My bedroom window overlooks the lawn, which has two pipal trees in it. One of them is the parent and the other its offspring. For the past month, I’ve noticed that after the leaves fell off, only the parent tree started to grow its leaves back. The offspring tree remained barren for a while, and that worried me. I asked my wife why she thought that one tree’s leaves were returning while the other’s not. She said simply, “Everything is different.”
This statement sent my mind on a trip. A trip that momentarily in my imagination encompassed all of creation!
In my mind, I saw the leaf of the tree and peered into it to reveal the individual cells teaming with activity, inside those cells I could see that down to the deepest levels there were smaller and smaller sub-units – molecules, atoms, sub-atomic particles and so on.
One estimate is that there are 200 Trillion (200,000,000,000,000) atoms in a single human cell and that there are 100 trillion cells in an average human body. So the total number of atoms in a human body is approximately 200 septillion or 224 atoms. Imagine that! This number is greater than the total estimated number of stars in the known universe, which is just a comparatively modest 70 sextillion stars. Let us not even try to calculate how many atoms exist in the known universe; the mind would be unable to comprehend it. But for a moment – try.
Imagine all of the atoms that exist. Each and every one of them is different in their own right. The way God created the universe is that everything has individuality. Imagine that, not only do atoms have individuality, but they also have individual destinies. How so?
Take hydrogen. It is the simplest most abundant element in the universe. But every single atom of hydrogen has its own story to tell. Some are present inside the bodies of distant stars; some are in water (H2O) molecules in the oceans of planet earth, some in Methane (CH4) lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan, some in the Ammonia (NH3) clouds in the atmosphere of mighty planet Jupiter, some inside your body, some in mine.
Each and every atom created is in a sense an individual entity with its own destiny. Just because two atoms of hydrogen, or oxygen, or beryllium, or gold, or praseodymium or any of the other known elements appear to be identical, they are not. There is a certain quality or property of creation that everything even down to the sub-atomic particle is endowed with a certain characteristic of individuality. Nothing in the universe is exactly the same as anything else. We are all unique. Even in our unity.
Every atom has a tale to tell, a journey to recall, a destiny to achieve.
If we take the case of all the atoms that are there inside the leaf, where our present journey began, we know that these atoms began their journey elsewhere, perhaps in the sun, then into the ocean, then perhaps it was a part of a fish, an animal, again into the soil, then through the nutrients of the soil into the body of the leaf where it is now part of one of the trillions of cells. But its journey doesn’t end there. It will go elsewhere in time. Atoms get exchanged all the time. Every breath you take, you get new atoms, every exhale gives atoms back.
Out of all of these trillions upon trillions of atoms, no two are exactly the same. Yet each one is remembered in the mind of God as one of His almost infinite creations. Just like the atoms are not the same but come together to make larger entities, those larger entities form even larger ones and so on, perhaps without even being aware of it.
What if our planet earth, the planets, the sun and all the other billions of stars in the galaxy and all the billions of other known galaxies are likewise like the atoms and cells of a much-much-much larger entity of which by the same analogy we are also part of? What if? Imagine the thought.
Well my mind is now back in the here and now. Good news, the leaves of the offspring pipal tree have started to grow back!
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