What is the most contagious parasite The answer? An idea. A Millennial’s musing on the nature of a thought.
By John Lancaster
The earth was adeptly created for our wonderment, exploration, and discovery. Resourceful, sustainable: a single atom rendering tools to guide us as we evolve and allow our progress as a species. Currently held in orbit by a magnetic dipole, baking under a fiery sun and bathing in the moonlight, opposition moves the world. Despite the delicate balance of external forces, on earth we’re used to the dire extremes that compose our landscapes—and their sporadic imposing natural disasters. Dry, arid regions like the Northern Sahara are brutal, with record years having only one day of rain, contrasted with periods of flash floods. Momentous animations—volcanic eruptions, blizzards, tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, and conflagrations—are constant reminders of our ever-changing planet and the forces that surround it.
Like the earth, our primitive bodies were formed from stardust and parallel, in unique proportions, the very elements we walk among. Clouds drift, tides ebb, trees sway, and we remain physically rooted to the ground. But kinetic forces in the universe bring rapid mood encounters with which we’re all familiar.
A placid morning crawls into a sunny afternoon when suddenly, the wind changes directions. The air grows dark, a bellowing rumble hovering amidst the vast belly of a fading skyline. An energetic paradigm, as charged particles upturn abandoned chairs, tumbling newspapers slap the sidewalk, and trees whip back and forth, losing their leaves in a torrent of froth. Chaos.
Unlike our hominid species, we do not screech and run amok. As day swings into night, a sense of calm, excitement, yearning, and enlightenment propels us to observe. We recognize this chaos—it aligns with our conscious, a conglomeration of these natural forces inside our brains. The essence of our being, our conscious, affords infinite inward exploration of the tumultuous, complex, mysterious, infinite, dark beauty of our natural world. It harbors all potential for personal growth or destruction. But letting your conscious be your guide? Not so easy.
Fantasies and projections. A sense of entitlement. Slated to fail. Battling to rise against. Puncturing the surface in a myriad of colors. Perspective. Maybe we’ve heard it too much, become desensitized. Yadda yadda yadda, but if the notion of determining your own perspective is nothing but laissez faire, you’ve already become entrapped within your own mental paradox. Our bodies function automatically, the physical taking in oxygen, the brain (mental) ordering our sensory experiences and the mind (soul) interpreting those experiences by our thought processes. Just as we care for our bodies with nourishment, exercise, and comfort, our minds demand the same attention. By negating the responsibility of your mind, you have deserted yourself, trapped in the frighteningly fascinating abstract landscape of a hazy horizon and dripping clocks.
A great divide exists, a deep, profound, confusing divide within our brains (which must be where the mind resides) that allows us to both participate and observe. One influences, the other reflects—a constant process of affirmation that rarely, if ever, subsides. Everything we experience influences our feelings and thought progressions. We differ in the subtle encounters that identify within some part of ourselves, ones that create a stir, causing us to react. These reactions are directly from the source: the intersection of the brain, body and mind, the visionary pupil of our being. As an experience conglomerates, our minds begin a process that leads to a response. We are the sole proprietors of this incredible force, leaving it is up to us to determine its outcome. Awareness, intention, and a simple change in mindset can pave the way for a truthful and connected relationship with our conscious. Listening to and understanding this reflective, natural mind grounds us, bringing us closer to peace and unity within the self and those around us.
It seems so minor, the notion of ‘glass half empty’ or ‘glass half full’, but there is nothing more powerful than setting an intention. “What is the most contagious parasite?” The answer? “An idea.”
Reactions are often irrational, but responses can be controlled. At intersection of instinctual and intuitive knowledge, raw emotion leads the heart, but our most inward verdicts lead the mind. Most of life’s choices are not based on pure emotion, but rationale, a kind of compromise for the sake of pragmatism.
The rainbow of our species is an incredible array of differentiation, the core of each individual completely unique. To function and proliferate, we recognize, respect, and understand some common ground. Many of these universal codes are even written in religious texts, as laws, on butcher paper in the back of a classroom. But dropping a pebble in a pond is not an isolated event, but sends ripples, however undetectable, to the outermost edges, affecting its homeostasis entirely.
Ways of being—deciding to criticize, care, or let go—can be anywhere from exhaustible to enlightening. In the last decade, the forces that govern our lives have increasingly become revealed as bereft, often-dirty games. Set on the fatuous battleground of bipartisan opposition and playing war unnecessarily with money that doesn’t exist, hopeful agendas cave in the wake of natural disasters. A constant uphill battle, the reality of human suffering bites. Attempting to understand this random chaos is pointless in the least, and devastating at most, a guaranteed Prozac prescription for life if you even make it that far.
If it’s in an individuals’ self-interest to lead the best possible life, to love life, stark reality won’t foot the means. Enter our minds. Fueled by the backdrop of a planet filled with beauty, floating curiously amongst other worlds nothing like our own, surrounded by billions of stars, infinite universes and unknown realities, our imaginations exuberate the wonders of existence. When you awaken each day, you can consciously decide to make it a good one. Allowing your mind the space to reflect, internalize, and determine whatever importance is inherent to you in the moment will pave the way for the next. Projecting into the future and mulling over the past serve little purpose to the conscious. While you fantasize, your mind continues to digest your immediate surroundings. If the conscious is tied up, the mind lacks its reflective dual nature, and chaos will ensue. A disconnect can send you off into cultural, religious, political, and social mayhem you may not realize for years, for years and years. Severed from your own personal nature, you have fallen out of orbit. But like a pebble in the water, this moment of realization is a saving grace. A small, simple irony: the flip of a switch will flood your mind with light.