Great Radiance! Big Bang! Holy Mystery! A wondrous web of cosmic alchemy swirls within and around you. Above you are stars - hydrogen cocktails fusing into helium. At the right time, the energy of the star is liberated. It explodes with an “out of this world” fireworks display, showering the galaxy with a smorgasbord of dust. The star dust has all the stuff of life within it; poised for possibility, pregnant with YOU.
In your body are 50 trillion cells. Each cell includes a chorus line of protein acids. Dancing protein move thousands of times every second, in a waltz between nature and nurture, DNA and environment. Who could say who is leading whom in this dance called life? Is it nature or nurture? Is it the cells you inherit or the company you keep? Every breath, every step, every word, every thought and every action manifests cellular alchemy; a God-breathed miracle.
Your body is 70% water, about the same proportion of water as exists in the universe. The atoms of hydrogen within water connect you with the Big Bang 13 billion years ago. Don’t you see – YOU are a 13 billion year old bundle of evolving energy. This ancient hydrogen in your body has been liberated to become oxygen, the breath of life becoming more alive in each moment.
Religions attempt to place people in the context of a larger story or tradition. For Christia, it is the Hebrew campfire creation stories. They were attempts to answer questions of life and death, and inspire courage in uncertain times. Gods and spirits were bridges to an unknown future. This has worked well for many people over many centuries. However in this age of globalization, many people are looking for a story that has more scientific integrity and places human life in a much larger context.
Evolution offers this universal context. There is no larger story than the evolution of the universe. The Big Bang is your creator. The stars are your ancestors. The story of the universe is every person’s story. All people and all things are part of your spiritual family. The evolutionary story also offers inspiration to be courageous in uncertain times by remaining open to an unknown future.
Maybe the greatest miracle of all is the emergence of new beginnings out of death. Another way to describe the death of a star is to say that it has run out of fuel. Maybe you have times in your life when you feel like you have run out of fuel. The miracle of fusion is that it is really not a death at all. Fusion is a new beginning, the emergence of fresh opportunities. Next time you feel that you have run out of fuel; consider the new opportunities opening up before you, like an exploding star.
Next time you look at the night sky, feel your body and know that you are the liberated energy of star dust. It may bring you to your knees in humility at the potential for life that you carry in your body. Every one of those sparks of light is a reminder of the miracle of fusion.
What is fusion? Fusion takes place naturally within stars. Under extreme heat and pressure, hydrogen nuclei combine to form helium atoms, releasing enormous amounts of energy. This fusion is well known to us in the form of light and warmth from the sun. We take it for granted, and yet it is our life force. Many people have wondered if it’s possible to harness this natural fusion to create sustainable energy. It turns out that a process that comes naturally to the sun is not so easy to reproduce in a lab.
Nuclear fusion is like the bright teenage star with enormous potential that just can’t seem to find his place in the world. Scientists often say it’s thirty years away; and always will be. It has the potential to solve the energy crisis by mimicking the wise patterns of nature. To date it has eluded scientists, but there is renewed enthusiasm.
corn1There is a light hearted story about a physicist who tried many times to create cold fusion in the lab. In his latest effort, he used molecules from corn to trigger the process. The Nobel Prize committee considered his results but dismissed them, saying he had only created a ball of corn fusion.
I apologize. That was very corny. But there’s nothing corny about the energetic power of fusion.
Another form of fusion that uses sound is sonofusion. Sound waves fuse with liquid to create tiny bubbles. The bubbles expand and then collapse to generate a flash of light and enormous heat. The energy of fusion is something you have experienced many times in your life. Every time, you fuse the right combination of music, voice and movement together, you liberate energy. It runs through your body, mysteriously inspiring you, moving you, liberating you. Every time you are in the presence of someone who makes your heart skip a beat, you know the fusion of shared love. Every time you are lost in the immensity of nature, you feel an affinity with the earth.
Did you know that if you put two pianos next to each other and you play the middle C on one of the pianos, the middle C on the other piano vibrates? It resonates with the middle C on the first piano. There is a fusion of resonant energy.
Why Fusion is Powerful
The way you live makes a difference to those around you. When your speech builds people up rather than tearing them down, when your actions come from a place of loving kindness, you create energy around you and it becomes contagious. It inspires that same positive speech and loving kindness in others. It strikes a cord like two pianos sitting along side of each other.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the crazy talk going on in this country about health care. It just gets curiouser and curiouser. There is so much misplaced hatred, and such a lack of kindness. How can we counteract the craziness without being condescending to those who hold different opinions on issues such as health care?
