“Science and religion are not at odds, science is simply too young to understand.” – Dan Brown (Angels & Demons)
I can’t prove sun-gazing works scientifically at this point in our civilizations history. I can only prove it anecdotally. I read an article on scienceblogs.com yesterday where a sarcastic (and it seemed arrogant) doctor explained in no uncertain terms why it is simply impossible for sun-gazing to work. He made the case that there is no science to back up any of the personal stories being told. He’s right about that, which is exactly why I decided to try this myself and add another personal story to the mix. I wonder how many supposedly impossible things have to become not only possible but mundane before we stop throwing around that word with such arrogant swagger. Impossible is simply the possible that has yet to be experienced. If you asked a cave man if he thought something hot that could easily give light and warmth to the creatures of the earth was possible he would have laughed in your face and perhaps clubbed you to death. And now just a few short millennia later we know fire to be one of the most fundamental and basic elements there is. If you told a field hand in Europe a mere five hundred years ago that in just two centuries there would be a machine that could pick and harvest entire fields of crops for him while he just sat there pushing on a pedal he would have said impossible. Before you could even say plow he might have plowed his shovel into your face and dragged you into the town square claiming you to be a witch. Just one hundred years ago we would have said “impossible” about the moon landing, and color TV. And just thirty years ago the idea of cell phones seemed preposterous reserved for the annals of science fiction. From the discovery of fire to the discovery of wireless we have been proving that the idea of impossible is really the only impossible thing at all.
Some day I am sure science will explain in some way how we harvest the suns energy even without the presence of photo receptors. We already synthesize vitamin D from the sun, and this phenomenon is well documented. We know it produces seratonin as well. So why it’s such a threatening leap to consider the idea that it can energize the brain, heal disease, or lead to spiritual awakening is beyond me. The sun is literally responsible for all life on the planet, so the idea that it contains within it the ability to sustain that same life seems reasonable, and when you get past the cultural lies about the sun’s danger, even intuitive to me. I understand now that when people dismissively label things as impossible what they are truly revealing is that it’s simply impossible for them to understand or imagine. So until our young science grows into maturity and finds some way to explain everything as yet unexplained, I fall back on my experience and my anecdotes to shine light, ahem-sunlight, on the new facets of our existence being revealed to me by our bright central star.
Today, Father’s Day, was one such magical day. Since my sun gazing adventure began I have noticed the universe become wholly more responsive to me. I feel an ever crescendoing spiral of synchronicity as events and circumstances seems to organize themselves for me as if I was the master of the universe. I was laying on my couch in the late morning trying to convince myself to go to the coffee shop and write when my neighbor Kelly came over and invited me to a coffee shop across town, where she explained, a friend had posted on Facebook that he was giving out free hugs to any and all. I was intrigued and I love hugs so off we went.
After a hearty dose of free hugs, Kelly, Nikki and I enjoyed breakfast together. Father’s day came up in the conversation and I told the girls a story I hadn’t told or even thought about in years. It was just after high school graduation and I hadn’t seen my father in a while because when I found out he hadn’t been paying child support to my mom, the warrior who single-handedly raised two children, we had a bit of a falling out. I had recently entered my born-again phase around then, so in the fall of 1997 I went to pay my father a visit, forgive him, and forge our relationship anew. While sitting across the table from him I remember two things most vividly. I told him I forgave him and he said he didn’t think he had anything to be forgiven for. Undeterred I told him that I needed to forgive him and so he had my forgiveness anyhow. After a deafening silence and before I knew what I had said I blurted out a question: “Do you love me, Dad?” A moment that seems like a millennia passed and finally he muttered “well, I care for you, son.” I stood up from the table instantly and almost in slow motion I left that house and left my father behind. I have not seen him since that day.
At the breakfast table the girls were dumbfounded. They listened and we all indulged in more free hugs, this time hugging each other. Later in the day I was walking to the grocery store with Nikki when we were stopped by a man who stumbled from a bar saying “I am having the best day of my life, who wants to give me a free hug?” He was cute, and I figured we owed some free hugs back to the world so I jumped in. He picked me up, held me tight and swung me from side to side. I felt like a smurf being embraced by a loving, sexy and drunk version of Gargomel. He kept saying that everything was going right for him and this was the best day. There were hugs all around.
A short while later I went to the top of the mountain to gaze at sunset and on a whim (again read: universal nudge) I turned left instead of right and found a new, beautiful secluded patch on which to plant my bare feet and gaze. About six minutes into my eleven minutes I hear a voice behind me say “Oh, I don’t want to disturb you, I just wanna do some stuff.” I replied that he was not disturbing me and he was welcome, but I continued to stare straight ahead. I start to hear the sounds of yoga breath behind me and I smile realizing a fellow Yogi has found the same perch of the mountain as me. After my gazing I turn and introduce myself to what turns out to be a very fit and beautiful man named Darrin. I’ll call him Yogi D. I notice he has been building something and I ask about it. He tells me it’s his alter and he is setting some intentions and focusing his energy. In the last six minutes of my gazing I was joined by another Yogi who built a small alter out of a pile of rocks, some twigs, a bird feather and some paper. As we chat he tells me he’s realizing it’s all about learning what you’re worth, and learning what other’s are worth. I relate that since my sun-gazing began I have been discovering my own self-confidence and self-faith. He says “is that right” with a glint in his eye as if he knows me and all of this already. I say my good-byes after a few more moments of pleasant chit chat but he cocks his head to side with a look that says “aren’t you forgetting something,” then he moves in, completely unsolicited to give me the final and ultimate free hug of the day. We hugged for a longer than socially appropriate amount of time for two strangers and then I did that thing where you subtly loosen your grip to indicate you are done hugging. This only made him hold me tighter. We went around like this for almost a minute when I finally just surrendered, and let this strange Yogi hug me with all his might. It was a rush of peace and love.
I saw Yogi D one more time at the parking lot and he addressed me by name, said he would see me up there agin sometime and wished me a happy Father’s Day. Oh yeah, I thought, it was Father’s Day. As I drove back down the mountain I felt a rush of love. The sun was saying to me in no uncertain terms that it was my Father now. I told the story of the last time I saw my father for the first time in almost 15 years this morning only to be reminded at the end of the day that I was not defined by that, or by him. The universe had been trying to hug me all day and tell me that I had all the father figure I needed. At the top of the mountain with Yogi D, I was starting to get the message.
Science can’t prove that the sun was having a specific and individual conversation with me, so I am left only to share my story. If you want to rest in the safety and limits of “that’s impossible” then to you I am a deluded fatherless yogi trying to make up for something I missed. But if you know, like I do now more than ever, that the universe is alive and conscious and trying moment my moment to relate to us, then maybe you can see what I see: the universe has been my father all along and he just wanted to hug his kid tight today.
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” -Plato
SIDE EFFECTS: Strangers, both sober and drunk, approach me on the regular now with messages from God, or the Universe, or The Great Whatever, as I’ve started calling it.
BENEFITS: As the bible says “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares,” Hebrews 13:2. And the angels just keep on coming.