Gravity is Love. Love is Gravity.

Gravity is unconditional love. Unconditional love is gravity. They are a universal—and maybe even multi-universal—constant.

Gravity

Sir Isaac Newton discovered the existence of an attractive force between two objects: gravity. He also discovered that this gravitational force between two objects could be measured using the mass of each object and the distance between the two objects. The result was a formula called Newton’s law that, today, is a foundation of physics:

F = Gm 1 m 2 / r 2

The bigger an object is, the more gravitational force it has. In addition, the closer two objects are, the stronger their gravitational force will be on each other.

earth_sun_gravity_orbitWith that formula, we can measure the gravitational force that the Sun has on the Earth. The Sun’s huge mass and close proximity produces a gravitational force strong enough to pull Earth and all of the other planets in the solar system towards it so that they orbit the star.

Even though the Sun’s gravity is many times stronger than Earth’s, people and animals are not flying out into space to orbit the sun because Earth is much closer to us than the Sun and our mass is puny compared to that of our home planet.

moon earth gravity tidesSimilarly, we can measure the gravitational pull the Moon and Earth have on each other. The Earth’s larger mass means that the Moon will orbit the Earth.

However, the Moon’s gravitational force does have an influence on Earth: it tugs at the tides in our oceans creating high and low tides.

Gravity is everywhere in our universe because there are objects spread throughout space. The gravity of suns pulls planets and, sometimes, smaller suns into their orbits. Entire galaxies exert a tremendous gravitational force that can attract smaller galaxies around them.

The largest objects in the universe, galaxy clusters, also have the largest mass; therefore, they exert the strongest gravitational force. Our home, the Milky Way galaxy, is part of a small cluster of galaxies called the Local Group. Our Local Group is part of a larger cluster of galaxies, the Virgo Cluster, which in turn is part of a much bigger supercluster that astronomers have recently named Laniakea, which means Immeasurable Heaven in Hawaiian.laniakea_homesupercluster

The Milky Way is the blue dot at the right edge of Laniakea in the image above. The white filaments indicate the motion of the galaxies towards the centre of the supercluster, the Great Attractor, the area where all the filaments intersect.

Here is a wonderful, short video about Laniakea and our place in it:

Unconditional Love

Like gravity, unconditional love is an attractive force that can be measured—although not with a mathematical formula, at least not yet.

force unconditional love heart personHave you ever noticed that people with big and open hearts attract a lot of people around them? The bigger their heart (like mass for gravity) and the more open it is (like distance for gravity), the greater their unconditional love and the more people will gravitate around them.

Some well-known people with big, open hearts who attract or attracted thousands and millions of people include Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Amma Mata Amritanandamayi and Buddha. Millions of everyday people are loving and compassionate and attract others; I can think of a few in my circle and I’m sure you can too.

When we talk about the size and the openness of a heart, we are not talking about its physiological characteristics. Rather, we can measure the ‘mass’ and ‘distance’ of a heart by its influence on the world around it.

For instance, how many people, animals, objects and places has that person positively touched and influenced? How many of those were heavily influenced, and on an ongoing basis or just once? How many were lightly influenced, and on an ongoing basis or just once? How many are found in that person’s small inner circle or in the larger world?

The people with big hearts who we know personally have a strong, positive influence within their families and communities. We can compare them to our small Local Group mentioned above that contains just a handful of galaxies. On the other hand, a person like Nelson Mandela had a very strong, positive influence on millions of people in South Africa and all over the world. We could compare people like him to a supercluster with a gravitational reach of thousands and even millions of galaxies.

Someday, we will find a way to measure the force of unconditional love, perhaps by measuring the physiological, electromagnetic reach of our heart as well as by defining criteria for the reach of our good deeds, thoughts and ideas in the world around us.

If we take a look around us, we can already measure the push and pull of our personal tides by observing the people, animals, objects and places around us.

Gravity defines our universeAxisMundi Simplest

All objects, big or small, have a gravitational force that influences other objects within reach.

Unconditional love defines our person and our world. 

All people have an attractive force that influences other people and objects within reach.

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Survival? Or Humanity?

How do we choose between our survival and our humanity?

I’m reading the fictional book Lucifer’s Hammer about the apocalyptic chaos created by pieces of a meteor that hit the Earth in multiple places. The gigantic chunks of meteor cause shifts in plate tectonics that trigger earthquakes. They displace ocean water and create mega-tsunamis that wipe out coastal regions and leave weeks of rain. And so on and so forth.

The book was written in 1977 so much of the context has to be viewed from that lens. However, some ethical dilemmas posed in that book remain valid today including the tension between your survival and your humanity.

