What We’re Made Of

Today was a good day. I have no complaints, except that my stomach was a little upset, but that’s no biggie.

Right now I’m sitting at the kitchen table, writing. My aunt and uncle and cousin are chatting together around me. I feel something more than words flowing between us.

I read a book once, called “This Connection of Everyone With Lungs” by Juliana Spahr. I love the title. And her writing at least partially inspired my long poem “Carbon Lung” which was my honors thesis in college. Here’s my interpretation of the “connection of everyone with lungs”: every animal breathes. We all exchange gas, be it through lungs or other organs, CO2 for Oxygen, over and over. What we breathe out, others breathe in. And besides those of us with lungs, plants also exchange gas, and they take our CO2 and exchange it for Oxygen. We are intimately connected through our breathing with every other living thing on the planet. What a thought, eh?

But the connection is more than just a question of air, atmosphere, gas exchange, or respiration. There’s something below the surface, something outside the realm of what modern science can explain. How is it that I have had a dream about an event and the next day that exact event occurs? How is it that I have a sudden urge to call a friend and hear from them later that at that exact moment they were in desperate need of help? It seems to me that we are connected to one another by a substance unheard, unseen, fabulously strong and resistant.

Although I have no real understanding of what this might be, my thoughts today are about energy. In my study and practice of Tai Chi, I am learning a new concept of energy. Besides general western idea of energy – you know, kinetic, chemical, potential, etc – I am learning about how much of the eastern world (China, specifically) views Chi (the Chinese word for the energy within our bodies). Our Chi is the life force that sustains us both physically and spiritually. It is tied to our breathing and when it is out of balance, our health suffers. Much of traditional Chinese medicine is concerned with balancing the Chi so that the two forces Yin and Yang are equal, and therefore the body is healthy. Many things can cause an imbalance in one’s Chi. Anything we put into our bodies affects our Chi. Foods, drinks, drugs, etc. But our minds are also involved. If we are holding onto a grudge, immersed in shame, or deeply depressed, that also affects our Chi.

There are many ways to help balance this energy, one of which is the practice of Tai Chi (and I can tell that already after a little more than a week, my physical and mental energy is more in balance than it has ever been). Besides Tai Chi, Chinese medicine would recommend herbal supplements, teas, and so forth. I’m pretty excited to say that my new primary care health clinic has a Naturopath and a Chinese Medicine specialist in house. Pretty awesome.

But I digress…

I was talking about how our energy connects us to one another.

I think that if this concept of Chi has any validity (which I believe it does) then our energy must be connected to the energy of those around us. When we form relationships we are connecting our Chi with the Chi of those around us. (by the way, I’ve never read this anywhere, and I think I’m just making it up, but if anyone has heard this before, let me know) Perhaps as we become close to people, especially family, friends, lovers, even enemies…perhaps we create threads of energy that connect us all. Maybe each human being looks like the center of a giant network of energy that binds us to all the life with which we come in contact.

Maybe. I don’t know.

But I do know that at our most basic level all our matter is really just vibrating energy particles that are moving in harmony. Everything around us is made of the same thing – energy is what we’re made of.

If this is true (and I really believe it is), what is the impact on our lives?

I believe I am connected to all of you reading this. That through the interchange of my writing and your reading,   our energies become linked. We form a web, a community, a network that transcends time and space. We are our own world wide web. And if that is true then I must try and find compassion within myself for all living things, human, animal, and plant alike.  I must recognize that my energy affects those around me, and that their energy affects me.

This concept is still so new to me, and so “far out”, that I can’t quite contain it, can’t quantify it. It defies conventional thought.

I want to end this post with a final question that I hope people will respond to via comment or by going to my Connect page. What do you do to try and improve your connection with the world around you?

Thanks for reading everyone. I know this post is a little conceptual in comparison with the rest, but I appreciate you bearing with me on this experimental journey of mine.




One response to “What We’re Made Of

  1. What a fabulous topic, Nathan, and one I’ve been interested in and studying for some time. It is said that our first language was telepathy (preverbal stage), and when we developed language, we lost our telepathic abilities to a large extent, but we still hold the capacity for telepathic communication. This makes sense to me when we consider that everything is simply energy vibrating at varying frequencies. We also know that our energetic bodies are much larger than our physical bodies, so when we have our “antenna” up, we can feel the energy of others around us. We are lifted up by some people’s energy and brought down by others. Since energy isn’t subject to the linear concepts of time and space, your energy picks up on it when a person you care about is in need, and since everything is free-flowing energy, we can feel our connection with everything and everybody when we are open to it and not blocking it with our thoughts and feelings. One of the best descriptions I’ve ever read of how we block our energy is in Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul, chapter 7, Transcending the Tendency to Close. The whole book is so great as he’s talking about how we free our energy, and thus free ourself. In answer to your question, what do we do to experience our interconnectedness, this is my practice: learning to keep my energy open. This is often difficult when my thoughts are ones of separation and defense. But, awareness and practice are what bring about the shift. I look forward to continued conversations!

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