- A relation between people; (‘relationship’ is often used where ‘relation’ would serve, as in ‘the relationship between inflation and unemployment’, but the preferred usage of ‘relationship’ is for human relations or states of relatedness)
- A state of connectedness between people (especially an emotional connection)
- A state involving mutual dealings between people or parties or countries
- (anthropology) Relatedness or connection by blood or marriage or adoption
We all hear talk about relationships all the time, we may even be in one; and if we are having trouble with our “relationship,” we can always go and see a counsellor or buy a self-help book. The dictionary defines relationship in several ways but all the definitions talk about relationship being between humans.
“A state of connectedness” they write, but in this topic I would like to explore this more deeply with you.
The relationship I would like to begin with on our journey has nothing to do with humans per se, but affects us all in the most profound way, without us even realising it.
The sun, the moon and the earth
We have all heard the term “lunatic” being bandied about for someone of “unsound mind” who needs constant supervision, but the term comes from “luna” (latin for moon) and originally indicated someone insane, who was believed to be affected by the phases of the moon.
But after numerous scientific experiments, they have found no evidence that the moon causes this effect. But dogs howl at the full moon and people often report strange goings on, so maybe there is something in it, but we mustn’t speculate!
What we must examine, is the relationship we are in with the universe, but let us first look at the relationship between the planets in our solar system.
All of us have learnt that the earth is the third planet from the sun, and moves around it every 365 days (the length of our calendar year), and the moon moves around the earth every 28 days or so. The earth also spins on its own axis (23.5 degree tilt) and makes a full rotation once every 24 hours (the length of our earth day).
When we are facing the sun it is light and when we are facing away from the sun it is dark! With me so far?
We also have eight other planets in our solar system. Mercury (the closest to the sun), jupiter, venus, saturn, uranus, mars, neptune, and pluto (the furthest from the sun, taking many years to move around it to make one complete rotation), and all of them quietly obey the laws of nature, without giving a second thought to “am I on the correct path?” or “should I speed up or slow down.” They just sit in their assigned place, held on to by gravity, that strange and wonderful force that stops us all from flying around.
And day after day, year after year, century after century, millennia after millennia the relationships stay intact (sorry about the science lesson).
Our sun, the bringer of light and life to our planet emits a solar wind which contains plasma from the sun, and we are protected from the harmful particles by the magnetosphere (The magnetic field of a planet; the volume around the planet in which charged particles are subject more to the planet’s magnetic field than to the solar magnetic field), and we can see these particles colliding with the earth nearest the poles, the so called “aurora borealis,” or northern lights (and the corresponding southern polar lights), which gives an eerie green or red shimmer to the sky, like curtains blowing in the wind, looking almost supernatural or like a special effect from a film.
So we could say that our planet’s magnetic fields are in a relationship with the solar wind. Do you agree? Ok, so let’s move on……
The menstrual cycle
The time of the month, a period, her monthlies; there are many expressions for a woman’s menstrual cycle (a recurring cycle (beginning at menarche and ending at menopause) in which the endometrial lining of the uterus prepares for pregnancy; if pregnancy does not occur the lining is shed at menstruation), and it is marked by mood changes, tension, stomach cramps, cravings for certain foods etc.
Some women have an easy time of it, but in my experience many do not; and it is usually the men in the physical relationship that suffer (sorry ladies, I know you suffer more!). You see, men can’t understand why someone who was normal one minute, is crying the next, or angry, or complaining of a stomach ache – it doesn’t happen to us. So we say “Jeez, why are you crying?” or “Why are you so moody!” Men! We don’t understand anything do we?
But strangely (or naturally), the woman’s menstrual cycle is almost exactly the same as the cycle of the moon. We could normally pass this off as just coincidence except we have a lot of evidence that the tides are controlled by the moons influence on the earth through something called tidal force. So I think that somewhere down the line we have to accept that there are forces acting, not only on the planet, but on humans at a level we cannot comprehend through mere thought alone.
One other interesting thing I found out from one of my friends, was that when she was having her period, her two closest friends had theirs at the exact same time, even though they weren’t living in the same house!
So the sun is in a relationship with the earth, and all other planets in our solar system; the moon is relationship with the earth, and women’s menstrual cycles and the tides are in relationship with the moon.
