October 30, 2015

Homeostasis

By In musings, quotations

“Stars are like nuclear reactors. They take a fuel and convert it to something else. Hydrogen is formed into helium, and helium is built into carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, iron and sulfur—everything we’re made of.  All the material in our bodies originates with that residual stardust, and it finds its way into plants, and from there into the nutrients that we need for everything we do—think, move, grow.”* Elementally stardust forms the backbone architecture of our being but, continually replenishing these elements for our regeneration, and generation of necessary complex compounds, alone is not enough. Luckily, stardust also forms the backbone of the plants that continually provide gaseous oxygen for us to breath but, as over fifty percent water we also need water and salt to survive. From our aquatic predecessors and the opposite end of the stars to sea level spectrum;  “in a way you can say that after leaving the sea, after all those millions of years of living inside of the sea, we took the ocean with us. When a woman makes a baby, she gives it water, inside her body, to grow in. That water inside her body is almost exactly the same as the water of the sea. It is salty, by just the same amount. She makes a little ocean, in her body. And not only this. Our blood and our sweating, they are both salty, almost exactly like the water from the sea is salty. We carry oceans inside of us, in our blood and our sweat. And we are crying the oceans, in our tears.” – Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram, 373

We can no longer claim to be disconnected from the world, or universe, we inhabit. Its fluidity is within and around us and we are destined  to remain subject to its volatility and  the impermanence of its stars. Unsteadiness and imbalance naturally follow and come readily to everyone without sparing me. As an often witness to the composure of friends in the face of larger-than-daily life triggers I admire them and feel gratefully untested but also wary and woefully unaware of where this secret storehouse of resilience resides. Perhaps like the repository of oxygenated blood stored in the spleen of a seal, released aptly for the final energetic push to surface for air, but remaining a repository until we need to get out from under water. I recently tried to speak, rather teach, about what I’ll now write, unfortunately like all spoken word it stressed and shook me more than the last earthquake I felt. In hindsight, it wouldn’t have been suitable to present on the nature of balance without stepping outside of it myself. It wouldn’t have been suitable to try to teach, while naive, the nature of feedback loops and the endless drive toward homeostasis without one of my own control systems failing. Needless to say without this instance, what follows may never have come to fruition and if it had the tone would have been more didactic and grandiose, and overall, assuredly shorter. This imbalance demanded investigation; in turn and time revealing the inextricable link  and disheartening disconnection between information and transformation and, the bridge between them creating the path above or around the turbulence, via equanimity.


*Karel and Iris Schrijver, interview by Simon Worrall, How 40,000 Tons of Cosmic Dust Falling to Earth Affects You and Me, National Geographic,  January 28, 2015. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/150128-big-bang-universe-supernova-astrophysics-health-space-ngbooktalk/ 

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