“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

Meister Eckhart


“Saying the mantra is like a free floating space walk daisy-chaining with atoms, saints and galaxies.”

Via Positiva

gravityIn ‘Gravity’ at her lowest ebb high above the earth Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) gives up on life and turns off the oxygen supply in her space capsule.

As her thoughts turn to her imminent death she murmurs to herself “No-one taught me how to pray.” Without spoiling the ending, when she crawls out of the lake (like a creature re-born) she murmurs to herself “Thank you.” She taught herself how to pray.

At the end of ‘American Beauty’, Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) – who has just lost his life after finding it – says “I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me … but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst … And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life … You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry … you will someday.”

The strap line to ‘Gravity’ is ‘Don’t let go’. It should be ‘Let go’. As George Clooney as Matt Kowalski says as he floats off, “You’re gonna have to learn to let go.”

An attitude of gratitude is the daily mantra of the secular monk in all of us. We are priests to ourselves in our own lives.


much ado about nothing

“Outside of God there is nothing but nothing.”

Meister Eckhart


“Meditation is like fly fishing without a fly expecting to catch nothing … expecting nothing … standing in the Source.”

Via Negativa

nothingIt was only in the 5th century that ‘zero’ was introduced to mathematics and philosophy and it set a cat amongst the pigeons. Before then there was no nothing. The church even banned any talk of ‘zero’. It seemed to negate everything that God had created and everything that was ‘good’.

The oldest known text to use a decimal place-value system, including a zero, is the Jain text from India entitled the Lokavibhâga, dated 458 AD, where shunya (“void” or “empty”) was employed for this purpose.

The rules governing the use of zero appeared for the first time in Brahmagupta’s book Brahmasputha Siddhanta (The Opening of the Universe), written in 628 AD. Here Brahmagupta considers not only zero, but negative numbers, and the algebraic rules for the elementary operations of arithmetic with such numbers. Here are the rules of Brahmagupta:

  • The sum of zero and a negative number is negative.
  • The sum of zero and a positive number is positive.
  • The sum of zero and zero is zero.
  • The sum of a positive and a negative is their difference; or, if their absolute values are equal, zero.
  • A positive or negative number when divided by zero is a fraction with the zero as denominator.
  • Zero divided by a negative or positive number is either zero or is expressed as a fraction with zero as numerator and the finite quantity as denominator.
  • Zero divided by zero is zero.

In saying zero divided by zero is zero, Brahmagupta differs from the modern position. Mathematicians normally do not assign a value to this, whereas computers and calculators sometimes assign NaN, which means “not a number.” Try it now on a calculator or your phone – on my iPhone I get “ERROR”. On my Mac I get ‘Not a Number’. I like NaN … its also a palindrome – nothing is the same backwards as forwards.

But without nothing, or rather what we’ve long taken to be nothing – we’d be nowhere. For centuries, scientists have known that it may be the key to understanding everything from why particles have mass to the expansion of the universe. The start – and end – of the universe, dark energy, superconductivity, consciousness – all these scientific issues are players in the drama surrounding nothing. These ideas about nothing are explored in the New Scientist book aptly titled … ‘Nothing‘.

So, don’t avoid doing nothing or thinking about nothing … it is the seed of everything.

Watch this animation from New Scientist explaining why there is no such thing as nothing.