, I feel like immersing myself in the rapid beats of a bumble bee. I find comfort and beauty in folklore ... at the same time, I find comfort in facts and evidence of science. I also find comfort in the questions, and simply not knowing.

I am amazed when I see bees in flight; when I look up in the skies and see an eagle soaring; and in the not too distant future I will again be hopping on an plane (this time to head to New York for work) ... when I see planes in the skies, I am amazed. Science and exploration has enabled us to enter once unchartered worlds ... there's a part of me that's grateful for the convenience of getting to New York in 3 hours versus days (and even that is another "miracle" with the invention of automobiles) ... but I wonder, what is the real miracle?

Robert John Russell, founder of The Center of Theology and Natural Sciences, says:

"The universe is more mysterious than either science and religion can ever fully disclose, and the urgencies of humankind and the natural environment demand an honest interaction between the discoveries of nature, the empowerment afforded us by appropriate technology, the inherent value of the environment, and the demand that we commit ourselves to a future in which all species can flourish. We can no longer afford the stalemate of past centuries between theology and science, for this leaves nature Godless and religion worldless. When this happens, our culture, hungering after science for something to fill the void of its lost spiritual resources, is easy prey to New Age illusions wrapped in science-sounding language — the 'cosmic self-realization movement' and the 'wow of physics' — while our 'denatured' religion, attempting to correct social wrong and to provide meaning and support for life's journey, is incapable of making its moral claims persuasive or its spiritual comfort effective because its cognitive claims are not credible. Nor can we allow science and religion to be seen as adversaries, for they will be locked in a conflict of mutual conquest, such as "creation science" which costs religion its credibility or "scientific materialism" which costs science its innocence."

I return to what I have felt in my gut ... life isn't an either/or; life is nothing and everything, all at once.

For now, I return to the the reason my mind even began to buzz ... to Henry. Science/veterinary medicine can't seem to figure out the cause for his illness right now. My spiritual self, when faced with challenges and unanswered questions, seeks to find comfort in trusting in a journey where God, or some higher being, is in the driver's seat. It's a scary, yet empowering feeling ... yes, to relinquish control and simply trust.

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