Consider that every thought that you have is a wave. Some scientists would say that if you add waves together, the result is the square of the sum of the waves. Therefore, two waves together are four times more powerful than one. Ten waves together are one hundred times more powerful than one. And on and on we could go.
If our thoughts are that powerful, just imagine the effect of loving, kind actions toward those around you. The fusion of loving and kind thoughts is similar to the benefits of nuclear fusion. Loving thoughts produce a huge amount of healing energy without any toxic waste. It is a clean energy, and it is long lasting. The raw materials required for fusion, water and silicon for nuclear fusion, are in abundant supply in the world. So it is with the raw materials required for a fusion of global love. All it requires is humility, and awareness.
Liberating Community Energy
Now relate this idea of energy fusion to spiritual community. Einstein’s famous equation E=MC2 is often cited to show that energy and mass are two different manifestations of the same thing. If you speed up mass it becomes energy, and if you slow down energy it becomes mass. Here is a new equation for community.
E=MC3. The E is for energy. M is for member. The energy of C3 is the combined good will of its members which of course is greater than the sum of its parts. When I say members, don’t imagine that I am talking about people who have signed up for some particular beliefs. Being a member at C3 has little to do with beliefs. Being a member at C3 is about saying yes to the shared values of this diverse community. Being a member at C3 is about committing to making the world a better place by liberating the combined energy of the community.
When two or three are gathered, fusion happens; energy is liberated and there is no limit to what can be achieved. The fusion of community, bringing together all the parts to make a powerful whole, liberates energy in an explosion of love.
As 19th century visionary Teilhard de Chardin said,
“Someday, after mastering winds, waves, tides and gravity, we shall harness the energy of love; and for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
What is on your Bucket List?
What could be more important than being part of a community that is a fusion of energies spreading love in the world? Put it on your bucket list. Have you seen the recent movie Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman? Two older men set out to achieve life long dreams before they run out of time.
sky1I ticked something off my list yesterday. I have always wanted to complete something with the word “marathon” in it. It happened yesterday. There was a lot of laughter when I arrived at the starting line for a half marathon. It was certainly a new experience for me. When I came to the first water station, there were people holding out cups. Some of them were calling out “water” and others were calling out what I thought was “heat”. I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to drink hot water during a race. It reminded me of the Seinfeld Episode where Kramer is drinking hot coffee at a marathon race. He is holding it out in front of his body, and a runner grabs it thinking its cold water. The scene ends with the loud screams of the runner. Anyway, it turns out that yesterday they were offering an energy drink called “heed” and not hot water.
The point of the movie is that it’s not so much the activities on your bucket list that give you satisfaction. It’s what the activities teach you about yourself. True fulfillment comes in making peace within yourself, making a difference in the world, and tending to your closest relationships.
The run was a wonderful opportunity for me to stay in the moment and take just one step at a time, one mile at a time. It was a battle of the mind to not get ahead of myself and to break the run down into manageable chunks.
So what’s on your bucket list? Fill your bucket list with things that make a difference. Choose to make your life count for something incredible. Maximize your efforts by fusing your acts of kindness with the kindness of others in community.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by how many moments take your breath away.
Jorge Luis Borges envisioned a life lived in the moment, with his poem Moments-
If I could live again my life,
In the next - I’ll try to make more mistakes,
I won’t try to be so perfect,
I’ll be more relaxed, I’ll be more full than I am now,
In fact, I’ll take fewer things seriously,
I’ll be less hygienic,
I’ll take more risks,
I’ll take more trips,
I’ll watch more sunsets,
I’ll climb more mountains,
I’ll swim more rivers,
I’ll go to more places - I’ve never been,
I’ll eat more ice creams and less lima beans,
I’ll have more real problems - and less imaginary ones,
I was one of those people who live
prudent and prolific lives -
each minute of his life,
Of course I had moments of joy - but,
if I could go back I’ll try to have only good moments,
If you don’t know - that’s what life is made of,
Don’t lose the now!
I was one of those who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer,
without a hot-water bottle,
and without an umbrella and without a parachute,
If I could live again - I will travel light,
If I could live again - I’ll try to work bare feet
at the beginning of spring till
the end of autumn,
I’ll ride more carts,
I’ll watch more sunrises and play with more children,
If I have the life to live - but now I am 85,
- and I know that I am dying …
For Further Reflection (Questions that can be used privately or in groups)
1. How do you understand the balance between history and myth in relation to Genesis and other creation stories?
2. How do you integrate the evolutionary story with religious creation mythology?
3. How does evolution help to shape the way you understand God, and life and death questions?
4. What lessons does evolution teach you about uncertainty and living with awe and wonder?