Monday, December 03, 2007
Nature Knows Better
I’ve just come back from Memphis, for the holiday and an extra surge of support as my Mother went into the hospital. The week was a powerful tunnel of energy complemented by the novel I was reading en route, The Theory of Clouds by Stephane Audeguy. As my mother strained for breath, bending over, laboring over each step, I felt the energy of her life within her - that beautiful spirit of life she lives, and the forms of clouds came with it. Memories of my mother’s week stay with me along with images from the novel. Audeguy writes about why Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo was “meteorology’s revenge.” Years earlier an aristocratic scientist came to Napoleon to explain cloud classifications. Napoleon didn’t understand the importance of it (the relationship of this scientist’s knowledge to his own reality of the moment!), and even made fun of the man and his nuanced descriptions of cloud formations and movement. Napoleon mistrusted this new science. What the chevalier learned was that the new order was not open to serious thought. He never came back to court, the story reports. An indifference to weather is the crowning ego’s aggression in thinking it knows best. Waterloo remains in our collective minds a monumental symbol of defeat, death, sorrow, triumph for some, and humanity helping humanity for others. Then think of this: military genius created orphans and widows across Europe.
One sentence is a kernel for my relationship with Audeguy’s words: “Napoleon had not understood the point of it (cloud classification) - or understood that greatness of spirit sometimes involves accepting things with no immediate practical utility.” (84) This, to me, means vision, an open mind and heart. True Form knows function, and this is one way to define practicality, efficiency. Earlier A. writes, “Humanity could only be obliterated by self-destruction.” Nature knows better. When inventions eclipse the inventor, we have accepted the utility of the invention? When creations know the energy of life as their own, their function and utility is meaningful. Children learn this as they grow; parents know this as their children are born and grow. The cycle continues. The book brings in more examples of how memories are created, hidden, brought back to life.
This week my parents helped remind me of the power of the energy of life (as energy and matter in motion and change) and the love of life. I love to feel the kindred spirits of knowledge-seekers that lead to our knowing the patterns of life as human nature learns to be with Nature as we share the energy of evolution and change. Earlier this week as I listened and took in the energy of those whose focus is taking care of patients, I felt the boundaries of that world, especially the gate which is made of our belief in drugs as our way of addressing the body’s needs. Our intention is to “take care of,” to be sure all signs are stable and following the pattern of “back to normal,” yet our idea and understanding of “normal” is relative to that world as we have known it. We trust what we can control. We mistrust what our senses help us to know – because we have relegated (separated) our “sense of science” into what we call Fact. The chevalier knew what Napoleon didn’t – the relationship of weather to all else. Some doctors acknowledge the basic foundation of Nutrition as something we too often ignore. But what does “nutrition” mean? It seems to them to mean that we must have the nutrients of food to keep us strong, to help our body heal – and that medicine will not work as well without the absorption of food. An equation of “healing” without medicine doesn’t seem to exist. I only mean to think “aloud” about this world we have created and why.
As I write this I have tissue beside me to blow my nose, since I have the remains of a cold. These levels of symptoms remind me, too: pay attention to the weather – internal and external. I remember my mother’s hands, black and blue with needles and memories of needles, fingers laced across her stomach. Her tiny blue veins were like little branches against a mottled sky. I felt the intensity of her vision, of her determination and appreciation of life. With hers, she enhanced mine – we shared the energy of these moments because they were real as energy. These are all permeable fields: We are energy and matter. As my internal temperature fluctuated with the air vent flow, as Mom tried to be comfortable beneath her coat and thin warmed blankets, monitors hummed and machines outside made more noises. I felt sad yet strong, determined to be present, not half-there. It was easy. I felt fully formed in that moment. I had visions of others’ dying, a friends’ mother whom I loved, sirens waxing and waning, and this time I felt the terrible music of instruments set up to play in such a world. Food, air, and water, I remember, are the elixirs of life, and love is the true chemical basis of creation and change. This may sound fanciful and simplistic, but within this energy is the way to finding the Facts of Life that support health and healing. The science of life supports life in all forms. From this basis the work of research, learning, and application that lasts can begin.
Some of the personalities written about in Audegy’s novel are disappointed by a lack of enthusiasm for their expanding insights – and the point is made: inventing something before it is technically feasible is deemed failure in the sciences. The utility of Nature’s knowing itself and our own utility of function in relationship to Nature we still miss. Cyclones, floods, drought, fire – all are front-page news these days, as is disease. We continue to hammer away with the same tools, variations of the same theme, feeling strong in our determination to prevail despite it all. I admire the courage and strength used in rebuilding, regrouping, keeping families together, creating families. My week’s experience – Thanksgiving with my family, then the hospital environment – brought visible more clearly to me what Presence means as physical support in times of need, how all energy is real and always making itself known, the beauty and strength of love through times of challenge and change. We ease transitions for ourselves through our experiences in ways far greater than our conscious minds are aware of, and I am grateful for this. We must trust the new science of the old philosophers-physicians-scientists who knew that we must first “do no harm,” and that we are part of Nature. We must re-think support, and "harm," life and death. Thank you, those of you who tend the sick and comfort those who are suffering. Compassion is truly an art which shows science the way.