Friday, January 13, 2012

Winter, Physics and Rosanne Cash

As the weather has turned decidedly colder, accompanied by snow and strong winds, I find myself hunkering down today, mindful of my cold fingers and toes.  No, I'm not outside, I just can't seem to get completely warm these days.  But if this is downside of losing weight, I'll learn to embrace it (and perhaps buy more polypro).  I've had a fairly productive day at work and now I'm taking a lunch break so I thought I'd spend a little time here.

Thanks to the magic of  technology and the internet, as I write this I am listening to a podcast of Rosanne Cash on Krista Tippett's APM show "On Being".  (It's a very good program, please check it out if you have any interest in spiritual discussions.  Here's a link to the Cash interview:  I am learning that Rosanne Cash and I have a similar interest in a creative force that we glimpse, that organizes the world around us.  She's talked a bit about her love of fractals and quantum mechanics.  If you follow her on Twitter, you probably already share my belief that she'd be a lot of fun to hang out and chat with.  Or play music with (if you're also a musician).  This interview solidifies my suspicions in that area.

In the interview, Cash told Tippett "it took me well into my 20s and early 30s to really find something that was mine. And to realize that art and music was the kind of deity I was looking for.  That it was all there.  The source of all creativity, light enlightenment, beauty, revelation, inspiration, all those things were in art and music. So I said well that's good enough for me."

I wonder whether art and music are merely the manifestation.  From my limited exposure to quantum physics, I have gathered that the more scientists learn, the more it seems to point to the existence of what might be called "God".  The fascination I have with the potential synergy of science and religion is one reason that I recently purchased books by Michio Kaku and Lisa Randall.  I didn't take physics in school and I wish I had.  Everyone in my family who has taken it, loves it.  The boys have even both considered (or should I say, "are considering") majoring in physics in college.

I fully realize that some people seek the solace of religious because they have had difficult times and need God to get them through, or they carry guilt about the poor choices they've made so far and don't want to end up in Dante's Inferno.  I have always been interested in God, or what's out there, or the force, or whatever you want to call it.  Yes, it's true that as the planet shifts into another year (already has or soon will, depending on whose calendar you follow), I am reminded more often of my own mortality especially when I hear more frequent stories of friends having major health issues or major open heart surgeries or even of passing into the next realm.  But the fact that I'm growing older isn't suddenly triggering this fascination with religion.  It isn't related to mortality or my behavior or anything like that at all.  It's been there most of my life and it's pretty simple:

I am curious.  I am in awe.  I find it wondrous.

I feel that I'm coming into a very good year.  I suppose I always think that, being an optimist, but I also have good reason to be an optimist and I am grateful.  I have so much compared to so many - from the material and the physical to the emotional and cognitive.  I am lucky by accident of birth and by making my own luck.  My successes are owed to others and to my own efforts.  To which degree each played a role, I have no idea and in the end, don't think it really matters, they are probably very related, whether they appear to be on the surface or not.   To get down to the science of it, we humans are social animals. What's important to me is that I try do the best I can with what I have to work with, and that I do it with other people and with kindness and forgiveness and tenacity to others as well as to myself.  Sure, there's an element of continuous self-development in there too, along with a healthy dose of the moral yardstick with which I was raised.

I was raised a Catholic and while I have many disagreements with the Church in Rome (a topic for another post, another day perhaps), those teachings gave me a strong belief in treating others as I would have them treat me.  I know that I don't always live up to it, but that is the standard I use for my behavior in every one of my relationships, in every encounter I have.  Because of that, I don't have to worry that I'm getting religion right.  I know that I am.  And I can view science and mysticism and religion and spirituality as objectively as I think a subjective human can view these topics because my soul isn't at stake if I get it wrong.  And what I keep learning continues to inspire me, sparks my curiosity and never fails to leave me with a sense of awe and wonder.

With winter everything seems to slow down a bit.  So let the snowflakes fall and the winds roar if that's what they'll do today.  I'll continue to reflect then say my quiet prayers of thanksgiving and hope for others before moving on to my afternoon tasks.

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