Soul Stability

“It is not the load that breaks you down; it is the way you carry it” – Lena Horne

Science was waiting for the Lord to come. He had a plan that he was sure will do well among the humans. He was excited. Looked like he finally had the magic wand to transform humanity into a more perfect species.

Science was getting impatient… This was too good to wait. Why was the Father not revealing Himself right now when the solution for man’s liberation was so easily available.

God smiled. Every enlightened soul strives, ‘now that I know the truth I can help change the world’ despite knowing fully well that enlightenment is subjective – an individual experience with no copyright. God smiled and hugged Science…

God: Yes! Tell me my child, what is so exciting that you simply can’t contain your joy?

Science: (excited) Do I need to contain my joy? O Father! You are going to simply love this. You see I saw this fitness trainer, training his client on the importance of stabilisation. And whoo hoo! I found the answer to all of man’s challenges.

God: Shall we start at the beginning my dear? What was this trainer actually doing?

Science: Father, he was explaining the planes of movement and how the body finds its centre of gravity. There are three cardinal planes of the body – the sagittal plane that divides the body into left and right halves; the Frontal plane that divides the body into front and back halves; and the transverse plane that divides the body into top and bottom halves.

God: Hmmm… So when man bends forward he is cutting his body into top and bottom halves. So he is on the transverse plane right?

Science: Oh no Father! Each of these planes also act as ‘axis’ that becomes the vertex for the movement – just like an axle of a wheel around which movement occurs. For instance when a man bends forward, he is using the transverse plane as his axis and is moving on the sagittal plane. All movements are parallel to a plane and around an axis that is perpendicular to that plane. So using the transverse plane as the axis, that is a line in the middle of the body from one side to another as the pivot point, if he bends forward and backward, he is parallel to the sagittal plane that divides the body into left and right; if he moves side to side like a spine lateral flexion, he is parallel to the frontal plane that divides the body into front and back and is using the anterior posterior axis (or sagittal axis which is the line from the front to back of the body), and if he twists around with his feet static and torso moving like a spinal rotation, he is parallel to the transverse plane on the vertical or longitudinal axis that drops from the top of his head to the toes.

God: Wonderful way of studying movement. Let me guess, when I swing my arms forward like a march, that is on the sagittal plane and transverse axis, if I swing my arms on the sides like a flying bird, its on the frontal plane with sagittal axis and if I bring my hands parallel to the ground to clap, its on the transverse plane, vertical axis. Right?

Science: Yes Father! These are just the basic ones. Of course as man moves in three dimensional space, there is a plane and an axis at every degree. The intersection of these three planes and axis is known as the centre of gravity. The center of gravity (COG) is the theoretical point where all the body weight is concentrated or about which the body weight is evenly distributed. If a body is of uniform density and has a symmetrical shape the center of gravity is in the geometric center. But if the object is not symmetrical and does not have uniform density, like the human body, it is more difficult to describe the location of its COG.

God: And when man begins to move it must be even more difficult. The body’s COG will shift with each body movement. When the distribution of a person’s body weight changes, the COG will shift toward the greater weight concentration.

Science: Yes Father! In addition, external loads will alter the position of the COG as now it will be the combined COG of the person & the load. That is why when you see people lift loads they are not used to – like a suitcase, their body will automatically lean towards the opposite side to ensure balance. The combined center of balance must be kept over the base to be in balance. The greater the external load, the greater the distance the load is held from the person’s body, the farther the combined COG will be from the person’s COG.

God: Hmmm. I understand! So what has this got to do with man’s perfection?

Science: – Father, movement is possible only when there is a balance in the body. If stability is threatened the body will even forget to breathe! Stability is achieved by ensuring the center of gravity in within the base of support. Stability is a quality relating to the degree to which a body resists being upset or moved. The larger the base of support, the greater stability a person has. A person is more stable when standing on two feet than does a person standing on one. If a higher degree of stability in all directions is desired, one should assume a stance with the line of gravity falling in the middle of the base. That is, if an imaginary line were dropped from the center of gravity, the closer the line falls to the middle of the base, the more stable the object will be – like a wide squat with the weight in the centre. Lowering the center of gravity also increases one’s stability.

God: Yes! the COG has a major role to play in the stability-mobility continuum. When the COG moves away from the base of support, like when a person pursues a flying ball and leaps forward, the concentration of body weight shifts and he is inevitably going to fall to the ground.

Science: Yes Father! So I propose, just as how movement and stability is not possible without a center of gravity, thoughts too must have its own center of gravity. It cannot just be here or there, randomly loitering across an unconscious field of desires and expectations. If we can teach man to identify the center of gravity of his thoughts – won’t that just help him to become perfect! He can now live freely in this beautiful world without the fear of emotional instability.

God: Indeed a wonderful thought my dear child ! If that kid can be taught to gravitate his thoughts on to ‘faith’ – a faith that this huge humungous universe has trusted him with the most precious of gifts – life; a faith that among the millions of life forms, trillions of stars and zillions of atoms, a human being namely ‘I’ was nevertheless formed; that no matter how lop sided this world seems, how unfair the people behave, how ruthless fate divines, life still knows how to keep the balance and give you what it takes to keep you alive… till its time to move on… FAITH my dearest child, is that center of gravity, that thoughts need to zero on.

Science: I knew this will work!! But Father! what if his faith is shaken sometimes? What if, he doesn’t find the courage within him to accept the way his life unfolds? What if his very stability is threatened by the external loads he carries? What if his thoughts are too scattered to concentrate on faith?

God: You tell me my dear child. What happens when man decides to move in a fashion that defies gravity? Like the gymnast who spins in the air or the ballerina who pirouettes on her tip toe? What happens when the goal keeper flies off his feet to stop a rushing ball or when the parachute opens to break the man’s fall from the skies? You tell me my dear Science. Is the center of gravity that makes stable movements a reality always within the object?

Science: No Father! The person’s weight may be distributed in such a way that the center of gravity falls outside the body sometimes. A person who assumes a pike position in tumbling or diving provides an excellent example of the center of gravity falling outside the body.

God: Similarly, when a person is tumbling in life and thoughts don’t seem to zero in on the center of gravity of faith, he should make use of the support of external sources of faith – his objects of faith, the rituals, idols, satsangs et all, till he can once again find his thoughts stabilize on faith seamlessly. The truth is, it does not matter if the faith is externally projected or internally centered. With Faith as the centre of gravity of his thoughts, soul stability blossoms for every living moment of life.

Written by Gita Krishna Raj  |  Published in infinithoughts in October 2013

When Science met God… |  Segment Seven: Formula to Life  | Chapter Nine: Soul Stability

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