Science and My Love of Being

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Christ / Science

I love science- the way it pries open the mind, the way it reveals the marbling of connection that courses through world like a vein of sparkling ore running deep through a mountain, the way it points to a destination without ever quite arriving.  When- after digging through the till, sifting, examining, illuminating, testing, and finally conceding the point- we admit our befuddlement, and we dare to ask the types of questions our previous world concept couldn’t bear, sometimes, we are rewarded with the lightning strike of understanding.  A hidden logic, embedded in the world, flashes across our consciousness.  A deeper order is revealed.  We realize the world is not what we had once envisioned it to be.  Meaning emerges as a palpable sensation, a field of goose bumps, a brush with the electrically charged skin of Mystery.

This is the beauty and the glory of science.  After years of patience, longsuffering efforts, trials and error, keen observation and highly creative, abstract thinking, this is the reward- a moment of discovery and revelation that changes our view of the world, or some slice of it, forever.  To hypothesize the existence of an order lurking behind the scenes that no one prior would have dared to imagine existed, and then to find it- to witness one’s ideas unfolding before you, in the indomitable language of Nature- is to share a secret with Nature, to have whispered back and forth with Her.  This conversation tickles the very core of who we are.

I love science, but part of my journey as a person has been to fathom out it’s place in the hierarchy of my own thought.  For the practitioner, science is the study of measurable things- of matter and energy and the ways they combine and interact.  As a being, however, I have found that I can only make sense of myself as an immeasurable, born of and forever living within, The One Whole Vast and Never Ending Immeasurable.  I have found I can only make sense of the physical world in the context of its being an artifact, a residue continuously born of the undefinable singularity- the hive of all Possibility- that is the Immeasurable.

Jesus captures this viewpoint beautifully in A Course of Love, when he says, “All that you now see are but symbols of what is really there before you, in glory beyond your deepest imaginings.  Yet you persist in wanting only what your eyes can see and hands can hold.  You call these things real, and all else  unreal.”  This is a fundamental misperception, however- an unnecessary restriction on our definition of what is Real.  Jesus also says, “To truly see is to begin to see the formless.  To begin to see the formless is to begin to understand what you are.”

What does this mean for my love of science?  What is the relationship of the reality of form to the Reality of Formlessness?  For myself, I see my immeasurability as the truth of who I am, of who we are, and the measurables as the clay we are sculpting, the language we are speaking, the transitory phenomena that make the invisible, visible.  I think largely we are fooled, however, by the incredible, (inhuman?) precision and repeatability of particular patterns or ordered laws of nature into believing the physical world is the fundamental level of order on which all others are based, perhaps because we think, “Nothing that is the product of volition, intelligence, or desire could be so trustworthy, so complexly beautiful, so simultaneously indecipherable and obvious…”  This conclusion is but a reflection of our incorrect assessment of the steadfastness and vastness of the ground of being on which all reality is based.  It is a reflection of our incorrect assessment of what it means to be human, and to dwell in a land of Ideas.

Were I called to the carpet to demonstrate the way a motive Formlessness orders the domain of the material, there wouldn’t perhaps be any clear evidence for the existence of the proverbial magic wand.  I could speak of Jesus until the cows came home, of what I have seen in the places in my life when nobody else was looking, but put me in front of a room full of people and dare me to transform a pitcher of water into wine, and well… you know…  Detractors would construct straw man tests such as these and beg of me to levitate wooden blocks with my mind, or heal the terminally ill at my leisure.  Were these requests not met, would my position be untenable?  Would it be illogical?

Why, when those who have used all power given unto them to experience powerlessness are given what they have desired, do they insist it proves there is no power?  As any scientist should know, no experiments fail- they simply reveal how a particular set of conditions unfolded.  Were all of the conditions known?  Perhaps not.  Said another way, have all of the mechanisms and variables of the Universe been elucidated?  Clearly not.  We are not, ourselves, extractable from the milieux of phenomena we call reality, from the needs both called for and met by the confluence of matter and energy in any particular wedge of time and space.  Furthermore, the needless rift between form and formlessness has yet to be fully healed.  While the relationship between the two remains only tenuously grasped, how could we fully realize the possibilities inherent within it?

