September sunlight dances on drying leaves, sparkling like diamonds against a flowing stream, an azure sky. The plants of summer are dying. Flowers that have given such joy all summer long are now spurned by us as they shrivel into the paradoxical beauty of old age. The sun burns lightly on summer-drenched skin as clouds intrude intermittently into the almost- Autumn interlude– a gentle foretaste of the cold to come. The last butterflies of summer flit among the blossoming Goldenrod and browning Joe Pie Weed.
The beauty of Fall is the beauty of a dying season. It is the season of death– an alternative to the dew-like bloom of youth in Spring.
When I was very young, I felt death in nature. I could feel what it must feel like to be a tree or a flower—to just “be”—the Buddhist dictum which I cannot now master. In my late twenties, my mind broke into smithereens like shattered glass, and I had a choice to make between going on psych meds or going to hospital. I chose the former and have lived some 40 years more with that choice. I will not say it was a happy choice, at the risk of sounding ungrateful, because I have become driven into a fury of manic activity and self-seeking in stark contrast to the just “being” of my early youth. The psych meds have dispelled my “egolessness” which, in turn, makes me more able to “function”– at a price. For I no longer feel the waves of peace lapping at the shores of my mind and my religious feelings have, comparatively speaking, shriveled up like the summer flowers in the Fall. “It’s always a trade-off” I am told over and over again. My doc told me once that I am one of the lucky ones because for some people the meds don’t work at all. That shut me up and those words periodically pump gratitude into my system. I have remained med-compliant mainly because the meds have kept me out of hospital, DO allow me to function, and, most importantly, I have discovered that being able to function means allowing me to love.
And although more self-seeking, paradoxically this med-induced functionality allows me to give back to the world. My gift is to describe the “just- being” in nature that was imprinted indelibly on my mind when I was young. Death seemed beautiful to me then, a state of simply being at one with the soul of nature. Now I confess to a fear of dying, rather than a fear of death, but most of all, a fear of loss of the love of my life. For we are in the September of our lives and all is intensified now that we are more aware of our finiteness. Truth be told this was always potentially the case, but we lived, like most youth, in the inevitable delusion of immortality.
So I function now at the cost of loss of my revered altered states of consciousness. Perhaps I am in September mind, channeling words and images of the beauty of nature that flooded me long ago are a mere trickle now, as my time to “just be,” once more for this time round, approaches.
Carl Sagan, Astrophysicist:
“We are all star stuff.”
Professor Brian Cox, Particle Physicist:
“Every atom of carbon, every living thing on the planet is produced in the heart of a dying star.”
Sergio Toporek, Artist:
The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star.”
Dr. J.S. Bell, Quantum Physicist:
“No theory of reality compatible with quantum theory can require spatially separate events to be independent.”
Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary Biologist:
“Organisms can never be totally unrelated to one another, since it is all but certain that life as we know it originated only once on earth… Go backwards, no matter where you start, you end up celebrating the unity of life…”
The Beatles, Musicians:
“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”
Russell Targ, Physicist and ESP researcher and Dr. Jane Katra:
“… connection has been demonstrated repeatedly on the microscopic quantum level in experiments where pairs of photons (quanta of light) are sent off in opposite directions at the speed of light, but retain a connection, even after traveling many kilometers, whereby a change in the polarity of one photon observed by a researcher in Basel causes a corresponding change in the other photon observed by a researcher in Zurich.”
Joanne Elizabeth Lauck, Author of The Voice of the Infinite in the Small:
“… small changes in dynamic systems produce changes of great magnitude… small events emerging out of this wholeness give rise to nonlocal events, because all is connected.”
Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist:
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling 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.”
Scientists and artists agree. We are all one. They just use different vocabulary.
In my tiny life, I have only found the experience of connectivity demonstrated twice. Once, when my father died in hospital across town from where I was working and I “felt” his death at the minute of his dying. I “knew” it. And the other, when my brother collapsed suddenly in Michigan from what was later determined to be lung cancer, and I lost my balance and fell simultaneously in New York City.
Of course, there are the little syncronicities: thinking of someone and then seeing them a few moments later or dear ones calling each other at the exact same minute, or saying the same thing at the same moment, thinking the same thoughts simultaneously, etc.
It is not just family and those close to usthat are connected to one another in this life (and perhaps in previous lives), but all of life is tied to one another, born of a dying star, born of star-dust material. And yet so often we see the “other” as foreign. As Einstein so eloquently said, this is the “optical delusion” of our consciousness.
We are all connected. Not by cell phones and computers and the social networks, but by the very building blocks that compose us. And, if we can rise above the everyday pettiness, a Herculean feat to be sure, and feel the one consciousness that flows through us all, we could tap into a limitless ocean of empathy, and a unity of being.
From fire to ice
From life to death
From death to Being