I never travel without my lightweight yoga mat. Tricia gave it to me as a birthday gift a while ago. Yoga always helps with jet lag, high altitude radiation fatigue and other road pains that nip at the flesh like summer flies.
On the road, say for instance, 700 miles south of the Tropic of Capricorn, one seeks the constant: like a Starbucks or Evian Water or 70% Lindt dark chocolate—thus, my yoga mat, and my favorite down pillow.
Though travel can stretch one’s good nature pretty thin, at times it may offer great insight into Life that would otherwise go unnoticed in the quiet comfort of your own home. I was one hour outside of Santiago, at the Monticello Hotel, poolside, stretching into a yoga posture called “The Triangle”. Not an exceptionally difficult pose, but for the life of me, I could not remain upright. With one hand on the ground and the other pointed skyward, I kept tipping and falling forwards or backwards, as if I was rocking on a small boat on a stormy sea. I soon realized that the absolutely clear, cloudless sky offered me no point from which to spot—spotting, as in dancers spotting to remain oriented while pirouetting. Nothing doing.
Even twenty-two years of yoga was no match for the wide, open, limitless sky. It struck me so clearly, that without a point of reference we are flailing about, lost in a void. I suddenly felt like I was sailing on a deep blue, endless ocean of space, moving fast, yet going nowhere, in light of no point A or B—no go-point, no endpoint, nothing to hang on to. In the next moment it also struck me that some great, inscrutable ‘Thing’ created the first point of reference, from which all other points are born or owe their existence to. It’s a frame of reference so obvious that we easily become blind to it, until that moment when it slips away. And in the face of total disorientation, dissolution of demarcations and frontiers that we tend to take for granted, Reality suddenly poked its bashful head out from behind the curtain and said, ”What say you to this?” Strange, that the first point of reference can only be seen or sensed for a fleeting moment when it has abandoned its post. Kind of like, ‘you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.’
Without the first point, there can be no others. We would find ourselves nowhere bound, floating in a universe of undifferentiated oblivion, for nothing was ever created that could imply, “here or there, “this or that”, “me or you”.
All things are measured by a standard, or an average born out of one thing’s relationship to another, or to the many. We are something only in relation to something else. As Lao-tzu put it, “short and long define each other.” I caught a quick but stirring glimpse of a world without any such yardstick by which to measure balance and stability, let alone existence as I’ve come to know it.
My accidental eye-opener was not the upshot of a heated religious debate, philosophical investigation, scientific theory, the contemplation of Evolution or Creationism, or Thor’s hammer hitting me over the head for that matter. It was simply a result of being dizzy and unable to orient myself without a point from which to lock on to.
Which brings me to Nassim Haramein, a controversial Swiss physicist who pointed out something interesting and slightly annoying to a bunch of his peers during a science conference. Haramien merely posed an innocent question about the model they had up on the screen for the Universe. It was a cluster of galaxies painted upon an expanding balloon. As a result of the balloon’s expansion, the galaxies were moving away from each other—a recognized theory. The image of the balloon, a metaphor for space, was being blown into or inflated by some nonspecific profile of a man. Nassim’s innocent query, referring to the generic image of the unceremoniously sketched man with his mouth placed over the balloon tip, was, in so many words, “Tell me, someone, who is that man, so conveniently depicted, blowing up the balloon? . ..According to the laws of physics, whose lungs are contracting in order for the balloon to expand?”
Happy Thanks and love to all