Residents look for personal belongings amidst the rubble of their homes in Bhaktapur.

(Nepal earthquake. Daniel Berehulak/The New York Times)

In the book, most of the characters agree that, to survive in an apocalyptic world, you have to set aside your humanity. You have to leave struggling people behind. You have to hoard and to protect your food and other resources. In an apocalyptic situation, your resources cannot be shared because where do you draw the line when hundreds, thousands and millions will be in need for months, for years? If you want to be a survivor, you have to be selfish.

Humans have evolved to be survivors. Our bodies are designed to want to survive. Our will pushes us to survive. How far will that survival instinct go to survive? To choose to help our children, families and friends over others’ survival?

Are we willing to sacrifice the lives of others? To turn away or even kill strangers or friends to save our families? Are we willing to turn them away and say, “They’ll have to find their own food. Maybe they’ll be okay.” Can we sacrifice their lives because we need to survive to govern or because we have the skills needed to rebuild or because our children need us? Can we make those decisions and still retain our humanity

Mega-Tsunami-image

Mega tsunami illustration. (Chris Wren/Kenn Brown)

Until we are in such a situation (hopefully, never!), it’s hard to say what we would do. My hope is that my humanity will never leave me. Is survival, either my own or my children’s, worth staining my heart? Is it my heart or my ego that decides I must survive because I will be needed. Do I want to survive at all costs?

My hope is that my heart will help me to make the right decisions, whatever those should be. Hopefully, I will have the will and the courage to listen to my heart in the midst of chaos and survival.

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Science & Spirit, Together

Science&SpiritTogether

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We Need Both Science & Spirit

We don’t have to choose between science or spirit. To be balanced, we and our world need both.

Science and spirit work together to help individuals to connect with their self and with their families and communities, and to grow in unison with their world as part of a larger unit. Both science and spirit help us to survive, to thrive and to stay healthy in all layers of our being.

Disclaimer: I do not belong to any religion or to any science. However, I am spiritual and I have an avid interest in science. From my perspective, boundaries imposed by either religion or science are incomprehensible because our knowledge and understanding about the universe and about our self continue to evolve. Evidence is definitely important but let’s not automatically discount possibility.

Definition of Spirit

The definition of spirit will differ depending on who is providing it. My definition for spirit is very general: spirit is the non-physical aspect of all matter, including our body.

spirit_is_informationSpirit contains everything about its matter. Our spirit encompasses everything about our person: our experiences, our thoughts, our feelings, our actions, our responses, our creations, our dreams, our fears, our strengths.

The same can be said about animals, insects, plants, rocks, water and all other matter around us. Even though they may not all have thoughts, feelings, dreams, etc., all organic and inorganic matter interacts with its environment in some way; all matter has experiences and interactions of some kind.

All of matter’s information is recorded in its spirit. Science has yet to discover the constitution of spirit and how it might record and store its information, but I offer some hypotheses in previous posts: 

All matter in the universe and spirit are made from information stored as 0’s and 1’s (Do 0’s and 1’s in the universe give rise to our person?)

Information might be stored in our person and in the world around us by the spin of particles (Can spintronics explain physiological information storage?)

Healing using Science & Spirit

At Continual Threshold, our self-directed healing approach blends both science and spirit using ancient knowledge and the latest research. The more research I do into comparative mythology, religion, physics, astrophysics and particle theory, the more evidence accumulates that demonstrates the similarities between scientific and spiritual knowledge.

Axis Mundi: Death - Transformation - Life
The axis mundi is a vertical line that connects what’s above with what’s below. Movement up and down the line is mediated in the middle by a place of transformation and creation.

At the root of all knowledge, I keep finding the axis mundi. The axis mundi, the foundation of my self-directed healing approach, hails from both science and spirit.

The Axis Mundi & Spirit

The axis mundi, Latin for world axis, is an ancient spiritual concept found in many cultures around the world throughout thousands of years. The world axis is a vertical line that connects everything above with everything below, for instance in a person, a part of a person (like an organ or a chakra), a tree or a mountain. 

The middle of the axis mundi symbolizes a place of creation and transformation. It is the bridge that links everything above with everything below.

Major chakras

 

In a person as a whole, the middle or place of creation is the heart because it is in the middle of the major chakras. The core or reproductive centre  can also be viewed as a place of creation because it is found in the middle of the body.

 

 

man side view with chakra axis mundiIn addition, each chakra in our body, each organ, each bodily system, each cell, each particle, and every other part of us also has an axis mundi and its middle is a place of creation.

