Tag Archives: Water

Wanna Make a Name for Yourself: Answer One of These Questions

In The Guardian today, there’s an article that lists “20 big questions in science.” If you want to be famous (at least in some circles), answer one of the questions. Of course, there are some ‘answers’ to the questions already. Or maybe it’d be more accurate to say that there are some hypotheses or that there is some ‘general knowledge’ in the domain of the question. However, there don’t seem to be any definitive answers, yet.

Here are the questions with a few thoughts after some of them:

1. What is the universe made of?

2. How did life begin?

3. Are we alone in the universe?

If pressed to give an answer on number three, I’d probably say something to the effect of: given how big the universe is, mathematically speaking, isn’t it more likely that there is other life out there somewhere than isn’t?

4. What makes us human?

5. What is consciousness?

On number five, I remember reading a very intriguing article in The Atlantic this past winter that explored the question: what does it mean to be conscious? It approached this question in the context of anesthesia. If this question interests you, this is one way to delve into the topic.

6. Why do we dream?

While there are many theories on why we dream, one of my favorite ways for interpreting dreams is through Jeremy Taylor’s method. This method also outside the context of dreaming.

7. Why is there stuff?

8. Are there other universes?

9. Where do we put all the carbon?

10. How do we get more energy from the sun?

Number ten, while also making you famous, would likely also make you extremely wealthy unless you went the route of Jonas Salk and polio.

11. What’s so weird about prime numbers?

12. How do we beat bacteria?

13. Can computers keep getting faster?

14. Will we ever cure cancer?

15. When can I have a robot butler?

16. What’s at the bottom of the ocean?

On number sixteen: when you realize that 95% of the ocean is unexplored, it sort of gets you curious about what might be down there. More than that, 99% of the Earth is water. There’s a lot we don’t know about the planet we inhabit.

17. What’s at the bottom of a black hole?

18. Can we live for ever?

19. How do we solve the population problem?

20. Is time travel possible?

On number twenty: if this turns out to be true, that would make for some interesting ethical and moral dilemmas.

The Time I Almost Drowned in Paradise

A couple of years ago, I had the good fortune to live in paradise. I lived on the island of Kauai — part of the Hawaiian Archipelago. It really does feel like paradise. There aren’t any roads that permit you to go faster than 50mph. The beaches aren’t usually very crowded. The temperature, on average, doesn’t get any higher than the mid-80s and doesn’t dip below the mid-60s. It’s wonderful.

Just about everyday, I got into the routine of going to the beach. I was living in Hawai’i and I knew that it likely wouldn’t be a long-term thing (though I certainly considered it!), so I wanted to squeeze out as much paradise time as I could. It helped that I had a dog who needed exercise. At some point, I wanted to learn how to surf, but I never quite got around to it. Although, I did enjoy boogie-boarding and playing in the surf. I would usually exercise my dog and then I would go and get my exercise (by boogie-boarding).

Anyhow, there was this one day where the waves weren’t particularly high, so I was just relaxing close to the shore (in the water). In fact, it was on my favorite beach in Hawai’i — Hanalei Bay. Depending on who’s rankings you’re reading, it’s often rated as one of the best beaches in the US. After having spent many afternoons, evenings, and even a Christmas morning (!) there, it’s easy to see why it’s been rated as one of the best in the US. I haven’t seen many beaches outside of the US, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see it on a top 25 (maybe even a top 10?) list of the best beaches in the world.

So, on this world-class beach, I was enjoying the water near the shore. I was experimenting with the undertow, which wasn’t particularly strong that day (but which I would eventually learn that it was stronger than I realized). I would face the horizon and plant my feet in the water and lie back, while still keeping my feet planted. By doing this, the undertow would then rake against my calves and sometimes, it would pull the feet out from under me. When the undertow would pull my feet out, I would sometimes float on the water for a bit before I’d then stand up and go back to the spot that I started.

Well, one of these times that I was floating on the water, probably lost in thought, I went to put my feet down on the ground, but there wasn’t a ground. That’s alright, I thought. I can just swim back into a place where I can stand. So, I started swimming towards the shore. As I was doing this, I noticed that the waves had started to pick up a little bit. In addition, by being out away from the shore, the waves were stronger than the undertow that I was standing in. At first, I thought this was to my advantage. I thought I could just catch one of the waves with my body and have it carry me in.

I would watch the waves and try to catch one as it was picking up speed. No matter what I tried, I never seemed to catch the wave with my body. I later learned that this was probably because I wasn’t doing it right, but at the time I thought I was doing it right. By this time, the rhythm of the waves had taken me out even farther from the shore than when I started trying to bodysurf into safety.