We continue to be faced with a Mystery- both within and without.  My love of science is implicit to my love of being, but it does not eclipse it.  When I read statements such as this, from Nobel Laureate Ilya Prigogine, whose work tickles my soul, my smile wanes into a cringe.  It is, for me, one step too far.  In his book The End of Certainty, he writes, “We see that human creativity and innovation can be understood as the amplification of laws of nature already present in physics or chemistry.”  The amplification?

(At the same time, please know that Prigogine’s work, and that of his colleagues, is profoundly inspiring to me.  This is the paradox.)

This is, for me, where science oversteps.  I see in the laws of nature echoes of what is real, finite symbols of what is infinite, reflections that cannot help but remind us of what is true and forever existing “behind the scenes”- (perhaps “incarnating within the scenes”)?  There is a myth in science- the quest for a Theory of Everything- that I think echoes our own desire to be complete and whole as fragmentary, finite personalities.  We wish to know who we are, as individuals, separate from the whole, because we think it is possible for us to answer the question of who we are once and for all, to end our confusion, and to live in the land of reliability.  We never arrive there, however, without accepting that Mystery lies at the heart of who we are, without discovering in our individuality the Whole, and discovering in and as the Whole that only in the embrace of the Formlessness at our core can we ever find the certainty we seek.

I see in science a symbol of this same dilemma, a reenactment of this drama, and I wonder, how much more beautiful would science be, were it to give up on the notion of reaching completion, of ever possessing a Theory of Everything to wield like a wand?  Is this not a Fool’s Errand?  What would it show us were it to embrace the notion that discoveries will continue forever, unabated.  I wonder how much more beautiful it would be if we recognized in the symbols of Nature the words of an unending dialogue we are having with ourselves, about who we are, and who we desire to be?  I wonder what would be possible if we didn’t allow our science to determine the boundaries of our experience, but saw instead within it’s historical unfolding the irrefutable evidence of the fact that we have absolutely no idea… what… will happen… Next…

17 Comments

  1. Next… the fundamental unfolding of the inter connectedness of the natural, physical, scientific and spiritual. It will be a mind bender for many unless there is a sudden epiphany, It should be a grand moment. Bless Susan x

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    • Yes! I look forward to these grand moments of revelatory connectivity. And as you say, they will in truth come through on every channel. Wishing you a grand moment filled with all that you desire on your end.

      Michael

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  2. Recognize in the symbols of Nature the words of an unending dialogue we are having with ourselves…

    Goodness gracious, how much I am IN love with that conversation!

    Some days I feel like hard core science can be likened to desert. Does one absolutely need a detailed understanding to keep the metabolism and creation of life in the process of living? Well, no.

    However, in my corner of the adventure from time to time cracking into the sugar coating on the perfect creme brulee sometimes makes that living completely worth the effort of continuing to do (just have to keep an eye out for any propensities towards sugar additions developing which I hear rot the teeth masticating Truth 🙂 ), -x.M

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    • True, life happens oblivious to whether or not we understand it! We don’t need to understand it any more than we need to paint, or create beautiful buildings, or write blogs. But somehow, we are drawn to pick up the rock and look underneath it, and then we are in trouble because we inevitably discover… we don’t know how to make sense of what we encounter!

      It is a delicious desert to be sure.

      Michael

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  3. Thanks for this.
    Science “points to a destination without ever quite arriving…” An emphasis on the deductive, logical means of investigating Nature, while overlooking the inductive, intuitive way – the subjectivity we all have. The result is, science creates a working structure we tend to believe is nature and we’re not seeing Nature itself. It has cleared up a few things in my mind, I’m grateful…

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    • You are absolutely right that what science espouses often supplants the reality of Nature itself in our minds. I hadn’t realized that point was coming out of what I wrote, was approaching that point from somewhere else altogether in my thinking-feeling apparatus. It is a joy to be reminded… 🙂 Thank you…

      Michael

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  4. Having been in the STEM field for 12 years (biotech – micriobology, forensic DNA and medical genetics), I love science too.

