SPIRITUALITY, METAPHYSICS, PHILOSOPHY, ANCIENT MYTHS
IN FICTION AND IN FACT
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||We are happy to announce our winners
of First Human Potential Non-Fiction
for WHY NOT
ME? The keys to unlock your power, and release your potential
has been awarded the First Prize
the Nature of Being or The Effect of Myristoylation on the
Structure and Stability of Hisactophilin, a close second.
As the second place was of high standard, we decided to extend
the publication to second place also.
THE WINNING ENTRY
WHY NOT ME?
The keys to unlock your power, and release your potential
by Mark Meincke
In the Hindu religion, there is a sharp focus
on Dharma. Choosing your Dharma is choosing to walk the path
set for you by the Supreme Being. If you follow your Dharma,
you will no longer be a fish out of water, or a round peg trying
to fit in a square hole. When you are doing what you are meant
to do, you will then be utilizing your natural skill sets and
talents; thus, success will be inevitable. Finding your Dharma
is like falling in love. If you're ready for it to happen, then
when it happens, you will just know. And nobody will be able
to talk you out of it. If you aren't sure of what it is you should
be doing, just make sure that you are in the ball park. Close
is good enough for a start.
One way to find your Dharma is to write a
list of what you don't want in your life. Most people have an
easier time identifying what they don't want than what they do
want. It will still take courage to cut these items out of your
life, but at least you will have a list to use as a reference
when you are deciding on one path over another. The closer you
are to your Dharma, the easier and more enjoyable your life path
The best example I can think of to illustrate
Dharma is to talk about my dog, Abby. Abby is an English Springer
Spaniel or "Springer" for short. Springers are born
and bred to hunt and flush out game birds such as grouse and
pheasants, which is the prime purpose for me choosing this breed.
From her normal behavior, most people would assume that Abby
is a happy dog when they meet her. She is a bundle of excitement
when she greets every guest, and she is even more excited if
she recognizes who you are. She's an indoor dog who is well cared
for, pampered, and loved as much as any dog could hope for. It's
true that our little Abby is generally a happy dog who is in
good spirits. However, she wasn't born and bred to be a family
Abby suffers from arthritis, and at home she
needs help to get up on to the couch or into her favorite chair.
She climbs the stairs with some difficulty and discomfort, but
she can do it on her own. In this environment where she is merely
content, this is the demeanor of our precious friend. One would
never suspect what she is capable of when she is placed in the
environment she was born and bred to be in.
When the short two weeks of pheasant season
comes around, I'm ready for it. The pheasant area is a two-hour
drive south of my home. Consequently, for me to be there for
first legal shooting light, I have to get up bright and early.
The moment I grab my hunting jacket and my shotgun, Abby perks
up and starts to look like a different dog. Suddenly she is able
to fly up and down the stairs without any sign of pain, and she
has a look of anticipation in her eyes that can only be described
as sheer joy. On the drive down to the pheasant area, she calms
down. But as soon as we get within ten minutes of our regular
area, Abby starts to fuss with anticipation. Even though we only
go about three times a season, she recognizes every tree and
bush within a fifteen mile radius. By the time we start down
the final dirt road, Abby is jumping out of her skin with excitement.
The moment I park, I open the door for her, and she bolts out
of the vehicle as if she were on fire.
Once I get all of my gear prepared and the
clock tells me that it's time for legal shooting light, we're
off to hunt. My little arthritic dog runs full out, weaving in
and out of the bushes without any encouragement for three hours
straight. Even in the deepest bush (which Springers are renowned
for), Abby will crash through the thistles and leap over the
logs and deadfall as if she were four years younger and much
fitter than she actually is. When Abby does find a bird or rabbit,
she lets out an uncontainable yelp of excitement as she chases
after it for me. Each time she finds a bird, she is re-energized
This is the power of Dharma. Hunting is what
Abby was born and bred to do. It is the reason she was placed
on this earth. Although she can be relatively happy without hunting,
she will never be so happy as when she is hunting.
When you are traveling the path you were meant
to travel, the one you were designed for, you will then be at
your happiest as well. If I could hunt with Abby all year round,
I would. It brings me enormous joy to watch the excitement she
experiences during the hunt. Even when we aren't successful at
finding any game, she is still far happier pursuing her purpose
than being at home on the couch. She doesn't lament that she
has failed in her attempt; instead, she relishes the fact that
she had the opportunity to try.