I don’t consider myself a very strong swimmer (which is why I was trying to catch one of the waves back into the shore), but I was out of options — I had to swim. So, I turned on my stomach and started to swim (albeit, a bit panicked) back to the shore. There was one slight problem. I had to watch out for the waves, which had now grew to 3- to 4-feet. By surfing standards, still rather small, but for a not so strong swimmer trying to get back to shore, seemingly insurmountable. Watching for the waves, which were crashing down on me at times and trying to swim back to the shore, I could feel my panic rising. I would swim 5 or 10 feet and then would have to duck under the water because of the wave crashing. When I would reemerge from the water, I’d be right back where I started swimming or sometimes, even farther out!

I was in trouble.

A poor swimmer who was already fatigued was now caught in between the waves and the undertow. I had given up. I wasn’t going to be able to swim back to the safety. Thoughts of drowning started to flood my head. I’m not going to make it. I’m going to be a statistic! I’m going to die in paradise! All I had left to do was to try and wave someone down. My eyes caught the shore which seemed like it was 200 feet away. The beach was sparse. More panic. It was a lazy weekday prevening. I started to wave one of my hands towards the shore trying to get someone’s attention. In order to wave one hand towards the shore, I lost one of my four limbs to keeping my head above water. More panic. I could feel the water getting shallower, so I turned my head to notice — at the last second — that a 5-foot wave was about to crash down on me. I ducked under the water just before the wave crashed on me above the water, but that didn’t stop it from hitting me once under the water.

The force from the wave spun me. When I reemerged from under the water, I was facing the horizon. I turned again to face the shore and began waving an arm again. More panic. The beach was so sparse that I was sure no one saw me.

And then…

It looked like someone was taking a boogie board into the water. Was he coming for me or was he just coming to play in the water? He didn’t seem to be moving with much urgency, so I waved my hand a bit more vigorously. I wanted him to know that I was in trouble. It looked like he was coming for me. Crash. I wasn’t paying attention and the wave crashed down on me. Luckily, it wasn’t like the 5-footer that spun me under the water, but it still knocked me under and forced me to swallow a bit of salt water.

I turned again to face the shore and noticed that the boogie-boarder was only 20 feet or so from me. He was coming to save me. I’m going to live!

When he reached me, he told me to put a hand on the boogie board and we began swimming towards the shore together. With the boogie board, it didn’t take us very long to get into the shore. One of the waves caught us and helped us forward a bit. Soon enough, I was standing again in the water. I was standing! It never felt so good to have the ground under my feet. Even walking through the water back to the beach, I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins to the point that I was almost shaking.

When we got the shore, I thanked the Hawaiian man — profusely — and he explained to me that, at first, he thought I was waving at a friend to come out into the water. I’m glad that he eventually realized that was not the case. He also told me what to do in those situations, if it ever happened again (while I was thinking to myself, “yeah right, I’m never going in the water again!”). He instructed me to swim parallel to the shore rather than perpendicular. By swimming parallel to the shore (or on an angle that’s more parallel than perpendicular), I’d eventually get to a place where I could stand. If I continued to swim perpendicular, I’d be stuck in-between the wave and the undertow for hours.

I profusely thanked him again and then walked with my wobbly legs to the car. When I got to my car, there was a surfer there who asked me if I was alright. I said that I was still shaking a bit, but that I was embarrassed and grateful that the Hawaiian man came to save me. He said not to worry about it and that it had happened to him before, too. I thought to myself, really? I was watching him surf and he certainly knew what he was doing. He continued by explaining that sometimes, the waves can get stronger when you’re not expecting it and by the time you realize it, you’re stuck. He said that someone had to come and get him. Wow, I thought to myself. If it can happen to a skilled surfer, I guess it can happen to anyone. I thanked him for telling me. Again, he told me not to worry about it and that it could happen to anyone. I got in my car and drove home.


I didn’t go to the beach the next day, but I did eventually go back to the beach (I mean, I was still living in Hawai’i, how could I not go to the beach, right?) When I did build up enough confidence to get back to the beach, you can be sure that I was vigilant in my ability to stand while I was in the water.

I thought I’d share this story with you for a couple of reasons.

1. You never know when you’re going to be humbled by nature. I didn’t go to the beach that day expecting to nearly drown. Water makes up 99% of the Earth! The sheer size and force of water is awe-inspiring. As a result, it’s necessary to respect the water. If you don’t, it’s sure to humble you.

