The clock and ‘timing’ in your body is not the only one that matters. Everything in the cosmos is very precisely ‘timed’ and the variation in timing depends, among other things, on the level of gravity. More and more scientists see gravity as something similar to magnetism. In any case, the rules of the correlation between time and gravity are the same everywhere in the visible universe. As precise as our inner clock is, when gravity decreases, time and all time-related processes change too.
So, if we take a closer look at our body’s biological clock, it is not entirely static. We also know that it can get out of balance, for example, when we travel quickly between different time zones. This is called ‘jet lag’ in reference to the most common mode of travel – by airplane – that causes the effect. But we can already have problems with our day and night rhythms if we travel to a country with a small difference in daylight hours of only two or three hours. The key element here is daylight. Our body’s clock has two important factors to guide it. The first is based in our genes, the second is daylight or the rhythm between day and night or, the presence or absence of light.
One might wonder whether there isn’t a certain tolerance without it really affecting our lives, since many young people, for example, sleep until dawn, prefer to get up later and extend their day until late in the evening. We see a similar preference in countries with warmer climates, as working and living in bright and hot sunlight for several hours is just hard to do. In essence, however, if we look at our body’s tendency to be in balance, it prefers to function like a Swiss watch because then all biological processes can work optimally.
When we look at the aspect of our genes and biochemical balance, we see that hormones and chemicals have the major role of enablers, of enabling related processes. Substances such as melatonin are closely related to the presence or absence of light and enable us to sleep well and for long enough. In all cultures and epochs, people have developed methods to ‘throw off’ that part of the balanced-clock equation. We do this for a variety of reasons. We can consume a variety of intoxicants to do so. Let us collect a few more examples of variations on this equilibrium, their tolerances and their function and then see if and how this subject can have a spiritual relevance.
Every species of life also has a buffer to protect its own clock, mostly for survival purposes. Slowing down the frequency of the clock is something that many fish can do. The goal may be to survive in a lake in winter by adapting to four degrees Celsius, the temperature of the water with the highest density and, therefore, creating a layer of water at the bottom of a lake that does not freeze. It is not an easy trick for these fish to achieve. In addition to a lower metabolic and heart rate, antifreeze is added to the blood, which is an intriguing biological phenomenon.
Crocodiles can slow down the rhythm of their clock to such an extreme that they can survive up to six hours at a time without breathing, with a heartbeat of only three beats per minute. They can also go a year or even two without food if they need to. Scientists say this is why this race of dinosaurs survived the comet impact 65 million years ago that resulted in the extinction of about 90 per cent of all life on earth.
The human body, too, is endowed with a survival clock. It runs and runs; it does not stop if you have a bad day; it does not run twice as fast if you are happy. It provides stability and a buffer, so that you, as a human being, can live through all the ups and downs and all the variations of life. To what end?
Every form of life lives for a purpose, and renewal of life is such a purpose. The elements of stability in time and being able to endure a variety of circumstances are interactive with each other in order to achieve the desired result and reach a goal in life. If we look again at examples, it becomes easier to understand this. Yet another species of fish – the Atlantic salmon – at a certain age swims up a river, the same river in which it was born and which it can find again, even though it has travelled an incredible distance in the open ocean since its birth. And then this fish dies after a great effort – to give its life for the next generation – following its inner, very precise clock, with its goal attached, with a timer included for each essential period of its life. We know that the salmon dies after it has swum up the river and enabled its offspring to be born.
But why this long circle of life in the ocean? The struggle is part of its development. The salmon’s strength and power, developed over years of swimming through the oceans, are needed to reach its goal and complete the circle. If an organism did not have an inner clock synchronized with the environment in which it lives, its purpose would not be supported and its life would soon become impossible.
Humans also have goal periods in life, and we choose our goals ourselves, as best we can, at least. To stay with the example we just gave, we, too, have a phase of life that is biologically optimal for passing on the life that is in us. Now this does not always work, but even if it does, we do not normally die after we have done it. We stay with our offspring. One purpose is to ensure the survival of our children, but also to give them skills and insights and enable them to develop their own view of life and their part in it – whatever that may be.
A living being who gets older and enters in a phase of slow farewell to life can never control the life of the next generation, only enable it. In our case, our children often learn things we never noticed and they may learn them from sources we did not know existed. Our children are not mere copies of our own, they are somewhat or largely different and so very much their own… and so we can learn from them too. Very much so.
Life has a price, but it always gives something back. And if we make it, if we achieve our goals, be it to make new life possible or something else, we are fulfilled. The struggle can be rewarded with some kind of creation, new perspectives, new insights, greatness and gratitude. If we look at what fulfils us most, it is not only the enabling of new life, but perhaps even more the depth of our relationship with others. The feelings we share, the thoughts we exchange, the inspiration we get from each other…and some discovery of wisdom would certainly be a great asset.
There is also a side note; you might say, but some people are harmful and negative – what about that aspect? Indeed, whoever destroys or upsets the balance and perhaps life itself, cannot cause happiness and gratitude. Everything has consequences. Most of us understand this and choose wisely. In a human life, there are many choices we must make, and only afterwards do we learn how wise they were.
We cannot judge the purpose of another species and we cannot judge the purpose of another person in life, but we can try to understand it. When we find our own purpose or formulate our goals, we cannot always easily explain it to someone else. This is because only we experience ourselves from the inside and understand which firsthand experience let us discover who we are and what we aim to do with our life. Any other person can only see us, hear us or feel us indirectly.
We do, however, need that exchange with others, as indirect as it may be. We want others to understand us and if we sense that we are getting there and our understanding of another person grows likewise, it can be a great joy or relief.
All this takes time and if all the intriguing mechanisms to maintain balance and keep us in synch with time and our planet did not work well, we would not last long enough to find our purpose.
In all of this, the stability of our physical body and its inner clock is so incredibly important because it supports every aspect of our existence. If our inner clock were to be out of whack, we would soon not be able to sleep properly or be truly awake. Our senses, our heart and our brain would also stop working properly. How would we then be able to maintain our orientation in life or our relationships, which are so important to us?
Our own inner and best understanding of the world and the universe remains ours, always. It is part of our life and we must have the courage and strength to test it every day until the end of our life’s journey. Our understanding of the world enables us to find new ways, to understand what our possibilities are and what we can and cannot do. We grow in understanding, we doubt, we learn again. The results in each period of our lives tell us whether we are right and whether we can continue to build and fulfil our plan and reach the next destination.
The path, some say, is the destination. Often, we do not know exactly what our next destination is… but the path itself is always there. Like the clock within us that provides stability, the path reveals options and shows us what is real and what is a dream… and which of our dreams could, therefore, become reality.
One day the clock of our body will stop, and we will see if there is another clock and another universe. If there is, it will most likely exist in its own time and balance to allow a path to the next goal.