Thursday, July 28, 2005

"Where is the Spirit in this?" - a rough draft

The other day as I was pulling samples of RNA (in tiny tubes) out of a very cold freezer (-80 degrees C) - a rather repetative task involving opening the freezer, pulling out a number of specific boxes, looking at list of tube locations, pulling out appropriate tubes from appropriate locations in appropriate boxes, returning the boxes, pulling out another set of boxes, ect. until 50-100 tubes have been collected (depending on what's needed) - I thought to myself rather seriously, "Where is the Spirit in this?" At first glance, it was a pretty secular activity. However, I believe that the spiritual and the secular are not seperate, that we need to integrate our supposedly seperate concepts of what is secular and what is spiritual. In my experience of the Spirit (or the Light or God or whatever one calls it/him/her), there is no place or situation where it is not present, where there is no Light. Thus, while I was performing a seemingly lifeless and repetative task, I came to the thought that despite outward appearences, the Spirit must be present in some manner.

There are many times in our supposedly secular lives when the presence of the Spirit is quite obvious when one stops to think about it for a moment. When one is outside with nature, or among loved ones, or perhaps even reading a good novel over a cup of tea on a rainy afternoon, it is often not difficult to recognize the Light in the experience. The challenge with which I presented myself was to find the Spirit in this not-so-obviously-spiritual situation.

A day or two later, as I was doing yet another tedious, repetative, lengthy task with 98 tubes that I had previously pulled from the above-mentioned freezer - this time I was transfering 8 microliters of solution from each tube to a well-plate - I again pondered the same question, "Where could the Spirit possibly be in this experience?" In examining this question, I took a giant step backwards to look at a slightly larger picture. Perhaps the Spirit was present through why I was doing such a tedious task. Repetative and boring as my task was, it was science. Science research is one of my passions - a quick inventory of my backpack would reveal a few Quaker books, often a few science magazines, and currently also a chemistry textbook and spiral notebook for chemistry notes - and this is between school years! These books and magazines I carry around because I am passionate about these subjects, and dedicated to learning and pursuing them. The root of why I was doing this repetative task was this passion for scientific research, and a dedication to science with all of its many postive and negative aspects. There is Spirit in passion and dedication.

As I recognized the Spirit mentally, I began to recognize its presence in my "secular" activity on a deeper level. With that realization I became a more grounded in my daily activities - this experience is applicable to so many other situations.

I am learning how to experience the Spirit in the situations of my every day life that don't seem so obviously spiritual. My conscious and emotional experience of the Spirit is becoming more and more continuous and thorough as I recognize Light pervading my life in all of its seemingly spiritually trivial events. I'm learning how to ask, "Where is the Spirit in this?" without sarcasm or pessimism, but honestly and openly, even for the most menial of activities.

I have a feeling I will have more to express on this topic soon; this is just what's been on my mind very recently. It is an ever-developing train of focus.

Love and Light,


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