Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Unlocking Nature's Code--the secret message in plain sight


Here’s the short version of this post: Nature’s Code is our DNA. It is the first language. It carries God’s oldest, most fundamental message; so it is the true ‘bible’. In order to live right—to find happiness, wellness, and peace—we must learn to ‘listen to our bodies.’ People call it instinct, or intuition. It is more than that. It’s about getting in sync with God’s real, physical essence, etched in a four-letter language at the core of every single cell in our bodies.

This page, along with the Paradox tab, is where I “go deep”, delving into what I believe—the basis of my ‘religion’ or more accurately, the way I try to live and interact with my world.

In simplest terms, ‘Nature’s Code’ is our DNA, and for me it is the practical manifestation of God. That complex message, written using just four simple letters, defines us, guides us, and makes us who we are. It is always there, providing the ‘instinct’ that we use to respond to our surroundings, and so it is the single greatest influence on our lives. Isn’t that the role God is meant to play?

Yet we modern humans often deny our instincts, forcing our lives in unnatural directions. More than any other living thing, we have tuned out our genetic guidance, drifting away from the strong currents that make up the course of true, long-term success. We think too much. We use our minds to drown out the deeper, older messages that nature has put in place to guide us down the right channel in that ever-shifting river of life.

But our DNA isn’t going away. It is there, waiting patiently. Its message is constantly, quietly, trying to influence us to follow the right course. Other ways of saying this same thing have been expressed by many of our established religions. The Christian God wants us to find salvation. The Buddha wants to show us the way out of suffering. The very word “Islam” is an appeal to still our thoughts and submit to the message of God, to surrender ourselves (our busy, self-centered minds) in order to find the course to joy, wellness, love, and happiness—Life’s ‘Noble Course’.

Throughout history human messengers have been inspired to spread the word (Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, etc.).  The similarity of themes in their messages demonstrates a common origin.  Their inspiration comes from what Judeo-Christians call the "Holy Spirit"the very real strength, confidence, and positivity that we feel when we are ‘on course’, living or conveying a message we know is true, important, and helpful to those around us.  I find it useful to personalize that Spirit.  I call her Dalle, from the French and old Norse roots meaning ‘channel’—the strongest currents in the River of Life.  Dalle’s voice becomes ours when we heed God’s message.  Dalle’s currents flow strongest when we are following the “Noble Course” through life.  She is like a megaphone—an amplifier—giving greater strength to every word we speak, every action we take, when it is in tune with the deep-seated message of our DNA.

We all know this to be true. We’ve all felt the surge of strength and sense of well-being that comes from doing right, from pursuing a cause larger than ourselves.

Most significantly, to me, is that nothing I’ve said so far requires one shred of supernatural influence. DNA is a text that is more complete than any science book, more powerful than any religious volume, and more influential than the greatest inspirational speech ever delivered. Reading this text is not optional. We all do it all the time. It is what makes our hearts pump and our lungs draw in the fresh air. But its message holds so much more for us. Our DNA contains 1000 times more content than the Judeo-Christian bible—three billion letters vs. a bit over three million. Imagine, knowing all the mysteries that scholars explore as they interpret the bible, how much more rich our lives can be if we devote more of our energies toward personally interpreting that great book written at the very core of each and every cell in our bodies.

Let the work begin. May you find the Noble Course; may your days be filled with the peace, joy, and wisdom of Dalle.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hiking Moloka'i

Mokapu Island and Moloka'i's rugged north shore as seen from the Kalaupapa peninsula

Moloka'i (pronounced MO-lo-kah'-ee with a glottal stop--shut off all air output through your throat-- between the last two syllables) is one of the least visited and one of the most purely Hawaiian of the Hawai'i Island Chain.  I spent a week here in 1986 and several more days in 2009.  The memories are indelible.  And the best of them were experienced on foot, in places automobiles can't go.

On both visits I hiked the rambling undeveloped beaches of Kephui Beach and Papohaku Beach Park on the western end of the island, with views of Oahu just across the Kaiwi Channel:

Looking SW from Kephui Beach at sunset
 
Kephui Beach, looking N to the three lonely coconut palms
 
 
Sunset over Oahu, seen from Kephui Beach, western Moloka'i

And on both visits I walked the famous mule trail, which switches back and forth down a 1500 foot cliff to the inaccessible Leper Colony, home of the recently Sainted Father Damien, on the Kalaupapa Peninsula.  The trail starts at Pala'au State Park, famous for its sacred phallic rock, a place of pilgrimage for barren women, accessible via a quarter mile foot-only trail ...



... as well as the overlook to the Kalaupapa Peninsula and Awahua Beach:


The 2.9 mile trail does indeed descend the precipitous cliff you see in the foreground above and then follows alongside Awahua Beach, ending at the leper colony at Kalaupapa, the town in the forefront of the peninsula.  Here's a helicopter shot of the steep part of the trail taken from a post card followed by my own shot of the route of the trail, taken from the harbor area:




Most people travel this trail by mule, but I've done it four times now on foot -- twice down and twice up.


At the bottom, both times, I joined a tour of the leper colony where Father Damien served and ministered to the ill, eventually catching the disease himself and perishing.  He was canonized on October 11, 2009, just a month after these photos were taken:


Father Damien's grave beside St. Philomena Church in Kalawao
Panorama of Moloka'i's north shore with Okala Island at center
Father Damien mosaic beside St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa
Pristine Awahua Beach at the bottom of the 2.9 mile trail, accessible only by foot or mule
 
I won't extend this post into the other sights and cultural experiences on Moloka'i beyond pointing out my hands-down most authentic Island dining experience - If you stop at only one restaurant on Moloka'i, make it the Kualapu'u Cookhouse - a quaint little spot out in the country where locals gather for music every weekday evening, where the food is Island style with heaping portions, and the service is as laid back as you could hope for:



One of the books I found most helpful to understanding the natural beauty of Molokai was this one, chock full of color photos on every page, written by Ph.D. biological researchers who have scoured the island end to end.  My review is below:



Majestic Molokai: A Nature Lover's GuideMajestic Molokai: A Nature Lover's Guide by Cameron Kepler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a coffee table book in the guise of an ordinary trade paperback. It is full of color photos on every page and text written by scientists who have spent a great deal of time doing wildlife surveys on Molokai and other Pacific Islands. They cover the Island end to end, with heavy emphasis on nature, though the culture and people are also featured. It's a fine insider's look at this most Hawaiian of the Hawaiian Islands.

I have spent nearly two weeks on Molokai on two separate trips twenty years apart, and bought this book on the first of these trips. My first hand experience dovetails with the experiences portrayed by the authors in pictures and text. Although the book is dated (nearly a quarter century old now), and therefore does not discuss some of the more recent issues such as the Molokai Ranch water rights and wind farm issues. But as a guide to the island's enduring culture and natural beauty, it's pretty much timeless. If you're thinking of visiting 'The Friendly Isle', especially if you're going to do some exploring, I'd recommend you pick up this book to help with your planning.

View all my reviews