It’s time to add a slice into the Ponder Series. As we journey through life, we often take for granted the complexities and wonders that make us who we are. But have you ever stopped to consider the incredible amount of information that exists within our own bodies? Each and every one of us is made up of an astounding 100 trillion cells, each containing a DNA molecule that holds within it a wealth of information.
Just one of these DNA molecules holds the equivalent of 3 billion different subjects, enough to fill 1,000 volumes of books with 1 million pages each. Imagine lining up all of those pages, end to end. They would stretch from the North Pole to the Equator. And even if we were to read them nonstop, 24 hours a day, it would take us 100 years to finish.
But here’s the truly mind-boggling part: this vast library of information exists within something as small and seemingly insignificant as a single hair or fingernail. How is it possible that such a vast amount of knowledge could be contained within something so minuscule?
It is a reminder that the universe is full of mysteries and wonders, and that we are constantly discovering new things about ourselves and the world around us. And it’s not just science, but also the spiritual side of things that makes us so much more than we think we are. So, next time you look at your hair, remember that within it, there is a universe of information, waiting to be discovered.
If you’re a long time reader here, you’d remember “Ponder Series,” I am excited to announce that I will be rekindling this project on my website. The purpose of this series is to delve into the deeper questions that often get lost in the rush of everyday life.
It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane details of our daily routines – what to wear, what to do at work, how to juggle school and parenting responsibilities, and so on. These are all important considerations, but it’s also important to take a step back and think about the broader questions that shape our lives.
Questions like: Why are we here? How did we come into being? Why do we all eventually face death? Why can’t time be regained? What is the nature of time itself? Why is the human body such an engineering marvel? Why is there an order and purpose to the universe?
These are the questions that drive me to write “Ponder Series.” It is my personal reflection on the mysteries of the mind, and my humble attempt to broaden my own horizons and those of my readers. I hope that this series will encourage you to think more deeply about your own place in the world, and to find meaning and purpose in your life.
For a moment, assume you’re relaxing on the banks of a river on a beautiful spring day. Consider how a gentle wind cools and refreshes the air. Can you hear the gushing water? Can you notice the beautiful blossoms, each more beautiful than the last? Image yourself chatting to a beloved friend while admiring these beauty; imagine yourself inhaling the fresh perfume of the flowers in the air and listening to the pleasant singing of the birds. Imagine you are enjoying all of these feelings when you wake up and find yourself in bed (!). In such a circumstance, you would understand that all you thought was true was, in reality, a dream: a fabrication of your mind that abruptly evaded. Let us now envision the identical circumstance after you have woken up. Assume you’re chatting to a close friend while taking in the views and sounds of a beautiful river.If you were asked, “which of the two would you prefer?” after having experienced both, you would of course say, “the one after I woke up.” The reason for this is that what happens in our dreams stays in our dreams and does not assist a person in real life. Nobody can really be sad for what he or she has lost in a dream since they know it has no bearing on actual life. No matter how much delight a person receives in a dream, it will never be as pleasurable as when he or she is awake and in the real world. Now, let’s question this “reality”.
In the same manner, this world’s existence is a dream, exceedingly brief and transient in comparison to an afterlife. What makes us so sure that we are currently not in a dream ? When you’re in a dream, you don’t realize that it’s a dream. The life of this world, which seems so real today, will soon come to an end, and your actual, everlasting existence will begin, similar to returning from the realm of the imagination to the real world upon waking from a dream. After our deaths, our “souls” would wake up from this “dream’ of “life”. This is an ultimate truth of this finite life of ours and it is truly magical.
The concept of “past” is derived from information stored in our memories. Because of the recommendations we get, we believe we live in three distinct periods of time known as the past, present, and future. The only reason we have a sense of “history” is because numerous things have been implanted in our minds. For example, the time we registered in primary school is a piece of information in our memory, and we view it as a past event. However, subsequent occurrences are not remembered.As a result, we consider the uncertainties to be things that will be experienced or occur in the future. But, just as the past has been experienced through our eyes, so has the future. However, we cannot know these experiences since they have not been recorded in our memory. We are bound to time, but Almighty is beyond the realm of time.
I remember that I previously wrote about this in perceiving time in Ponder Series before.