Our body and being contain layers upon layers of axis mundi with places of creation. We continually create our person with movement up and down the billions of axis mundi in our body and being. This up and down movement results in billions of micro and macro moments of death and life (or negative and positive, or up and down, or yin and yang, or release and growth) that are necessary to more movement, more transformation and more creation. 

AxisMundi Simplest

 

The axis mundi with its centre of creation is at the heart of all matter.

 

The Axis Mundi & Science

The axis mundi is also found all around us in the physical world. It is at the heart of all matter.

spintronics electron spin

 

Particle

 

An electric current, particles, the Earth, our sun, black holes, all have an axis mundi with a centre of creation in their middle. With movement up and down their axis mundi—through a current or spin—they create, release and create anew.

Science & Spirit in Small Scale, Daily Healing

When an electrical current flows unobstructed through a wire, it produces a stronger magnetic field than when it meets with resistance. Similarly, when you have unobstructed, flowing movement throughout your vertical axis mundi, you exude strong creative energies: you are able to create the person you want to be and the world in which you want to live.

To obtain free-flowing movement up and down your axis mundi, strengthen your connection with your body and being and with the world around you.

Axis Mundi PersonThe three self-directed, healing strategies in Small Scale, Daily Healing are designed to do just that: they strengthen your connection with your self and with the world around you in all time and in all space, and in no time and in no space.

When you become strongly connected and you experience less resistance to movement, you become more grounded, more resilient and more confident. You become more balanced at all levels and it becomes easier to maintain an open heart.

And when you have an open heart, boundaries are non-existent.

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Visualizations to Fight Flus & Colds

Over the past few years, I’ve been trying different techniques from my self healing approach to fight colds and flus and I think I’ve finally figured it out. These techniques do not necessarily get rid of a cold or flu altogether but they can greatly reduce the severity of the symptoms and the length of the illness.flu

My husband caught his first flu of flu season and, being the generous soul that he is, promptly shared it with me. As soon as that sore throat hit me, I started right away with my visualizations. I’ve had success in past years with minimizing the impact of a cold/flu and I wanted to refine my approach even more to see if I could eliminate the bug altogether.

I realized that the key was to reduce or eliminate all stress and blockages, so the night everything started and the sore throat hit, I repeated each of the following many times:

  • Balanced each major chakra with focus on heart and throat
  • Balanced each of the light frequencies all around my being
  • Infused each major chakra with unconditional love with focus on heart and throat
  • Line of Calm through each major chakra with focus on heart and throat
  • Repeatedly Opened My Heart to keep heart open, especially when negative thoughts or stress crept in
  • Allowed everything that wasn’t serving my highest good to fall into the earth
  • Ran golden energy up and down through my being until the energy felt fluid and flowing cleanly

This might sound like a lot of work but each visualization only took a few seconds with the exception of running the energy and balancing the light frequencies which required one to two minutes each, respectively. I did most of the techniques while lying in bed at night. It was all quite manageable considering the alternative…body blue line throat

Since then, I have been doing the techniques above just once a day, usually in the morning or evening when I am lying in bed. In addition, I repeat the Open Your Heart technique during the day if I feel any stress or negativity to keep the stress from impacting my immune system. I also do the Line of Calm in my throat if it feels tight and I open that chakra.

Has it worked??

The cold/flu is still there but it is more of a slightly annoying, underlying condition instead of a full blown illness. It really is not affecting my activities or sleep. 

After four days, the cold/flu seems to be racing through my system much more quickly than my poor husband who, two weeks later, is still feeling the effects.

However, time will tell and I will continue to do my visualizations and to monitor the illness. I’ll post an update here in a week or so. 

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Terrorists: Support Facts not Fear

I do not support terrorists.

I support a person’s right not to be accused of being a terrorist because of their religion, race or country.

I support facts. This is not about political correctness or lefties or softies. It’s about facts:

  • Terrorists cannot be profiled solely by religion, race or country.
  • Terrorists wield religion or ideology as a marketing tool, as propaganda, to recruit people to their cause. They are selling a dream… always at the expense of others.
  • Terrorists’ goal is to propagate fear and hatred to alter the status quo towards their own ends.
  • History has shown over and over that any religion and any ideology can be used to create and to feed fear and hatred.
  • Even if terrorists’ goal is a religious government, not all people who follow that religion are automatically terrorists. (Reconstruction Theology in the U.S. calls for the creation of a Christian theocratic government, it has links to paramilitary training camps, and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh had ties to both. That does not make all Christians terrorists.)

