The Birth of an Idea
It’s 7:00 AM on October 31, 2006, and I am in a hotel room on a business trip to Chicago. I open my eyes and look up at the textured, slightly glittery, everywhere hotel ceiling. A thought flashes through my mind and quickly turns into a whole body realization. I knew that for me, what I had called spirituality was simply another emotion, a manifestation of my imagination, a sensation generated inside of me no different than love or fear or anxiety or any other emotion. It was a very freeing sensation, and one that was a long time coming, for now it was completely clear to me that I was responsible for all my feelings, even that mind-altering sensation called spirituality. Yes, from now on I was going to have to take responsibility for this emotion also, and not see it as an infused experience controlled by the whim of some external-to-me arbitrator. I will explain how this transformation led directly to my creation of the Gravity Rules, but first I want to sketch an outline of my journey
I have had a lifelong interest in almost everything, and a basic mistrust of power and authority. How people think and act has been of particular interest to me and was formalized by my majoring in psychology at St. Lawrence University. In the early 60s, psychology was not considered a cool major, but I loved it anyway. Although I didn’t take up psychology as a profession, I continue to read psychology literature and observe people’s words and actions and am fascinated by what these demonstrate about the human brain and mind. The insights gained through neuroscience, psychological research, and the chemical treatment of psychosis and neurosis over the last 75 years have deepened our understanding of ourselves in factual and profound ways never known to mankind before.
Over the intervening years, I experimented with a wide variety of spiritual practices: meditation, Quakerism, out of body experiences, secular rebirthing, and multiple leadership roles in a Protestant church. Through all of these, I had a basic inner conflict: I could feel what I thought were spiritual experiences that seemed to originate from outside my body. Conversely, my study of neuroscience, and psychology all pointed toward these sensations being generated from within me. This conflict raged on inside me until that Halloween morning in Chicago. It was at that point that I realized that my subconscious had reached a conclusion—some people call this a gut feeling—and I would now be operating from the perspective that for me, all of those wonderful and warm feelings of communion with something unseen and unheard were manifestations of on my imagination and coming from within me. Instantly it was if a cloud had lifted, the path ahead seemed clearer, and my life had just become much more under my control.
By January 2007, the giddiness of my newfound freedom was beginning to transform into questions that had long interested me but had been easily ascribed to an outside arbitrator. Why, through all of man’s known history and across all religious, racial, cultural, tribal and national lines have the fundamental characteristics that define our humanity remained immutable constants: the love of our children, compassion, art, music, learning, and passion? Why do some of these markers of what we call humanity even cross over into other species? How do some of these patterns even cross between the plant and animal kingdoms, such as the similar progression of the beginnings and expansion of a city, and the beginnings and expansion of a forest, and even compound interest? In order for these systems and patterns to develop in a similar trajectory and be self-sustaining, they have to have evolved in the presence of a constant and universal force much like the uniform bending of trees on a windy hill. I am sure that you have noticed how on an exposed windy hill, with a constant and prevailing wind, say from the south, that all of the trees grow with a permanent northward lean. There may be dozens of varieties of trees on the hill—both conifers and deciduous, big and small—but they will all be leaning in the same northerly direction. This seeming hodgepodge of animate objects is demonstrating a collectively similar response to a constant, persistent and relentless force—the wind from the south.
During the winter of 2007 this puzzle stayed with me, and on the morning of April 16, again just after awakening, the answer flashed into my mind. My question: if it is not some external, intentional, all-powerful arbitrator, then what force or energy field could be the source of such a coherent planet, one where all of existence—the rocks and trees, and all animals, including mankind—is formed, sustained and transformed by some immutable force? A force that cannot be seen, heard, touched or smelled; a force that was and has remained constant at least for the last few hundred million years; a force that is inexhaustible; a force that has no intention; a force that is the same on the entire surface of our planet, and thus precisely predictable; a force whose source could only be guessed at for untold millennia until Isaac Newton described it in 1687 with the equation F=Gxm1m1/D2, the force of GRAVITY.