“All very interesting,” you might say, “but what has this got to do with this topic? We’re not here for a science lesson, we could get a book at the library if we wanted to find this stuff out! What’s your point?”
Spring, summer, autumn, winter. The four seasons. In the cycle of nature we could say that spring represents birth, and winter represents death, but this is not a philosophical discussion. We are talking about the cycle of life in real terms. The rhythm of life. The cyclical nature of everything.
In winter, everything dies back in the ground, but come spring, everything comes alive again. Year in, year out. But there is nothing magical about this, nor superstitious, it is a natural process controlled by our friend in relationship, the sun.
Earlier, we mentioned that the earth rotates on its “axis” which is always at an angle of 23.5 degrees to the sun, so winter in the northern hemisphere means that the earth is farther away from the sun; and conversely, the southern hemisphere is closer to the sun, so they have what we call summer. As the earth moves round the sun on its 365 day voyage, the northern hemisphere becomes closer to the sun, thanks to the angle of the axis, bringing spring and then summer, and the southern hemisphere moves further away, bringing, you guessed it, autumn and then winter! So far so good.
We plant our crops in the spring and harvest them in summer and autumn so we have plenty of food for the winter. It all seems logical, doesn’t it?
So the relationship we have with the sun directly affects all growing cycles depending on whether we are closer or further away. If the earth’s axis was straight, we would have continual summer as we do at the equator. Ok, let’s recap:
We have said that all planets in the solar system are in relationship with each other. They are also in a relationship with the sun. We are in relationship with all the other planets and we have a relationship with the sun that affects temperature and growing cycles of plants and vegetables etc. all controlled by the position of the earth’s axis. We also have a relationship with the moon, which affects tides, and women’s menstrual cycles, (and makes dogs howl). So what have we learnt?
I would say that it is quite clear that everything is in relationship. There cannot be a winter without summer, and there cannot be a north without a south. Are we in agreement?
A fine balance
It seems that although there is nothing to show what we are physically in relationship with everything (as we have no wedding ring), there is order, and there is relationship in everything we are and everything we do, controlled by forces we cannot see.
Unfortunately, lots of people believe that this could not be possible without a creator, someone who had come up with all of this, but that is because we are using thought which is limited and believe that the universe was created by someone using thought. So we try and we try to understand it, and we investigate it with our science, but we never really get to the eternal question “Why?”
And I’ll give you one reason why we can’t understand it. Thought. A process created in the mind by memory and experience and conditioning and knowledge, all of which is limited because it is past.
So for now let’s not try to understand how this relationship was created as we will only frustrate ourselves!
It is interesting to note that thanks to just an 23.5 degree angle we can have scorching hot summers and ice cold winters, which is why we have to respect the fine balance the world is in with the sun, yet we do all we can to get the better of nature using thought, which can never be intelligence.
We are so damned clever, aren’t we? We think we know everything there is to know. And so we career through life, testing nuclear bombs, dredging the sea, digging up the entire planet for our consumer needs, polluting the atmosphere, knocking down huge areas of rainforest, polluting the rivers and the oceans, and we haven’t even started talking about the relationship between Man and the animals, and Man and Man. But do we have to?
If we can see that there is something invisible that can control the tides, women’s menstrual cycles, summer and winter, then we must accept that there is something we cannot “see” that is affecting all of us. But we shouldn’t be surprised, after all, we are all made of the same stuff.
We are all part of the whole, the universe, and each other.
So next time you think about diverting a river, blowing up your neighbour, destroying ancient forests, punching someone in the face you don’t like, or getting angry at your partner for complaining about stomach cramps, remember everything is a part of you, and that the whole world is kept in balance by an invisible relationship and a mere 23.5 degrees of tilt. How can we think that we can keep going the way we are, without something in the relationship changing? 23.5 degrees – the angle that keeps everything just so. That the summer comes every year and so does the winter; that the cycle of life is maintained.
If we think that relationship just means that two individuals who are spending time with each other, or living together, then we really know nothing. But I am sure you see it now. Everything in relationship. And remember – 23.5 degrees.
What would happen if it changed? It probably doesn’t bear thinking about.
Suddenly the selfish, greedy, angry lifestyles we lead would seem kind of insignificant compared to what would happen to the planet. Then again, maybe one day the snows will come and cover up all of Man’s hatred and desire.
by alan macmillan orr
‘the natural mind – waking up’