    I’ve just put in an order to a few scientific companies so I can get middle daughter’s science project on the road…you can see other fun things I’ve done with them here:

    http://theexplorationstation.wordpress.com/

    I don’t have the mental stamina to go through heavy duty physics these days, but I do have a growing collection of physics books. I wish I had the time to dig into them.

    Anyway…I have an internet friend who was trying to take a stab at a Theory of Everything…

    Erik Andrulis…

    http://erikandrulis.wordpress.com/

    He’s a great guy…tho his works generated a lot of controversy. However, I love that he is trying to stick to his vision in the midst of the backlash to his career…and for that I commend him.

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    • Casey, I am somewhat familiar with Erik’s blog and work, though I probably don’t fully grok it at this point. I’ve followed his blog for several months now, and downloaded his paper and have read most of it twice. It is indeed really fascinating, and I second your commending someone for sticking to their vision.

      I’m just somewhat jaded by this Theory of Everything notion. The paradox I contemplate from time to time goes like this. On the one hand, I think the Theory of Everything is Love. Period. Love is the only “thing” that is truly real. Love communicating in relationship to itself gives rise to you and I, and to worlds. These have a very orderly and beautiful logic, a mathematical consistency if you will. They follow laws and behave in ways both mysterious and reliable. Put one hand on one end of this spectrum: you can’t really explain DNA with Love, not in a mechanistic sense. Put the other hand on the other end of this spectrum: you for damn sure can’t recover Love by starting with quarks, Plank dimensions, and Big Bangs. Where do these intersect?

      I find this to be a fascinating question. Where does the Formless realize its influence upon the Forming? I think science will continue to uncover marvelous answers to this question, if it is willing, answers that not only confirm the reality of Love, but can power toasters or cure diseases. Tangible outpourings. If it is willing…

      If we are willing…

      Michael

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      • I have to smile at the Stranger in a Strange Land reference (“grok”). I take it you read the book? One of my all time favorites.

        I’m probably going to go off on some weird tangent here…or maybe not. I’m not sure. But since you mentioned Love, I wanted to talk about it some.

        Quite honestly, I don’t know that I want scientific explanations for everything, especially Love. The explanations might gratify the mind, but they leave the soul cold. I don’t know that I want everything explained in scientific terms, even though I pursued a lot of scientific knowledge. Like the neurobiology/neurochemistry of falling in love is fascinating, but doesn’t come close to describing what it feels like to fall in love. And, to reduce a beautiful thing to mere brain chemicals takes the magic away.

        One of my favorite quotes about love (and of course, I’m simply referring to love between two individuals – which is more desire/passion and often limiting and often capricious – not Spiritual Love which is a grander concept – which is a compassion for humanity as a whole and expansive and infinite and… you get the idea) comes from a mathematician/philosopher Bertrand Russell. Rather than clutter up this comment with his quote, I’ll share a link where I have it, where I contrasted Nietzsche and Russell’s views on marriage/relationship/love:

        http://thesprightlywriter.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/marriage-motherhood-and-the-philosophical-mind/

        I really like this description of why he pursued his passions – one of which he called love; and I could dissect what he’s really saying because I know too much about what really goes on in a biochemical and psychological standpoint and create a whole argument as to why his kind of love is very narrow, limiting and not as beautiful as he makes it sound.

        I could analyze love. I have done that. I wanted to understand why love comes and why it (seems to) go away. Why is human love so fickle?

        I’ve looked at the craziness of my friends going through mid-life crises now that they are in their 40s and looking to trade in their wives or husbands, or at least get something on the side, and I realize, there’s something wrong with this picture.

        That’s what makes me jaded – this capriciousness of human love.

        But then I take a larger look at Love – and the spiritual component. It’s not a physical gratification. It’s not a “you complete me” type of thing. It’s not ownership. Love in this grander sense is Compassion, not Passion. And it’s indeed miraculous.

        I am reading a book called The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer, and today’s chapter was about the Infinite Energy we all have access to, all the time, but most often we block it. Our hearts have the capacity to open or close to this energy. When we open, we access this energy. Whether you call it Chi, Shakti, or Spirit, you can remain open to it, or you can choose to close your heart to it by resisting bad experiences or by clinging.to good experiences.