..All the experiences, events happening truly runs as “stories” in our minds and we only have impressions of them as they pass us. When you read an article on my website, for example, that’s a story weaved in your mind when you think about it later. We “perceive” time by usually comparing a “story” or a “moment” with a previously known moment or event if we think about it. When you’re reading this blog on your phone or on your computer screen, just clap your hands once and you’ll hear a sound. If you clap once again, you’ll hear another sound. Now, we call this interval between these two claps “time” by thinking that there’s an interval between them. When you clap the hands for the second time, the first clap sound you heard is only nothing more than a memory that’s formed in your mind, sort of like an imagination. You see, this comparison of moments and events and correlating with each other is what we perceive as time in our lives.
When I say that we’ve a lot of blessings that we don’t notice, it might appear poetic & looks like another philosophy post blooming. I would like you to think with me on breathing. Have you thought deeply and consciously about what a great blessing it is. I had been hospitalized with situations where it was difficult for me to catch my breath. I had put a note on that day in my diary to write about it many months later when I’d be fine and this is the day & boy I’ve thought a lot about it in depths through which I want to take you now : )
I’m not an expert to expound professional biology here, but the intention here is to unravel the magic happening inside you on a layman terms.
Try holding your breath for about 40 seconds. The beauty of breathing is that if you or me are put in a situation that we can’t breathe for more than about 40 seconds, we would give up everything we have just to breathe again. After a minute or so of not being able to breathe, we would be losing consciousness. Brain death would follow in about 3 minutes after that.
You’d have taken approximately about 7 breaths by the time you have reached reading till this line of my post with you not needing to do anything to facilitate it. Have you thought about the marvelous system within you enabling you to breathe. The air entering your lungs has been cleaned and a humidity regulation happens within your windpipe. Blood circulation from the lungs enables it to be conveyed to cells and are used for their nourishment and vital functions. Carbon Dioxide is received as a waste material and when we expel the breath, it is pushed out. We know the science, but have we thought about it and how fortunate we are to take a breath through this state of the art system inside. Breathing is a key to many important things happening within our body such as cell division, beating of our hearts, movement of muscles, thought etc. This process that we often relegate as a simple one represent the source of life of about 100 trillion cells in our body.
The gateway to the entire system is the nose. We often think of nose as the organ for detecting odour or smell. But they serve important functions such as making the air we breathe suitable for lungs. The nose has a perfect aerodynamic design and is a marvellous air conditioning system within itself. Nose has special filters inside in the form of hairs. Even its curvature has its design intent. The nasal mucus warms and moistens the air we intake. After the first level of filtration, the second filter it passes through is the mucus. Dust, bacteria and pollen are trapped. There are mobile propellants carrying mucus and they get swallowed in reflex and gets destroyed by stomach acids. Alternatively, they could be expelled by coughs. A pretty decent vigorous cough has a speed of 960 Km per hour. Have you thought about this safety precaution within you ? Hairlike structures called cilia line the mucous membrane and move the particles trapped in the mucus out of the nose. The tiny hair like structures called cilia on deeper examination is an engineering marvel. It forms a cylindrical rotor with nine different protein chains. It’s internal components resemble an engine. The next component is the windpipe.
The walls of the windpipe are supported by C-shaped rings of cartilage.If the windpipe had been made from flesh alone, the ensuing softness could result in regular blockages. That could make it not possible for us to breathe. If it had been made from some thing as hard as bone, then our actions could be to a huge volume restricted. Yet the cartilaginous shape which makes up the windpipe is ideally fitted to all varieties of movement, and it continually stays open because of its flexibility. There is a small flap of elastic cartilage referred to as the epiglottisproper at the doorway to the windpipe. This flap routinely closes the doorway to the windpipe at some stage in swallowing. During all of the hundreds of food you’ve got got eaten, from babyhood right as much as the present, you have swallowed tens of hundreds of times. And each single time this little flap has closed the doorway for your windpipe at precisely the proper moment. Although we are ignorant of its presence and may exert no control over it, this little flap has saved your life via way of means of closing the doorway for your windpipe at simply the right moment.