Fear won't lead my heartI do not support people who propagate hatred and fear – on whichever side they may be.

Hatred and fear beget more hatred and fear and division. Hatred and fear serve no one… except the terrorists.

I do not support terrorists.

It’s okay to be afraid… but I won’t let fear lead my heart. #fearwontleadmyheart

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Terrorists: Dispelling Fear & Myth through Knowledge

The latest terrorist attacks in Paris have generated many comments and discussions about the closing of borders to Syrian refugees, the bombing of ISIS strongholds and the impact of Islam on society. Perhaps the questions we should be asking are: “Who are terrorists and how do they become terrorists?” and “How do we nip terrorism in the bud?”

Brenda’s note about this article: Normally, the Touchy Subjects blog covers topics that deal with health and self healing. The Paris attacks and the terrorism threats around the world have created a lot of fear and uncertainty in many of us. While these are quite normal reactions, fear can cause unhealthy stress and emotional distress. The purpose of this article is to shed some light on why terrorists do what they do so that this knowledge can help to dispel the fear and the myths around them.

The Problem with Defining Terrorists by Country, Religion or Ideology

In past decades, terrorists (both non-state and state-sponsored) have come from many countries and ideologies from Nazi Germany, the Rwanda genocide, the massacres in Bosnia and, most recently, ISIS and other Islamic extremists. In addition, many terrorists originated from places other than the source country: during the Second World War, Nazis had followers from Poland who brutally assaulted their own people and, today, ISIS attracts members from many Middle Eastern countries but also developed nations such as the U.S., France, Belgium and Canada.

KeepCalmImMuslimNotTerroristTo a certain degree, we can define terrorists by their country of origin and/or by their religious beliefs or ideologies but, before long, that definition falls apart. It’s a matter of simple logic, for example: Even if all Islamic terrorists were Syrians and Muslims, not all Syrians and not all Muslims would be terrorists.

John Horgan, an Irish psychologist and expert on terrorism, explains how religion is less important to the recruitment of new members than to the continued engagement of existing members:

I certainly think the role of Islam, and religious ideology more generally, is vastly overstated as a mobilizing agent for involvement in political violence. I believe it is far more relevant in terms of sustaining commitment and continued engagement with a group.[1]

So, if religion or ideology are not the main attractors for those recruited to become terrorists, what is? And once individuals are members of a terrorist group, how does religion or ideology then become a tool to keep them engaged?

According to Horgan, many people who hold radical views will never become terrorists and many terrorists did not have radical views before they became terrorists. Based on existing research, social psychologist Stephen Reicher from the University of St Andrews, UK suggests that any person is capable of committing evil acts given the right (or wrong) context.[2]

Evidence suggests that many terrorists develop their radical views only after they have become involved with a group or with a recruiter for the group. To understand how this happens, we can look at the science behind our very human need to be a part of a group.

Our Need to be Part of a Tribe

Humans evolved in groups or tribes because being part of a group meant surviving. Our intense need to find and to identify with the values and beliefs of our tribe is built into our biology. Horgan says that people are initially attracted to terrorism because of big issues like alienation, shared anger, frustration, disillusionment and a sense of victimization by the action or inaction of others. Consciously or unconsciously, they seek out people who share their feelings and beliefs.

Recruiters for terrorist organizations prey on this need to share feelings and beliefs with someone. They often befriend alienated individuals and feed their anger, frustration or disillusionment. Then, they further lure people with stories of belonging, adventure, camaraderie, honour and becoming a part of something much bigger than themselves. The recruiters will say whatever they need to convince that person to join their group and their “crusade.”

young moroccan boy-isis

“ISIS isn’t shying away from using images of underaged fighters to market jihad abroad.” CBC online. Aug. 15, 2014.

It’s at this point that religion or ideology fills in the gaps. Like good marketers, recruiters and organizations will twist religious statements and beliefs to fit their goals. Young recruits and religious converts are particularly susceptible because they do not have the knowledge to rebut clichéd arguments.

We feel less empathy for people who are outside of our group. In extreme cases, such as joining a terrorist organization, identifying with a group can transform normal people into killers if they feel a duty to protect their group from outsiders. “What is truly toxic,” says Reicher, “is a construction of in-group and out-group which makes genocide an act of virtue and construes the killers as the most noble among us.”[3] Terrorism is the “you’re either with us or against us” mentality on drugs, really bad drugs.

Can bombs help us to fight terrorism?

