An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of October 24, 2010
issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort adjoining Chichén Itzá Ruin in
YUCATÁN, MÉXICO

RUNNING IN STARLIGHT

I go jogging well before dawn, when stars are bright and twinkling, and grass is wet with dew. Early this week there was no Moon at dawn. It's surprising what you can see just by starlight, though.

In fact, even inside the hut where only a formless hint of a glow marks the open door, each morning I manage to get from inside the mosquito net, put on my running shoes, shorts and sweatband and do warm-up exercises, all in apparent total darkness. I know where things are, and I've learned to pay attention to sound and touch in ways that reveal a lot.

In fact, starting the day exercising my senses like this, sometimes as I run I think about how we humans deal with and judge reality based upon these senses which, in the end, are pretty limited. This insight first occurred to me when I was a fifteen-year old ham radio operator, WA4PGA, back on the farm in Kentucky, talking via shortwave to people all over the world.

What struck me was that innumerable shortwave radio signals from the most exotic places were passing through our bodies all the time -- from Lars on the banana boat between Maracaibo and Stockholm, from missionary John in a hut in Tanzania -- yet we never know about those signals unless we have a shortwave receiver tuned to the exact frequencies at the right time.

As I jog beneath Orion and his dog these early mornings sometimes I wonder this: How would my self perception and spiritual framework change if along with smelling, tasting, seeing, hearing and feeling I could detect and process the entire vast spectrum of electromagnetic emissions, such as shortwave signals, ultraviolet light and gamma rays, as they pass through my body?

What if we could sense the Earth's irregular and ever changing gravitational fields as they interrelate with fields of the Sun, the Moon, other planets and the stars? What if it turns out that life itself is something like energy or magnetism, and we could walk through the forest sensing the full diversity of lifeforms around us, feel their interactions, their blossomings, their yearnings and their dyings? What if we could see the Creator's creative impulses as they happen, not just experience a few of Her creations with our limited senses? Would that be like a rainbow, the roar of a great waterfall, a child's laughter... ?

When you think of all the goings-on in the Universe we can't detect with our five senses, and which we don't really understand with our minds, it's a good bet that we humans have a much distorted view of things, including of ourselves and of our spiritual possibilities.

However -- and this is the insight I always end up with after thinking the situation through -- even if we could sense all these things and thus see the Creation much more accurately, it still wouldn't change much for us. We'd still be spiritual beings yearning to grow and know and be more, stuck in gradually decaying animal bodies.  Facebook Icon