2. The kindest of strangers is infinite. The Hawaiian man could have easily ignored my waving hand assuming I was waving to a friend. Luckily for me, he thought I might be in trouble to come check it out. To him, and to strangers, I am forever grateful.

With Love and Gratitude

Dr. Emoto, love and gratitude, water crystal, healing intention, power of wordsAnytime I write something to another person, I nearly always end the message with: With Love and Gratitude. I’ve been asked on a number of occasions why it is that I do this. I usually give people the abridged version (spreading joy) or something like that. I thought it would be good to have a post here explaining why it is that I use these four words to sign off on what I’ve said. Initially, I will refer you to two posts I have already written here having to do with the importance of our words & thoughts (for ourselves and for others).

Sometime during the summer of 2005, I had the chance to see the documentary, What The Bleep Do We Know!? Much of what was offered in the film was not new to me (given my unique exposure to many esoteric influences while growing up), but there was something that I found uniquely interesting about one of the clips from the movie that I’ve included here.

Dr. Emoto, Masaru Emoto, Hidden messages in water, water messages, healing intentionAfter watching the documentary, I was so happy that there was science being done to “back-up” the sorts of things that I already thought to be true. During the Fall of that same year, I was able to get a copy of Dr. Emoto‘s book: “The Hidden Messages in Water.” I didn’t want to take what the movie was telling me at face value, so I wanted to read his book. After reading his book, I was confident that there had to be something to the experiments he was doing. So this is half the story. The other half involves a piece of synchronicity.

At the same time I was reading about Emoto’s work, I happened upon an email (or maybe I stumbled onto the site, I really don’t remember exactly how it happened) regarding “The Go Gratitude Experiment.”Go Gratitude Logo The ‘experiment’ was all about Gratitude. I really enjoyed getting the “42 knew views on Gratitude” [spelling intended] and I still have the emails they came in. Some of the work by the Go Gratitude folks has shifted over to a new website (Blooming Humans), but from what I can tell, it’s essentially the same message: Gratitude matters.

After reading Emoto’s book and pairing it with the knowledge from the “Gratitude Experiment,” I was so pleased that I printed off a document containing the words “Love & Gratitude” filling the page in size 80 font and taped the words in different parts of my room. I put one on each wall, I put one on the face of the shelf just above where my computer monitor was and I even put some in my closet and drawers (why shouldn’t my clothes radiate Love & Gratitude, right?)

At first, I was a little shy signing off emails to people “With Love and Gratitude.” It didn’t necessarily feel appropriate to have the word “love” in certain kinds of emails. That word can be quite ‘charged’ for some folks, and I didn’t necessarily want to invoke those sorts of feelings when they were reading my email. Eventually, as I got into the habit of signing off emails “With Love and Gratitude” to people, it would sometimes just slip out when signing off emails that were of a more business-like nature. As this started to happen more and more,Emoto, Masaru Emoto, hidden messages in water, water crystals, love and gratitude I began to realize that my initial trepidation was unnecessary. In fact, I began to relish sending emails to people as it allowed me the chance to say what I needed to say, with love and gratitude.

Since Emoto’s work was published, there have been a number of critics, which I suppose is to be expected, and some of them even raise important points. The clincher for me is Dean Radin. I’ve spoken about Dean Radin before a number of times on here. He is a Senior Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and is the “author or coauthor of over 200 technical and popular articles, a dozen book chapters, and several books.” In 2006, Dean Radin (along with Emoto and other researchers) sought out to test the effects if distant intention on water crystal formation. They used a double-blind method (an experiment in which the experimenters and the participants both do not know which group is experimental and which is the control) and their results:

Results indicated that crystals from the treated water were given higher scores for aesthetic appeal than those from the control water (P = .001, one-tailed), lending support to the hypothesis.

A couple of years later, Radin set out to replicate the findings — again. This time, it was a triple-blind study. A triple-blind study is when the experimenters, the participants, and the evaluators, all, do not know who is receiving treatment and who is not receiving treatment. And again, their results:

Results suggested that crystal images in the intentionally treated condition were rated as aesthetically more beautiful than proximal control crystals (p = 0.03, one-tailed).

I had already believed the water crystal experiments to be true, but after reading the papers published by Radin, now I can be much more sure that they are true. So there you have it. Now you know why I sign-off my emails and comments with:

With Love and Gratitude

Dr. Emoto, love and gratitude, water crystal, healing intention, power of words