Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Rest easy, then go with the flow

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Photo: David Campbell / http://www.GBCTours.com

This post is dedicated to the memory and work of Joan King, a master investigator of Reality who left this world June 11. As I spontaneously said to one friend, “Her work continues now, on whole N-E-W (non-ego-willed) levels, the ones she loved so much! Here is a soul who, in both science and spirituality, was a bridge-builder as she strove to illuminate the realities of the human nature with which we’re meant to navigate the physical aspects of this life, and our eternal higher nature, through which we have the opportunity to transform ourselves and our world. God speed, Joan. You’re with us every day, we know.

What if the only experiences that make any real impact in life are those in which we’re as completely present to the moment as possible?

And what if these can only happen when we’ve had adequate periods of rest and reflection?

Neuroscientist and author Joan C. King came to that conclusion in her research lab at Tufts University after she discovered that just as every cell in our body needs to function from a nucleus or center, we are also designed to live from some sort of core in order to be healthy and whole.

To do that, we need to function within the timeframe of that core or center, which is the present. If thoughts and awareness are swirling around in what-ifs of the future, or mired in what’s already become part of history, we’ll be disconnected from that ever-present center.

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Photo: David Campbell / http://www.GBCTours.com

It doesn’t go away, but our functioning has no access to it. And we sacrifice the greater share of our potential power, King says.

Those of us who pray or meditate know that one of the benefits of these is that they help us get back to that present-time condition of awareness. This is what leads to that “flow” we feel when we’re connected with and functioning from our center, a sensation of showing up in life and seeing a remarkable number of factors appear to simply fall into place.

Many even describe having experiences like these during dire or emergency situations, as though they connect with and go to some quiet inner place and then everything flows from that.

King describes another vital concept that cells model that is part of what enables them to function: they don’t stay “on” all the time. Cells’ life rhythm is cyclical. They experience periods of expending energy for a task, then immediately shift over into a “refractory” period during which they rest and gradually accumulate energy and resources in preparation for their next expenditure.

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Photo: David Campbell/ http://www.GBCTours.com

Cells have no choice but to rest, and their innate wisdom abides by this requirement of healthy living.

Humans often skip this part of the cycle, even though it’s as much a part of our design as it is that of our cells, says King. In a culture in which sleep deprivation has become epidemic (and work could rightly be dubbed a state religion) lots of us may be missing the chance to function from our best and deepest resources.

Genuine rest and re-creation (to take that word down to its root parts) allow us to connect with our center effectively. Without these, our access to this greatest source of our natural strength is blocked.

King also notes that without rest cycles, we have little opportunity to use another powerful tool: learning from experience, because the resting phase is the one that gives us the time and space to reflect, the only way we gain the perspective that allows us to learn.joan_king_0008

Connect with Joan King’s work at:

https://www.amazon.com/Cellular-Wisdom-Decoding-Secret-Language/dp/1587611880

The spirit of Joan’s life is captured in her family’s request in lieu of flowers – that those who wish to honor her pay kindness forward to three other individuals.

Some of her own words about the lovely legacy she’s left for us:

“The cellular wisdom series of books is not a declaration of dogma, but rather is a vehicle for me to share my insights about the teachings of our cells and our bodies about how to thrive in our lives as individuals and in relationship, from intimate to corporate to community to planetary. My books are intended to stimulate you to explore and uncover your own insights.”  ~ Joan C. King


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Can we be as smart as our cells?

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Photo: Saffron Moser

When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and to its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are. ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

These ponderings of Le Guin’s prodded my own: What if experience only reflects “life” when we’re as completely present to the moment as possible? And what if that can only happen if we’ve had adequate periods of rest and reflection?

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Photo: Vanessa Jette

In her book, Cellular Wisdom: Decoding the Body’s Secret Language, neuroscientist Joan C. King came to the conclusion that what she’d been studying under a microscope over two decades of research at Tufts University had significance beyond simple anatomy and physiology. Her up-close observation of cells led to the discovery that the keys to balance and well-being are written right into them, and modeled for us in the ways that both cells and our various body systems act and interact.

She proposes that just as each cell functions from a nucleus or center, so our human design intends that we live from some sort of core or center in order to be healthy and whole. Cells need to be connected with their center, and the same seems to hold true for us.

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Photo: Nelson Ashberger

The rhythm of cell life is cyclical. They routinely go “on” and “off.” They experience periods of significant output or expenditure of energy, then immediately shift over into a “refractory” period during which they rest and gradually accumulate energy and resources in preparation for their next expenditure. Cells have no choice but to rest. Their innate wisdom abides by this requirement of healthy function.

Humans often skip this part of the cycle, though it’s as much a part of our design as it is that of our cells, says King. Genuine rest and re-creation (to break the word down to its intended roots) are what help us have the capacity to access our core, our greatest source of strength. Without a rest cycle, we have little opportunity make use of this, or of that other power tool, learning from our experience by reflecting upon it. It’s the “resting” phase of our design cycle that gives us the time and space to reflect.

King’s discoveries about cellular activity point out a lot of other instructive patterns within cellular behavior. Beyond the individual level, cells only fulfill their highest potential when they connect with other cells. We, too, tend to achieve our highest purposes when functioning in relationship with others.

In its evolution, the human body, at the cellular level, has also adopted principles of moderation, diversity, and even compassion to help maintain its survival. How willing are we to learn from it with humility, apply its wisdom, and do the same? 312q7DGYsbL._PJlook-inside-v2-small,TopRight,1,0_SH20_

Adapted from:

Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details –

http://www.amazon.com/Life-First-Sight-Finding-Details-ebook/dp/B00B5MR9B0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1385482351