        While the book isn’t incredibly scientific, they do say is something going on in an energetic level, a molecular level. The spiritual seekers have intuited this, even if they didn’t have the proper tools to measure what’s going on. But even if you could, would you want to? Why demystify it?

        I don’t need to know the details to feel the experience of being open or closed to this energy, to this Love. I feel resonance between myself and others. I feel an inner vibration. Do I really want to know what’s going on in a molecular or atomic level? or do I just want to bask in that feeling?

        I don’t know that I would want to explain DNA with Love…except, that I know that Love, and the energy we can tap into has INCREDIBLE healing capacities to heal us on an molecular level. Our bodies were designed to be self-healing and that the power of Love has something to do with it. It has been said that medicine is given to people to appease the rational mind while the body does the real work of healing. I believe Love has the power to heal. I believe Love can repair DNA damage. I believe Love can increase immunity. I am not sure how, but as sure as I know that depression decreases immunity, I know Love increases immunity.

        I think, even with scientific evidence, there will always be skeptics. I think unless one has a personal experience of the healing power of Love, will people be inclined to believe in it and that it is the power that drives the Universe.

        Anyway…I’m not sure where I was going with this, or even if I got there. I just wanted to talk about Love. Love (romantic and spiritual) has been a very complicated area of my life, so if this answer comes off strangely, it’s because I’ve only just begun to distinguish the two kinds and it’s been rather disillusioning to think what I thought of as love really wasn’t Love at all. It was an illusion born out of a desperate need for connection, and I was operating from a real deficit of Love. I don’t want to anymore.

        Be well,

        Casey

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        • Casey,

          I read the quote by Russell, and it took me off on a tangent. Near the end he says it was the pity for humanity, the sight of its suffering, that brought him back to Earth, from higher realms perhaps. It reminded me of a passage in A Course of Love where Jesus says were it not for our inability to tear our eyes away from suffering, the choice for Love would have been made. We insist, in other words, on perceiving and believing in a reality of suffering, and it is brilliantly echoed here in Russell’s thoughts.

          I agree with you 100% about not desiring a scientific explanation for everything. If I suggested I did, I didn’t communicate all too well. I do love the mystery of seeing how things work, but more as a complement to the deep acknowledgment of mystery, and the purity of being. Being gets not scientific explanation for me. It gets to be without all that…

          I’m with you on the effects of Love, and the reality of Love’s power. I’m with you on basking in the authentic version thereof. And I did read Stranger in a Strange Land, but it has been two decades since and I can’t remember much about it, except it maybe had something to do with Love…

          Michael

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      • Michael…I’m behind on comments, I know and I’m sorry.

        “I agree with you 100% about not desiring a scientific explanation for everything. If I suggested I did, I didn’t communicate all too well.”

        I think you are communicating well. I think I was cautioning myself against losing the mystery. I’ve had a longtime pen-pal friend who kept implying that my penchant for labeling and categorizing (which involves judging) and understanding with my rational mind was interfering in embracing the mystery and sacredness of Life. It was so hard for me to explain that I didn’t think it was.

        I think, the more I make peace with my internal contradictions and paradoxes, the more I can embrace the contradictions outside myself. I’m like Fox Mulder. I want to believe, but not just one thing. I want both Creationism and Evolution to be real. They make sense to different parts of me. I want to believe that the painful things I’ve endured in my life have not been for naught. That God put me here in the family I had for a reason, and not because of a cruel, indifferent world, or come to think about it, for punishment of mistakes in former lives. But then again, I don’t want to believe I’m going to hell because I turned my back on my Catholic faith.

        As far as SIASL…

        here’s a brief snippet.

        http://thesprightlywriter.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/fallen-caryatid/

        It WAS about Love and enlightenment, and orgies (lol), and intriguing social commentary. And THE character who had the advanced consciousness was named Michael…so that’s interesting….

        I wonder about you….your age…if you’d ever had your heart broken by someone or if relationships seemed to go well for you.

