How Many Holes Does a Ring Have?

I’m a few hours and about a hundred pages into a flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam and a book called How Many Holes Does a Ring Have by Gnomo Orzo, respectively. I’ve just wiped my face with a hot towelette after finishing a chapter on black holes, thermodynamics, and evolution.

The Airplane window ice ring
What do quantum mechanics, spiritual communities, and a hole in my plane window all have in common?

There’s an event horizon, a “ring”, around a black hole where mass, light, and even time stand still—even subatomic strings and quantum flux must bend the knee in obeisance here, perhaps to reconsider the nature of existence.

Meanwhile, in the early days of thermodynamics, things are less spaghettified but no less black and depressed—if the Big Bang is super hot, and it expands outward creating the cosmos in its wake, physicists conclude the universe will end in a cold, still whisper.

Contemporary to this abysmal thermodynamic prophesying is Darwin’s revelation on evolution, a 180 degree turn in thought for things—life is somehow designed to organize itself in increasingly more complex, more intelligent, more organized systems of operation over time. The cold, still whisper must now compete with the fiery roar of life-force energy.

The woman next to me turns off her soap opera and it gets dark—time for some quick meditation. Inhale… Exhale… Inhale… Exhale…

I feel a remnant of the Big Bang expanding outward, creation in its wake, as I inhale and pause—new possibility, new potential, new chance. Particles in my lungs blip, bump, and bang into each other, generating heat.

I exhale and release, relax, and cognize the evolutionary effects of a complete breath cycle. I am somehow more than I was before. My lungs are empty and the heat in my breath has left me, yet my mind and heart are warm in a different way. New energy, new life, new consciousness permeates my being. The unexplainable mysteries of creation and quantum mechanics swim within my form, upfront and personal.

I open my eyes and look around a dark, stuffy cabin hurtling over Greenland at 700 MPH. In a few days I’ll be in Findhorn, a spiritual community well-known for its tradition to co-create with the devas, Earth’s ancient invisible helpers. A few days after that I’ll be in Glastonbury, site of the mythological Camelot, Arthur, Merlin, and the Holy Grail (I say mythological for you—I’ve got a degree in medieval and renaissance studies, so these things are as real as protons and electrons for me).

A few days later, I’ll be in Damanhur, which means Cities of Light, an Italian federation of communities founded by a man named Falco Tarassaco. The community I live in, Ananda, is founded by a man named Swami Kriyananda, who wrote a book called Cities of Light: Cities of Light: What Communities Can Accomplish in the New Age. Findhorn too has a Network of Light, connecting spiritual communities and  groups worldwide.

In Findhorn, love in action brings together heaven and earth. In Damanhur, ancient magic and mythology blend with quantum mechanics to create a new spiritual physics and a new way of life. At Ananda, which means bliss, perennial yoga teachings bud, bloom, and blossom anew for our complicated, struggling age of chaos and change.

I poke at my sausage—the last item in my plastic breakfast dish. I’m a vegetarian, so I won’t eat it, but I’m also very full. Full of food, full of lofty thought-forms, and full of adventurous expectation as I head out to forge new spiritual synapses on distant horizons of possibility and hope.

So, to summarize, if you were under the impression that a ring has only one hole… think again!


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