Body tissues produce carbon dioxide due to their daily functions. This carbon dioxide is carried away from the tissues through the blood. This blood, loaded with carbon dioxide, is dirty blood. In order for the blood to be wiped clean it needs to make touch with the air. The oxygen in the air and the carbon dioxide withinside the blood will as a result be exchanged. There are round five litres of blood inside the human body. In order to be aired, this five litres of blood needs to unfold over a place of around 100 square metres. That is equal to the area of a tennis court. Everyone reading this blog post now has a place the scale of a tennis court squeezed into his lungs. Think about it!
The lungs consist of bronchia divided into hundreds of various tubes. At the end of every any such bronchia are the alveoli, or air sacs, the size of a pinhead. There are about three hundred million of those air sacs in a healthy lung. Their general floor region is equal to that of a tennis court. The air passing via the bronchia fills the alveoli. The alveoli are blanketed with a dense community of capillaries, the smallest of the blood vessels. The alveoli and capillaries are separated from every different with a skinny membrane. This membrane allows an alternate of gasses among the blood and the air. The carbon dioxide inside the dirty blood and the oxygen in the air are exchanged here. And the dirty blood is cleansed in the alveoli. The device which permits your blood to be cleansed with each breath you’re taking is constructed on an air sac no large than a pinhead. Alveoli has a thin water layer inside and this creates surface tension. This could cause the alveoli to collapse on exhalation, but it does not happen when we breathe due to surfactants produced by Type II cells. These surfactants reduce the surface tension of water inside the alveoli.
Now, the oxygen which enters the alveoli interacts with cells that’s in charge of transportation, the “red blood cells”. Haemoglobin, a special protein is present inside the red blood cells. There are about 250 million haemoglobin molecules in every single red blood cell. They contain iron items and they bind to oxygen like a magnet. When it reaches the relevant places, some internal mechanisms within the body reduce this binding power of haemoglobin and thereby aiding release of oxygen. The by product carbon dioxide is also transported similarly. There’s a very delicate and balanced plan in place here.
The role of brain in this process is also worth pondering. The muscles around the ribcage are sent commands from the nerves in the medulla to fill the lungs with air. This signal is cut for 3 seconds which aids to the muscles to relax enabling exhalation of air. This is not in our control and we don’t think consciously about it.
To summarize it, we have the marvellous air conditioning process in the nose, the safety measures in the respiratory tracts, the functioning of cilia and mucus, the special design of the windpipe, the flap openings, the tennis court area squeezed in our lungs, the alveoli of size no more than a pinhead, interacting cells, haemoglobin, the special nervous system directing a sophisticated transportation network. And the magic happens without you expending any effort or thinking about it.
It took me a hospitalization to ponder deeply about it and feeling grateful for this. Don’t we need to be filled with gratitude & awe to Almighty when we take a single breath. Think about it. For something as effortless as breathing, there’s an entire world working inside us aiding it and it’s too sophisticated to be an accident or co-incidence. It’s tailor designed on purpose for you. They’re working in the background to be known & discovered by you. To be aware of it is key to many enlightening delights. It’s another moment where we discover extraordinary systems within what seems ordinary. God bless!
You’d have taken roughly around 36 breaths by the time you’ve finished reading this article : )
Some of the other chapters from the Ponder Series that you can read on :
When we think about the world around us and also when we look within, it might seem usual and ordinary. But ponder series, as you might have already guessed, is all about thinking deeply and delving into the details by going beyond the ordinary perceptions. It’s a very humble endeavor towards unlocking extraordinary in the ordinary by opening our eyes of wisdom and insight. Hope you enjoy reading them. God bless friends : )
..“The really magical things are the ones that happen right in front of you. A lot of the time you keep looking for beauty, but it is already there. And if you look with a bit more intention, you see it.”
― Vik Muniz
In fact, unraveling this same magic is what keeps our Ponder Series up and running. It’s my humble effort to explore beauty and purpose through awareness and intention. Photography and liberal arts are marvelous brushes to paint these themes.