        My hearts been broken a few times…the first time by my parents…so my whole perspective has been colored by these experiences. I’m working on that, but it’s been difficult to keep my heart open. But my relationship to the natural world has helped me restore some faith…

        I keep wondering if I should investigate A Course In Miracles…not sure just yet..

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        • Casey,

          My turn to point out the unnecessary nature of an apology. 🙂

          I wholeheartedly agree with what you have expressed in this line: “I want to believe, but not just one thing. I want both Creationism and Evolution to be real.” And in what you said in the remainder of the paragraph. I think they are both real. When faced with these either-or conundrums, I often ask myself, why does it have to be one way or the other? Why does God’s Presence in all of Creation preclude the existence of ordered mechanisms, of laws within Nature? I think the answer is that for the longest time, particularly in Newton’s world, and right up until quite recently, all our laws of science were ultimately deterministic. They were a closed and shut case. There was no room for nudges from the Ever Present. We know now that is not the case at all- that every complex system of physical components quite naturally is non-conformist. They break free of deterministic laws and behave unpredictably. This, we are finding, is the law… And there are nodes in every system, doorways from which nudges may be applied, transitions into new modes and patterns… Evolution makes perfect sense in Creation!

          I cannot advise you on A Course in Miracles. I would honestly recommend A Course of Love if you are drawn to it at all, but that is just where I am at these days. It is written more for the heart, is less analytical in its approach and tone, just sinks into you. But they have both whispered miracles into my heart, so there… I recommend them both… Or neither…

          I’m approaching forty, and have experienced a broken heart in various ways. I don’t think there is any basis for comparison of these things. One thing I feel now is that our individual paths are truly unique. That inner sense of being in which we ultimately dwell, and the way we move into greater contact with inner freedom, is not a process like making parts for an automobile. Even if there are common themes, the experience itself, as it involves movement to and through the unknown, is I think, unique and personal. Like being trapped in the oil painting of your soul, and learning to transcend or transform it.

          The hardest thing, and the thing both Courses encourage, is to cease and desist from making suffering meaningful. Suffering is like the magnetism that draws us to freedom. We experience it when we are living in separation and isolation, and while I think it is true many can find tremendous redemption or catharsis in suffering, the Full Monte of awakening is to let our suffering fade into non-existence. It cannot do this while we define ourselves by it. As I said, not an easy thing…

          No mistakes in former lives. No hell. No balance or score to settle. No failure or judgment. Nothing that is not forgivable. Acceptance of who you are (truly), or resistance to it. The answer to this question is the scene we paint with the oil colors of our being.

          Michael

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      • There’s a lot of similarity to Buddhist thinking here. Not resisting negative experience not clinging to positive experience. Let these things move through you.

        Animals don’t store trauma in their bodies. If they are almost caught, but get away, they simply “shiver off” the trauma and go about the rest of their lives. They live. They don’t get depressed because a tiger nearly ate them. They find food, they sleep, they procreate. And then they die. Life is so easy.

        But then there’s trapped energy of unfinished past business. I have yet to figure out how to finish this business.

        I’m reading a lot about spiritual energy from different sources. Everyone seems to have a slightly different take on it, but are essentially the same.

        I wrote something on my blog in a comment on the last post:

        “I’m afraid of my own energy. When I was a kid, it was wrong to be energetic. It was wrong to be exuberant and excited about life. It was wrong to be happy when everyone else was miserable. So, when I’m happy, when I’m enthusiastic, when I’m energetic, I have that internal warning system inside that says it’s wrong to feel this way and you have to STOP!”

        I like climbing on things. So, when I go someplace that has anything to climb on, I want to climb and walk on it. It might be a small retaining wall in the city, it might be a fallen down tree stump or a canyon wall…or a hill or whatever.

        My husband’s been one to make some sort of comment that maybe I should not do that.

        “No mistakes in former lives. No hell. No balance or score to settle. No failure or judgment. Nothing that is not forgivable. Acceptance of who you are (truly), or resistance to it. The answer to this question is the scene we paint with the oil colors of our being.”

        Who I am (truly) is an odd assortment of weird stuff and experiences that most people don’t get to have.

        I had some other things to say, but it’s not really something I want to share out in public about, so I’m going to hold back on that.

