Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hounded by Heaven; the first in a series of retold transcendent experiences

Lorraine V. Murray, in her book Confessions of An Ex-Feminist  recounts a memorable experience she had while spending time with her husband in Cedar Key, Florida.  Anchored out in the gulf on a small boat, they suddenly heard a loud splash and saw the heads of two manatees pop out of the water.  The manatees peered at them before disappearing underwater again.  "The atheist in the boat," Murray writes, "stunned by their eyes, which seemed so deeply innocent and mysterious, now uttered a rather strange statement: 'It was like looking into the face of God!'"  Later she would write in her journal that she believed she'd gotten a glimpse of God's face here on earth.

Friday, January 22, 2010

God Through A Microscope

At 1/500 the thickness of a human hair, ordinary detergent bubbles are one of the thinnest substances visible to the naked eye.

Ordinary fungus, common on bread or cheese, magnified 560 times

A ripe strawberry.

These tiny specimens are helping scientists at Amgueddfa Cymru research climate change that took place 34 million years ago.  When Antarctica went into the deep freeze.

Household dust: nutritiously rich in hairs, skin flakes, clothing fibers, and even - at the center - the intact fragment of an insect's compound eye.

Sweat droplets on a hand, produced after an hour's exercise.


Perfect diatoms. 
Chunks of these marine algae help give face powder its distinctive smooth feel.



Sperm on the surface of a human egg.

6-day old human embryo implanted.


Red blood cells

Sondra Barrett found God through a microscope

March 07, 2005|By David Ian Miller, Special to SF Gate
Are spirituality and science incompatible? It's an age-old question with no easy answers. To some the acrimonious debate over whether to teach about the Bible in America's biology classrooms is reason enough to believe these two sides are mutually exclusive.
Yet science can also be a doorway to the spiritual realm. Take Sondra Barrett a self-described "hardcore scientist" who had no interest in spirituality but became convinced of a higher power while examining human blood cells as a UCSF cancer researcher in the 1970s.

Since then Barrett 64 has used her microscope to photograph everything from caffeine molecules to chicken soup to pinot noir. As a scientist and an artist she sees these images as evidence of the sacred revealing the invisible forms and forces at work in everyday life. Tell me about your religious background. Did you grow up with a particular faith?
I was raised Jewish but basically rejected organized religion as a young adult because it seemed hypocritical to me. At that time [the early 1960s] women couldn't become rabbis and we weren't counted as part of a minyan (a prayer group). I turned instead to the religion of medical science. Only what was provable was real to me. Life was cells and molecules -- it was purely physical. I wouldn't define myself as an atheist but I had no spiritual leanings at that time.
But eventually after completing your Ph.D. in biochemistry and beginning your work as a cancer researcher you became a spiritual person. What changed for you?
Two things altered my deeper view of the world. One was the microscope. I always find it surprising that a tool of science would lead to my ever growing spirituality but that's what happened. Seeing living cells up close I was captivated by their intelligence energy and order. It opened a window for me to the sacred world. The other factor in my spiritual development at this point was working with children whose disease leukemia I studied as a research scientist. Through this work I was forced to see human beings as more than just physical and spending time with one of those children when he died made me look at life and death in much larger terms. I began asking myself about why disease happens. What purpose did it serve in these children? This pushed me to investigating alternative ways of looking at life including Buddhism, shamanism Taoism and other mystical traditions.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tao Te Ching 63

Act without doing:
work without effort.
Think of the small as large
and the few as many.
Confront the difficult
while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts.
The Master never reaches for the great;
thus she achieves greatness.
When she runs into a difficulty,
she stops and gives herself to it.
She doesn't cling to her own comfort;
thus problems are no problem for her.
Tao Te Ching  63, translation by Stephen Mitchell