Around 5 months back or so, I had written on the theme of realizing roots. We talked about trees with their branches spreading through the air and producing fruits & the marvelous miracle of tiny seeds and grains bearing huge trees within them. If we pause and consciously think about it, the roots which are soft when we touch then pierce through hard rocks and dark earth. As the roots pierce the hardest depths, the branches on the top spread in the air bearing fruits and leaves retaining moisture despite the heat outside. Have we wondered about what a miraculous piece of machinery this is? We can see that they’re under a command. A seed in the process of its initial development would require a lot of things for it to flourish well. The right kind of soil, the balance of water, temperature, delicate humidity balances are some of them. The proportion and the correct balance of each of these factors are paramount for the seed to develop. The right mix and proportion reach them. Can an unconscious entity like a seed work consciously for this proportion to be right? That’s a definite no. We see intention, purpose, and design. Almighty has left these beautiful wonders around us as locks that could only be opened by the key of our thoughts and awareness. It’s consciousness and awareness that elevates & humbles us. The provisions in front of us would invoke yearnings and reflection for the seeker.
Our brain has about 100 billion neurons in them. When you read this blog now, or when you smell the fragrance you wear, when you hear sounds, in short, when you do everything, electrical signals race between these neurons along billions of tiny neuron highways. The messages sent by neurons in your brain is more than the messages sent by all phones in this world. All neurons together in the brain can generate enough electricity to power a low-wattage bulb. Knowing our senses, knowing ourselves, and pondering on the wonders is the key that unlocks many mysteries of this world.
I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer — and what trees and seasons smelled like — how people looked and walked and smelled even. The memory of odors is very rich.
John Steinbeck, East of Eden
There’s something called involuntary memory in us. When we get exposed to a stimulus, that’d trigger a strong memory from your past. For me, it could be the rich aroma of south Indian dosa with thick sambar that takes me to my childhood days and brings the memory of my home. There’re perfumes that bring in memories of Netta. For some people, the baking smell would take them from their rooms through memory travel to a cafe they’ve been in before. Brain regions processing smell, our vivid memories, and emotions are wired similarly.
A scent is a chemical particle that floats in through the nose and into the brain’s olfactory bulbs, where the sensation is first processed into a form that’s readable by the brain. Brain cells then carry that information to a tiny area of the brain called the amygdala, where emotions are processed, and then to the adjoining hippocampus, where learning and memory formation take place.
Scents are the only sensations that travel such a direct path to the emotional and memory centers of the brain. All other senses first travel to a brain region called the thalamus, which acts like a “switchboard,” relaying information about the things we see, hear or feel to the rest of the brain, said John McGann, an associate professor in the psychology department of Rutgers University in New Jersey. But scents bypass the thalamus and reach the amygdala and the hippocampus in a “synapse or two,” he said.
That results in an intimate connection between emotions, memories, and scents.
There’s a plan, order, and purpose in the way your brain is wired. How did this sophisticated system come around to you? Are with thinking about it? There’s master craftsmanship in our bodies and how everything is perceived. If we delve deep into the ordinary, it helps to discover the extraordinary miracles in them. Time for reflection
Every single bit of art you see here, there’s a reflection in my mind, a theme that I contemplate when I work on it with my heart. If you didn’t know, I’m always enraptured about flower petals and the beautiful art they effuse. Remember ornate blossoms and ethereal quality? These marvelous pieces of art that we see all around us yearn for reflection from the beholder. If we open a vault or and old box from a courtyard and discover a painting of a tree or a beautiful flower, we wonder about the painter and hail his mastery in the art. Not in the tiniest speck of possibility can we convince ourselves that the beautiful painting that we saw in the vault came about when somebody threw a paint can into the air and it eventually came about into this masterpiece painting through rain and wind flowing on the paint over years. There’s conscious design, symmetry, and intent in the painter working patiently on the painting and completing it. The work of art definitely leads to its painter. Appreciating the art in its wholeness leads to its artist, his mind, and his signature. In the same token, when we see these beautiful flowers around us, is there a blind curtain on our minds which hesitates us from thinking and wondering how these came about around you and takes your attention. They have a story to tell you. Shouldn’t we be seeking the artist? Awareness is the key to reflection. I’m recollecting what I wrote recently in ornate blossoms on the same theme.
“They are not randomness around us. Neither are they desultory existences around us. They have a purpose in making us ponder about them. They have a story to tell you. They’ve something to show you. They’re locks of thoughts waiting to be unlocked by you. They’re not looking for a monk. They’re looking for me and you.”