Monday, January 16, 2012

Gravity As A Spiritual Lesson (Falling)

I'm in danger of sounding like I do nothing but watch TV, but I won't apologise for watching another excellent TV programme - The Wonders of the Universe.

The subject was gravity, and Dr Brian Cox completely blew me away with this simple explanation of a complex force. Gravity means that absolutely everything is falling into everything else, irresistibly and continually following the curves of space time created by the pulls from all the stars, planets and galaxies in the universe. Gravity is by its very nature both creative and destructive. It creates by pulling and holding together the necessary elements for life, but ultimately it destroys too, compressing things down and exerting impossible pressure that eventually crushes to death.

It made me really think about our experience of life. Perhaps on some deeply subconscious level we are aware of this falling, and it makes us uncomfortable as it is beyond our control. Is that why we often feel a need to organise and structure our lives so rigidly and neatly? Is that us fighting the inevitable? And then that set me to thinking about the way we use the word "falling" in day-to-day language. Isn't it interesting that we describe entering physical, mental and emotional conditions as "falling" too? We fall in love, fall asleep, fall apart. Again, giving that sense of inevitability, that we can't control these things but despite our best efforts they happen to us. It also suggests the microcosm/macrocosm in action; these personal everyday experiences are reflecting a greater universal pattern of truth. I wonder if we knew that when we coined the phrases...

People often dream of falling when they're going through a challenging situation (loss of a job, caring for many dependants, studying for exams). Again, it usually indicates subconscious feelings of being out of control, hurtling towards a potentially disastrous end and not being able to do anything to stop it. At the same time we are also drawn to the excitement and exhilaration of falling. You only have to look at the popularity of roller-coaster and funfair rides to see that. There's that thing where a fall can stop time for you, where you become intensely present in the moment and a second seems to last a lifetime. It's almost as if we catch up with ourselves in the process of falling to such an extent that we can stand outside of it. We feel light and free from our physical bodies. It's a sanitised fall to a certain extent - we're securely strapped in, the ride is of a specified length and we know where we'll get off. Oh how we wish sometimes that everything in life was like that! The monster of control raises its ugly head again.

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