Forever Young, Forever Old, Forever Blown Away
By Wayne Saalman
[Photo by Nick Owuor]
TO BE FOREVER YOUNG is an impossibility. Or is it? Certainly from a common sense, down-to-earth, perspective it is indisputably that way. Maybe, though, that’s only because we are forever old from the very day we are born.
Scientists say that the atoms in our bodies were, by and large, already present when the Earth formed some 4.5 billion years ago.
The heavier atoms, like the carbon in our flesh and the oxygen in the water in our bodies, were made inside of stars which exploded and then spread at random across space to eventually become part of our solar system. It is estimated that such atoms were created at least seven billion years ago, quite possibly even longer. The lighter atoms in our bodies, such as hydrogen, have been around since shortly after the birth of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago.
We should all stop and think about that on occasion in order to fully understand ourselves and our world. We might begin, perhaps, by looking down at our hands and studying them. The atoms that make up those hands are billions of years old! The eyes with which we see our hands are billions of years old. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we consume… All of these things are billions and billions of years in age.
In other words, life as we know it is simply a structurally reconfigured — and fleeting — ancient wonderment of time.
Consider the significance of that. Once upon another day, the atoms in our bodies were a part of other things in this world. “Our” atoms were scattered across the globe and helped comprise creatures like protozoa, sea slugs and salmon. They helped form snakes, lizards, pterodactyls, dinosaurs, sharks, whales and other mammals. They were in the soil, in the air, in the streams, rivers and oceans of the Earth. They were in those “people” we call Neanderthals and then in former members of our own species, Homo Sapiens.
Yes, the atoms in our bodies were once in other people and those people lived and loved, and labored, and looked to the future the same as we do today.
The fact of the matter is our bodies — in scattered form — have been around the world many times, cycling and recycling their way through the biosphere, through vast numbers of centuries and millenniums before becoming the human body each of us happens to commandeer.
When this fact is considered deeply enough, even a ninety year old person can easily be viewed as being quite physically young! After all, what is ninety years set against ninety million or nine billion years?
To be young in spirit, of course, is down to attitude, but what is “spirit”?
Spirit is consciousness and, as bizarre as it may seem, the consciousness that facilitates our intelligence may be even older than the billions-of-years-old body that we inhabit. Certainly, that is what mystics, sages and yogis believe based on the insights that they claim to have directly learned in a “metaphysical” manner.
Here is another word that causes confusion to so many.
The word metaphysical means “above or beyond the physical”. Metaphysical knowledge is transcendent in nature, which admittedly makes it immeasurable. If there is such a thing, however, it does imply that consciousness is not only beyond physicality, it is quite possibly timeless in nature, for scientists agree that it is the material world’s activities that constitute time as we know it.
This might mean that consciousness is sourced in a dimension that exists outside of time altogether. Perhaps this dimension is eternity itself.
What we can definitely state is that the manner in which we ascertain the age of all things on the Earth is based on scientific analysis. Scientific materialists do not accord the mystics, sages and yogis any measure of veracity for their conclusions, despite the fact that neuroscientists admit, straight out, that they do not know nor fully understand how consciousness actually arises as an epiphenomenon of electrochemical brain activity.
Physicists do accord validity to the existence of other dimensions, however, even if that validation does come about via mathematical equations and not owing to any form of measurable materiality as such.
So that’s the short and the sweet of being forever young and forever old, and personally I am forever blown away — awestruck — by facts such as these.
This universe of ours is quite simply a realm of enchantment, an enigmatic multidimensional plane of sheer wonderment; one that stretches the imagination to the stars, to distant galaxies, to the quasars and beyond… Perhaps all of the way to eternity and back.