In regards to ISIS, many people believe that bombing strategic, ISIS-held regions is a good way—maybe even the only way—to deal with them. However, in his blog for Scientific American, John Horgan (the science writer, not the terrorism expert) wrote:

I am not an absolute pacifist. Sometimes violence is required to stop greater violence (…) Will increased U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Syria make a bad situation worse? Recent history suggests that the answer is yes.

(…) Escalating U.S. force in the Mideast—far from taking us closer to world peace—would perpetuate militarism. Whenever the U.S. resorts to bombs and bullets to advance its agenda, it legitimizes the use of lethal force by others, including groups like ISIS.

One of the great ironies in debates about war and peace is that hawks view themselves as hard-headed “realists” and denigrate doves as soft-headed and delusional. The real delusion is thinking that U.S. military force—which over the last decade has exacerbated the terrible violence wracking the Mideast—can now dispel it.

An ”Off-Ramp” for Disillusioned Terrorists

Horgan (the terrorism expert) stated that disillusionment is common within terrorist groups. When the new recruits arrive and the promised adventure and dreams never materialize, disillusionment sets in—but, at that point, what can they do about it?

leaving terrorismIf they try to leave, they will probably not get far before being caught, either by someone from their group or by authorities—neither of which is a palatable option.

They live in fear that their disillusionment will be detected by the others in their group. It’s possible that some individuals become so scared and desperate that they are even more eager to “prove” their loyalty to their group or that they make radical choices such as volunteering for suicide missions.

According to Horgan, we “need to do a better job of providing ‘off-ramps’ not just for people who are on the road to terrorism in the first place, but also to those who have gotten themselves in a jam and want to get out before it’s too late. (…) We certainly need to do a far better job of showcasing accounts of repentant former terrorists who are in an ideal position to credibly undermine the allure of involvement in the first place.”

Using Group Mentality for Good

Reicher argues that we should use group mentality to our advantage by encouraging a group belief that we are not more virtuous than people outside our group. We can educate people in our group to be wary of black-and-white moral distinctions that create the Us versus Them mentality.

It is possible to resist and to overcome violent groups as a collective. When asked if the world will ever be free of terrorism, Horgan (the terrorism expert) replied that it “depends in part on States holding the moral high ground, formulating responses based on evidence, and not falling into the traps that terrorist groups are so clever at setting for States.”

In other words, let’s not give terrorists what they want: chronic fear, panic, retaliation, in-fighting, the perpetuation of ignorance, hatred of Muslims, revenge. These reactions will only create more fear, more fighting, more war, more terrorism.Fear won't lead my heart

As a collective, let’s show our governments that we are prepared to take the higher moral ground. Let’s show the
terrorists that, although we may be afraid (because that is a pretty normal response), we will not allow our fear to thwart our humanity and to guide our decision-making.

I may be afraid but I won’t let fear lead my heart.

#fearwontleadmyheart

References

[1] Scientific American blog online. Can Science Solve Terrorism? Q&A with Psychologist John Horgan. By John Horgan, the American science writer (no relation). March 2, 2015. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/can-science-solve-terrorism-q-amp-a-with-psychologist-john-horgan/

[2] New Scientist online. Is evil a disease? ISIS and the neuroscience of brutality. By Laura Spinney, a writer based in Paris, France. Originally published in print magazine issue 3047, 14 November 2015 as “Roots of Brutality.” https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22830471-000-syndrome-e-can-neuroscience-explain-the-executioners-of-isis/?utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=SOC&utm_campaign=hoot&cmpid=SOC%7CNSNS%7C2015-GLOBAL-hoot

[3] Ibid. New Scientist online. Is evil a disease? ISIS and the neuroscience of brutality.

 

Sources

New Scientist online. Is evil a disease? ISIS and the neuroscience of brutality. By Laura Spinney, a writer based in Paris, France. Originally published in print magazine issue 3047, 14 November 2015 as “Roots of Brutality.” Accessed online November 16, 2015. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22830471-000-syndrome-e-can-neuroscience-explain-the-executioners-of-isis/?utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=SOC&utm_campaign=hoot&cmpid=SOC%7CNSNS%7C2015-GLOBAL-hoot

Scientific American blog online. Can Science Solve Terrorism? Q&A with Psychologist John Horgan. By John Horgan, the American science writer (no relation). Originally published online on March 2, 2015. Republished on November 16, 2015. Accessed November 16, 2015. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/can-science-solve-terrorism-q-amp-a-with-psychologist-john-horgan/

Scientific American blog online. How Should the U.S. Respond to Terror? By John Horgan. Published November 16, 2015. Accessed November 16, 2015. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/how-should-the-u-s-respond-to-terror/

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