July 27

Gravity Never Sleeps

July 27, 2016

Personal Growth

The other day I was mulching the ground under some Japanese maples in the backyard. Thirty years ago I’d planted them in some elevated mounds of dirt that I had hauled there and surrounded with rock walls.

Not far from each tree trunk were a few large rocks, each weighing several hundred pounds. The largest one seemed smaller to me than when I first placed it, so I used a pick to dig next to it and discover if it had sunk into the ground. It turned out that the largest rock had sunk a full foot (30+ cm) into the ground over the past thirty years, and I worked pretty hard and used a lot of dirt to restore it to its former ground level.

What happened? For thirty years the powerful gravity generated by the mass of the earth had been pulling that rock toward the earth’s center. Resisting this pull was the mound of earth under the rock, and in a dry climate the rock may have remained right where I put it.

But where I live, we get about 53 inches of rainfall per year, which means that for much of the year that mound of dirt becomes thoroughly soaked, especially at the surface. Each time that happened, the rock lay on a thin layer of relatively fluid mud. The rock was denser than the mud, so it sank slightly to the bottom of that layer, over and over again.

When something sinks in a fluid, it really means that the pull of gravity is greater on that object —because it’s denser—than on the surrounding fluid. So the object doesn’t passively “sink.” Rather, the denser object is pulled toward the center of the earth with greater force than the surrounding fluid is pulled. And gravity never sleeps, so over a period of thirty years, a large rock was pulled right through the “solid” clay beneath it.

Just as gravity never sleeps, neither do pain, fear, emptiness, selfishness, confusion, anger, and more. If we don’t pay attention, these “downward” forces will suck us relentlessly away from the love and happiness we would vastly prefer. If we stay aware, however, we can avoid the forces of doom, just as I could have prevented the sinking of the rock by taking measures when I first placed it long ago.

How do we avoid the effects of this emotional gravity? Simple, as we have discussed in all the books and elsewhere: tell the truth, find Real Love where we can, trust the love, share it with others, and be responsible.

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