The animating force called life

In my University student days, I spent hundreds of hours in the anatomy lab dissecting cadavers.

All of my fellow students were nervous on that first day. How would we cope? 

Yet a cadaver prepared for dissection is as life-like as the chair you sit in. 

I learned anatomy. I also learned so much more. 

I wondered every day where the animating force of life was. Where had it gone from this once a human on my table? Where was it before? This incredible, even today mostly unknown magnificence of human biological engineering and functioning, a miracle from every single angle.

I could only conclude that what animates life, like the breath, is eternal. Call it what you will. A soul, a spirit, the breath. Our bodies are like a train that we ride for a time before we get off, to perhaps ride another very different train.

I also learned, smash in my face through the condition of the cadavers, that we choose to live with every action. What we eat, our fitness level, how we manage our psycho-emotional state, how we maintain our bones. All of it counts towards life and our ability to live it all.

Paul Davies, said, “Science offers a surer way to God than religion”.

I rejected the word God about a decade ago, mainly because this word is soaked in anthropomorphic male identification and far too many bias overlays. 

Bucky Fuller replaced God with the American Indigenous term, Great Spirit. 

I still do not have a word that captures anything that feels right. An organising principle, Universe, the field. 

Yet I agree with Paul Davies. To study the math and science of Universe, to study biology, to go deep into the enquiry of life, mind, consciousness, most find the great mysteries too unexplainable to fit into a neat package. Profound humility is the experience.

Is this not the point? We must be reduced to not knowing. Every time. Humbled by the eternally unexplainable.

I think of all the places we seek to affirm in our grab bag of righteousness. The rejection of science. The desire to put a perfect wall around a perfect answer. 

The great mystery brings us to our knees. Every time.

The birth of a baby. The sun each day. The seed germinating. 


The animating force called life is a beautiful mystery. Let it remain so. 

Photo Taken July 31st 2023