"One's real life is often the life that
one does not lead." Oscar Wilde
"A musician must make music, an artist
must paint, and a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at
peace with himself." Abraham Maslow
ON THE NATURE OF
The Effect of Myristoylation on the Structure and Stability of
by Fred Meissner
That subtitle, in case you're wondering, is
the title of my son's "thesis requirement for the degree
of Master of Science in Chemistry." In his "Acknowledgments,"
Joe recognizes the support of his colleagues and his wife, Karen;
he also gives a nod "To [his] family-thank you for all your
love and for pretending to understand [what] this project is
about." So I read my son's thesis, summed up in the final
sentence of his "Abstract" as a discussion of "the
molecular consequences of myristoylation on protein stability
and structure, as well as the molecular basis for [a] pH dependent
myristoyl switch." I even find myself nodding sometimes
as I read his work, trying to make some sense of it. "That's
my boy," I think, pride flaring up as I struggle with the
concepts, but no sooner do I put his paper down and any understanding
I might have quickly slips below the horizon of comprehension.
Lately I've been intrigued with the metaphysics
of the sun. Just what, exactly, is this presence that I walk
toward each morning as I make my way to work-a twinkle in God's
eye? The place where all retired Buddhas go? Some kind of cosmic
fireplace? We're like one great big global Dick and Jane family
stretching out our hands, wiggling our toes, warm in our hearts
on the hearth of planet Earth. But metaphor can get a little
dicey here, or just plain sappy; let's turn to science to give
us some kind of accurate description of what the sun's all about.
On "Bob the Alien's Tour of the Solar System" website,
under "Eleven Facts about the Sun," we are informed
in "Fact Two" that "if the Sun was brighter, it
would be hotter and would have burnt off its hydrogen fuel billions
of years ago. This means that, if the Sun is any different to
how it is now, life on Earth would not exist. It is the perfect
size, perfect age, perfect distance, perfect temperature and
perfect brightness for life to exist on a planet like Earth."
What I find incredibly flabbergasting about the information in
this paragraph, given the enormity of what is being implied,
is that Bob has used neither italics nor an exclamation point
anywhere to emphasize the significance of his statements.
My son, Joe, has assured me that not one exclamation
point appears in his thesis. He does, however, in my opinion
anyway, use the semi-colon quite effectively. For example, Joe
states: "Despite its rather unusual core structure, non-myristoylated
hisactophilin is a relatively stable protein; adding a myristoyl
group to the core may likely affect the overall stability of
the protein." The semi-colon emphasizes the delicate balance
needed for a particular set of circumstances to take place: the
stability of a protein; me trying to read a scientific thesis;
life on Earth and the energy of the sun. The Dalai Lama calls
this kind of relationship "dependent co-origination,"
a "term used to signify that phenomena do not have inherent
existence but exist only in relationship to causes and conditions."
In "Fact Four" from Bob's "Eleven
Facts about the Sun," we are informed that "if we could
remove the bright, glowing surface of the Sun, we could see nothing
other than blackness. Only the Sun's outer surface shines brightly.
The inside of the Sun is complete darkness." That's not
a bad analogy for the progress I'm making on the original idea
for this essay; however, if I was Bob's editor, I would suggest
a semi-colon after "brightly" rather than a period.
At www.nineplanets.org I learned that "conditions
at the Sun's core . . . are extreme. The temperature is 15.6
million Kelvin and the pressure is 250 billion atmospheres."
"The Sun's energy output (3.86e33 ergs/second or 386 billion
billion megawatts) is produced by nuclear fusion reactions. Each
second about 700,000,000 tons of hydrogen are converted to about
695,000,000 tons of helium and 5,000,000 tons . . . of energy
in the form of gamma rays." I'll refrain from any comment
on the punctuation.
I remember one day when our Joe was just a
baby, I came home to our apartment to find an ambulance in the
driveway and Terry's terrified face telling me that Joe had had
a seizure. We'd find out later that it was a fibral convulsion
brought on by a fever that had spiked too quickly, but at that
time I only thought we were going to lose our son, this small,
wee form that we'd brought into the world; I rode with him in
the ambulance; I held his fever-wracked body at the hospital;
I refused to let him out of my sight while the doctor and the
nurses worked with him, unable to comprehend the possibility
of a life without him.
In his "Summary," Joe states that
"further denaturation experiments will allow for not only
a better understanding of the stabilizing effects of myristoylation,
but potentially an understanding of the energetics of the myristoyl
switch. Implementation of careful control experiments may help
to uncover the free energy required for the switch to occur-which
has not been completed for any myristoylated proteins."
Someone else, it seems, will need to carry on where he's left
off. Maybe our understanding of anything in this world needs
to work that way. Our comprehension of the nature of being may
reside at the molecular level in the free energy in the beta-barrel
of a protein; it may be discovered in the vast mass of the sun's
core; it might be found in the sudden realization of how precious
this life is; everything's a perfect, precarious balance that
I think we have a responsibility, at the very least, to be aware
of; regardless of how insignificant we feel in this incomprehensible
space of the universe, we are part of it; maybe we need to remember
that we exist semi-colonially; there's no place for periods here;
I find some kind of warm comfort in that