We Are the Clay, We Are the Potter

When we are born into this world, we are mushy and undefined – much more than our animal counterparts. We have a backing of DNA and genetics which can (and does) affect the trajectory of our lives, but in a large sense, we are born without the “built-in” instincts that our mammalian relatives have.

While other animals walk or run within hours of life, we humans do no such thing. We humans rely exclusively on caregivers and environment to give us our start and oil our potential. We are pretty much born a lump of clay – with all the potential our genetics can provide, but largely leaving our fate in the hands of our environment, which molds our clay to the world we live in.

In other words, we are born as an undefined “Full Slate” of much potential that the world then co-opts. We are all entirely a co-creation of the world we are born into.

What evolutionary advantage does this serve us? Dr. David Eagleman asks this question (in his TV series The Brain), and it really got me thinking. Indeed, it is a risky thing to be so heavily dependent on environmental factors in order to guide our brain development to its full potential. In the second episode of the series, he cites that our brains finish building the vast majority of neural networks by age 2. In effect, the first two years of your life have immense importance on your cognitive future. And given that social contact and human interaction is highly associated with building neural networks, if a child is missing out on these crucial components in the first two years, then they suffer for it – even potentially into adulthood if the experience was severe.

How in the world is it more advantageous for our evolution to be so dependent on the environment we are born into?

From a non-scientific, hypothetically spiritual point of view… I feel that our positive advancement forward depends on the wheel of advancement before us. One influences the other, and in an exponential way. Our positive life experiences influence future generations, and so on.

However, it is just as likely that the wheel of influence will work the other way – negatively – and then snowball the other direction.

But then – when looked at from that perspective – being born as an undefined, moldable lump of clay serves a greater purpose than we may have supposed. Even if the world is snowballing into dark, unfortunate events, the chance will still exist that we can snowball the other way. We can be re-molded. We are always born into the neutral, and could essentially “re-start” if the chance presented itself. Even as adults, our neural-plasticity can bear amazing feats.

What gives me hope is that one small act of positivity can roll fast and large into more and more positivity – faster than we thought possible. Even with the garbage of the political climate and international terrorism looming dark and ominous, I am struck by how many people that are thinking beyond it. That are being led by their hearts, and not their fear. I actually didn’t expect it at all.

It is this rhetoric that I think will lead us to the future. Leaning on our heart intelligence, our dual intelligence, is how I think we will overcome and grow in heart and spirit. And all it takes is one little snowball.

I want to take a moment to be grateful for the immense beauty of being born into a world with a vast infinite potential that is unwritten.
It is a risk – yes – but also a loving, joyful, and trusting leap of faith.

What a thing to be thankful for.

Context

My spiritual and intellectual journey had been fairly touch and go up to this point. When it rains, it pours. As of the present moment (summer 2015) this is the longest most in-depth period that I’ve written, read and reflected about spirit and intellect. In the past I would go through phases like this and eventually something more ‘grounded’ would divert my attention (i.e. weddings, layoffs, job hunting, having a baby, etc.). But among the past phases, there occurred two moments that have touched me spiritually in a way that I have never forgotten, and continue to look back upon again and again. Crucial moments of context in my personal journey. And both of them had me weeping over a journal of my thoughts.

The first was when I was 14. I was overcome with sadness one evening – or so I thought – and was compelled to sob and sob for people or circumstances I didn’t know or… I couldn’t fathom what it could be. I wrote about this strange melancholy moment and noted a spiritual aspiration in my journal, relating to a dream I had with an eagle flying high above me. At the time I just thought I was being overly sensitive and emotional. In hindsight I feel like it was a calling, a reminder of some kind. My heart expressing itself, urging me on to something beyond myself.

The second was nine years later in my senior year of college. I watched a movie called “What the Bleep Do We Know” with some friends. The movie was entertaining and presented a lot of concepts that I had already read about and discussed with others, but there was something within me that ‘clicked’ after watching it – like all the feelings and thoughts I had had up until that point had coalesced and suddenly…broke open.

I was overcome with joy. Powerful joy. So powerful, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I wandered. I left the group to be alone and do the one thing I knew that would help make sense of it: write.

So I started writing in my notebook, trying to put this feeling into words, and as I sat on the floor, tears streaming, I wrote  one of the most inspired pieces I have ever written. It was a message of simplicity, love, and light years ahead of where I was spiritually at the time. Admittedly, I am only now grasping the totality of what I wrote in that moment. Ten years have passed since then and I am only now finally feeling these pieces start to come together.

Here is an excerpt of that entry, written on the blue-carpeted basement floor of the house I was living in exactly ten years ago from this very entry. I had to stop writing after this, as I was out of words to write. I feel that the true concept of unity can only be felt. Words only get you so far.

There is no point in trying to be closer to ‘nature’ because we are nature; every one of us. We are one with nature at every minute of our lives. We cannot be separated from it no matter what we try. We are nature. We are God. We are Unity.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed with feelings of great unity. Unity with myself, the air, the carpet, my friends, my thoughts. This feeling is so powerful, and moves me so deeply, that I cannot put it into words. I fill with love and cry tears of joy. I am God. I am You. I am Me.

And so it is today the same as it was then. This ‘Unity’ I spoke of is a little more defined in my heart and mind, but no less an enigma that cannot be fully described – only felt. This love, this joyful catalyst of the heart, overflows – and my cup runneth over.