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    • #18110
      Paul met Debbie

      We were never not born

      I sat down to write this with an empty mind and no plan or subject. But the mind is always looking for something to notice and cling to. And on reading the date, 6 March, it immediately associated to “7 March” which is, as it told me then, “the birthday of your sister”. Well, there it is. Now I know what to write about. Or do I?

      What is a birthday? It is a convention. As a society, we have made the observation that a person is born on the day that he/she comes out of the womb of the mothers body. There could have been other proposals. Like the day that the sperm and the egg united together and formed the first complete human cell. Or the day that mom and dad (or whatever genders you want to substitute for these concepts) looked at each other with a twinkle in the eye and a baby in the heart. Or the day that mom and dad first met, or that their parents first met, or … etcetera. All of these things are causal to our birth and in a way, contributed to the birthday. So, in this approach, we were never not born. But this is unpractical. But even if we cling to our own definition, one could argue about the exact time of birth. The moment that the head of the baby appears? But what when he comes buttock first (4% chooses this surprising presentation)? The moment she is completely clear of the body of the mother? And then, before of after the cutting of the ambilocal cord? You see, that’s what happens when you want to define natural happenings in words. You run into trouble and borders.

      There are indeed societies that made other choices than we did. Less scientific choices. More romantic choices. Especially beautiful I always found the birthday story of “an African Tribe”. In this tribe, as the story goes, “the birth date of a child is counted not from when they were born, nor from when they are conceived but from the day that the child was a thought in its mother’s mind. And when a woman decides that she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree, by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song of this child, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love to physically conceive the child”.

      It is a beautiful thought, but not more than this, because not much of the story seems to be very true. If you want to know more about it, look here. Don’t be disappointed, it is still a beautiful thought.

      But of course, as I pointed out, even without stories like these, it is obvious that trying to pinpoint the moment of anything happening, is a fruitless as trying to dig a hole in the ocean with a spade. It is the human mind in its limitations and arrogance that tries to “know” something and label it. Time, place, speed, movement: in reality they are immeasurable. Nature is immeasurable. There are no boundaries, all is one. One can throw out a net in the sea and look at the fish that are caught in it, and define “fish” as a creature that comes from the sea and is larger than 3 inches. But that is only true because the mazes of the net were of a certain size. With different mazes, other definitions will arise.  And it is like this with everything we observe in the universe, and of the universe. With light, we can see objects as small as the wavelength of light allows for. Then, we have to think of other ways of looking, for instance with sound, or with electromagnetic waves of shorter wavelength than visible light. But even then, we only catch what we set ourselves up for to catch. And after that, the appearance has to be understood by our mind, with all of its limitations. And after all, the origin of all of the Universe is in each of us, and in everything. How could we ever point to this in words or labels, without separating the nature out of it? Thinking is Denaturalization.

      Well, with this little contemplation it is the same. Words can only convey so much, and my editing program points me to the end of this page. So, best to end here and be quiet (Ramana Maharshi). And wish my little sister a beautiful 60th birthday (or whatever conforms to her own definitions of the occasion). She and I exist, apparently. That is the only thing we “know” for sure.

      Or do we?

    • #18134
      Tim Blowfield

      Thanks Paul, you wrote that well. The African tribal story may not always evolve into reality but it is still inspirational. And the definition of ‘fish’ – well I rarely have caught one. They are a bit like my uncle’s potato crop: there were some as big as marbles, some as big as peas and then there were all the little ones!

      Born? Is it when the head first appears or when the whole baby is out? And as for coming out backwards feet first, well …………………….    A colleague of mine, a vet, had a 3 am phone call from a frantic human midwife whose mare was foaling: “Come quick! The mare is having a foal and the feet are coming first” she screamed. Owen rolled over and sleepily said “Followed 6″ behind by the nose!” Sure enough when she went out to the mare the foal was on the ground and the mare was cleaning it.  That’s how it is with mares.  Different but still wonderful.

    • #18135
      Tim Blowfield

      I have a pen holder on my desk with the verse on it
      “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind

      One cannot help wondering what is indicated by an empty desk”.

      • #18137
        Paul met Debbie

        Thanks Tim!

        Food for thought indeed. Thought for an empty mind is like food for an empty stomach. And fasting is not unhealthy every now and then. It depends on which thoughts are involved. When we fast on the thoughts of  “I, Me, Mine” , there is more space for thoughts of “This, Here, Now”. Like food, it is all about the quality of the stuffing. Let’s eat healthy stuff and think healthy thoughts. Mens sana in corpore sano.

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