Sonoluminescence: The Light at the End of the Tumble

We are filled with light, never forget that. But the metaphor of light used by so many is a weak substitute for the true light inside us. Some practices encourage this recognition. But too many half-heartedly pursued, improperly understood, lackadaisically researched impressions and clichés only dim the inner experience to weakly glowing embers.

Everyone has an agenda today, even a spiritual one. The endless searching through google and ebay have created a shopping list culture, an attitude to everything that can be slapped on the pad, including the undefineable.

Certain high pressure sound waves can excite a molecular structure to emit light waves. I feel something like this when I practice martial arts. The next logical step in today’s acquisitive climate would be to market this, possibly at something like Perhaps I should appear on one of those “science” shows where they drop plastic gallon containers of root beer onto blocks of dry ice to prove Godknowswhat basic physics principle.

Do I actually feel illuminated from the inside? The immediate response should be, don’t you? But that’s not the point. The issue is, does every benefit have to be: 1. definable, and 2. profitable? In many styles of Kung Fu we produce strange sounds said to affect the internal organs. We can immediately divide a pro-phenomenon explanation into two obvious possibilities. The less challenging intellectually is that the sound knows the organs just as the violin note finds the wine glass. The somewhat more interesting approach says that this particular sound works because the folding, bending and posturing of the body concentrates vectors of force directly at the organs in question and, like wind through a partially stopped flute, produces a specific and related sound.

I will tell you that practicing the martial arts certainly “lights up” my insides. Is it the same as all other physical exercises and sports? Not according to my students and friends, many of whom are variously expert in such things. I can, of course, imagine the same thing both ways; I’m sure nothing in martial arts duplicates the feeling of high speed racing, either. But the practices are unique to themselves.

The key point I am making here is that martial arts bring forth unusual experiences. From that, it is a short trip to interpretations which are really just images, and when people stuff their agendas with these often secondhand images they are essentially destroying the experience; it’s like reading those stupid cards in the tasting room which tell you what the wine is supposed to taste like.

I sit in my small office and listen as the young woman says, “I take Yoga and run but I think I need a more active—but not aggressive—practice that, well you know, centers me, but in movement.”

I attend her and think: You put in everything but the surprise. You’ve packed your own present, just to be safe. You have the ribbon, the wrapping paper, the event and the box but you left out the surprise.

I nod as she talks and a barely perceivable (to me, not her, of course) internal flash of light is nudged by my nod—having just come as I did from the training floor.

I begin to frame my next question…

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