Love Math

It all starts with love.  I figure that human beings can grapple with the toughest problems if they first sense the unity we share, if each of us is willing to look into the other person’s eyes and see divinity there.  Without that prior sense of being together, our efforts to problem-solve, conflict-resolve, and peace-make will come to naught.  The gap between us will remain a bridge too far.  So … let’s see what we can create with love as its centerpiece.

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I mostly find math boring but there are certain equations that get my heart a-fluttering:

Love + Pain = Compassion

There are times when we gaze into another’s eyes and see tears welling up.  The pain may be physical, emotional or even spiritual.  All three are real.  Maybe it’s about failing at something, or another person being mean, or a loved one dying.  We know what it’s like.  We’ve been there.  It hurts.

How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong … because someday in life you will have been all of these.

George Washington Carver

Love + Happiness = Joy

Sometimes the face we behold is alight with the glory of God.  The person is bubbling with the good news that’s come their way.  A promotion, a newborn, a task well undertaken and completed.  The joy in response is not a given.  Some of us refuse to celebrate in the wellbeing of another.  It’s as if there’s only so much happiness to go around.  “If you have a lot of it, that means there’s not much left for me.”  Other folks are wiser:

There are so many people in this world that it’s simply reasonable for you to make their happiness as important as your own.  If you can be happy when good things happen to others, your opportunities for delight are increased six billion to one!  [Update: make that nearly eight billion to one]

The Dalai Lama

It’s simple math

 

Experience Squared and Cubed

I wonder if my mathematics is off. I’d say that’s likely. But whatever numbers I choose, I’ll have them point to a hierarchy: okay … good … great.

I’m looking at the moments we have during our days. Most of them seem quite ordinary, hardly noticed in the bustle of life. Then there are the special ones – they get my heart beating faster. But beyond that are moments that defy description, ones that take me to the centre of life, far above the hum and the drum.

I could rank life’s experiences on a “1, 2, 3” scale but that doesn’t seem grand enough. How about “1, 5, 10”? Getting there. No, I propose “10, 10², 10³”, or more simply “10, 100, 1000”.

10 can be life’s ordinary moments: talking to someone about sports, politics or local gossip; doing your income tax; navigating traffic. Ho hum.

100 represents the awesome play in sports, such as a great pass, a long putt or an impossible catch. Transcendent. Or the most exquisite performance of a lovely song. John Lennon’s “Imagine” comes to mind. These are moments that transport me to bliss, thanks to what another human being has brought into the world.

1000 is a different kettle of fish. I see it when I look deep into another person’s eyes and them into mine. True contact, connection, communion … so rare. I’m taking a live course on the Internet about relationships – deepening my moments with any human being willing to “be with” me. Today I gazed into my laptop screen and saw a woman from Oslo, Norway and later another one in Sacramento, California. We told each other what we were experiencing. Words like “comfy” and “cozy” came out of me. And the times of silence were sublime. At one point “Lynne” from Sacramento and I were skydiving – arms and legs all horizontal, floating free together … no fear. Then we were deep in the ocean, dancing. So sweet.

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There’s no doubt in my mind: the numbers are real
There really are levels here
May I bring myself into a cubed world, again and again

Geometry

Are they just lines or is there a hidden glory within them?

1.  A Circle

No beginning, no end.  But doesn’t everything start and later stop?  Perhaps not.  What if there is an essence within me that’s been there since before my parents’ eyes twinkled at each other?  And will be there after the cremation oven warms me up?  And what if there’s nothing I can do to make that essence show up … because it’s always there?  I just have to listen for it.  Nowhere to get to.  Just living in the circle.

2.  A Horizontal Line

No one better and no one worse, despite the kindness and the meanness in the world.  No looking up to someone or looking down at someone.  Young and old.  Male and female.  Physically attractive and plain.  Just folks, all doing their best to be happy.  All to be loved.

3.  A Vertical Line

Being upright in life, neither leaning to the left or right, towards indulgence or asceticism.  Balanced.  Moral.  Not needing to be propped up by any external person or thing.  Unshakeably kind and appropriate.  Doing what I say I’ll do.  Speaking the truth.  Standing up for myself and others.

4.  A Curved Line

Honouring the risings and fallings of life.  The golf ball soaring off the clubhead and then falling back to the earth.  The growing of energy and beauty and the later diminishing.  The climbing of self and the returning to source.  Strong and weak.  Happy and sad.  Embracing the rhythms.

5.  A Triangle

Three people, all loving each other.  Sometimes feeling revered, and sometimes feeling left out.  Opening to relationships beyond me and mine.  Feeling the strength and stability of deep friendship.  Letting the other two take centre stage for awhile.

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The power of mathematics is often to change one thing into another
To change geometry into language

Marcus du Sautoy