        I think I will look into both of those some more. I still have a few other resources I need to get through, and since I read 3-4 books at a time, it’s slow going…

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        • At this poin I am definitely not keeping up, Casey! My blogging window is somewhat limited, and some periods of time it simply falls to the side by other parts of life for a bit.

          I can relate to having warning bells inherited from childhood, but they are different bells. We are conditioned by our past to a certain extent, but this conditioning can be worked with. I think, to keep with the Buddhist line of thinking, that mindfulness over time can work wonders with both releasing our conditioning, and releasing unfinished business. Of course… we have to be willing to let it go, and that can be tough, depending on how we have defined ourselves in relation to it.

          Working with that basic definition of Self is I think a huge catalyst, or working with feelings. I have found that life inevitable moves me into a position in which feelings arise I don’t like, and that is where I discover the beliefs and thoughts associated that are in need of release or revision. It is a process for sure…

          Michael

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          • Please, don’t try to keep up.

            I’ve not been teaching as much this week, so I’ve got time on my hands.

            I’ll try to lighten up on my responses…

            I usually never comment this much on blogs. I’m usually not this interested in what people have to say…so…

            I’ll keep these next few responses short. The thing that I struggle with the most about me is that cognitively I have no problem changing my beliefs.

            But I’d been a rebel most of my life, so I never had warning bells to begin with. I did pretty much what I wanted to. Now, in reviewing how all that turned out, I’m not really happy with the outcome and I’m learning to place boundaries and I feel very constrained.

            I’m having to abide by a new set of rules and that’s really uncomfortable for me. And it interferes with loving people because I have to be on guard on HOW that’s going to play out. All of a sudden, I am not as free as I used to be.

            At any rate…this is pretty much my task to figure out.

            Anyway, thanks for the conversation. I’ll try to respond briefly to the other posts.

            Casey

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            • Casey, don’t change your approach, at least here on this blog, for any reason. I was just giving you a heads-up that if I don’t keep up all the time, it is not because I am not interested. You bring up some issues here that I think are age old, about what love means in this world, and how it is expressed, about having freedom and boundaries both. They are worthwhile topics to explore.

              I would say that from where I stand today, the expression of Love in it’s purest forms needn’t be moderated by thoughts on how it’s going to play out. But I would say, and I say this perhaps as gently as I may in this written medium, that perhaps there is confusion about what it means to love and to express love. Love is, I think, in its deepest core, a Recognition. What is given, is the reality of Recognition. This is both powerful, and ethereal- not physical or verbal in any way. It may not even be given physical expression at times, but it is in no way diminished as a result. Any physical or verbalized expression of this Recognition is an effort to communicate it, and probably almost always falls short of doing so when viewed at the level of the expression. It is only when the underlying Reality is understood that the expressions take on their fullest power and meaning.

              We are like children playing with fire. When we experience and/or partake of various of the ways in which love is typically expressed and made manifest, we think we feel Love as a result. We think the feeling of joy and Recognition is the outcome. This is kind of upside down, but it happens quite easily and naturally to all of us along the way. Our relationships are the most intimate form of practice, where by practice I mean something akin to spiritual development, a place for devotion. It is not only the manifestations of love that arise in a relationship that are important, but the discovery and transmutation of darkness as well. This is where they startle us. What have we gotten into!? Love is also about working with everything that arises, and this type of commitment and devotion is probably best served within boundaries. These are perhaps boundaries that strengthen, that arise as a result of willingness, that hold together meaning and purpose.

              Not because love needs to be confined, but because you wouldn’t want your surgeon to run out during surgery. It may seem that your surgeon has run out many times. This happens. Relationships break down and rip open. Boundaries properly applied may reduce this experience, if this is even relevant. I’m not entirely sure what you are driving at, and I’m not asking you to explain. I just hope what I have shared is helpful. I went off on a tangent, perhaps, but it seemed in reading your note that boundaries and loving seemed to be at odds, and I think there is a way, that comes with care and practice, in which this need not be so.

              Michael

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      • And yes, I do believe quantum mechanics completely changed the playing field…I am not really well versed in it, but I do trust in what I’m being told about it.

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