Running deep

I have often wondered about the glue that binds people together, about why some relationships become stronger over the years while some fall along the way. Do we all unconsciously move towards what our subconscious feels is a more comfortable or ‘stable’ state of being? Is this the reason we instinctively relate to some people while some others remain strangers forever? Could there be an analogy with the way elements in the universe come together at the most basic level?

One of the mysteries of the universe is that the atom and its tiniest particles seem to behave a lot like the planetary systems and the galaxies. At the most miniscule level, the laws of the universe and interplanetary bodies hold true. There could be an outside chance that human behaviour mimics this in more ways than one.

In atomic theory, every atom tries to achieve what is known as a ‘Stable state’. It has been postulated that this state is possible only when the number of electrons in the outermost orbit is 2 x (n square) where n is the number of the outer most orbit starting from the centre.

The Hydrogen atom has only one proton and one electron. So it’s outermost orbit is 1 and it requires 2 x 1 x 1 = 2 electrons in this orbit to achieve stability. This is the reason why Hydrogen forms a molecule H2 with two atoms each sharing one electron so that both have 2 electrons in their outermost orbit.

Oxygen, on the other hand has 6 electrons in its outermost orbit and shares two with another oxygen atom to form O2 – the state in which the gas exists. Each atom in the oxygen molecule thus achieves stable state – six of its own and two shared electrons.

However, whenever Hydrogen and Oxygen are brought together, things change. They let go of their own atoms and, in an explosive reaction, each atom of oxygen bonds with two atoms of hydrogen to form water (H2O).

This reaction cannot be stopped under normal conditions. What is amazing is that there are other elements like Oxygen with six electrons needing 2 to achieve stability – Sulphur, Selenium, Tellurium and Pollonium. However, water is a lot more common than hydrogen sulphide, for instance.

Similarly, there are other elements like Hydrogen with one electron to share – Sodium, Potassium, Cesium and Francium.

Sodium prefers to react with water – again an exothermic reaction to form sodium hydroxide. In fact, we normally store pure sodium in kerosene to prevent that reaction. Once again, fortunately, there is a lot more water on earth than salt (sodium chloride) or most other compounds.

Water, pure though it is when it is formed, can get muddy, polluted with toxins and unpotable. Yet it can be distilled back to it’s purest form – however polluted it may be. Nature does a wonderful job of distilling it anyway when it forms rain clouds.

When water falls through the atmosphere, it reacts with nitrogen and sulphur in the smog to create acids. While they can be harmful in larger quantities, traces are necessary to bring Nitrogen and Sulphur to the soil for the plants and trees to use in photosynthesis.

All this is, of course, known to most people.

The point I am trying to make here is that so much depends on the need of each atom to achieve ‘stable’ state and therefore form life sustaining compounds like water.

The web of life is held together by individual elements combining in order to achieve a more stable state than they exist in at any particular point of time. All that is needed for this fine balance to go awry is for one element to stop striving for extra stability. That it has never happened is wonderful, isn’t it?

Every living thing has that natural instinct for survival tuned to this balance.

What is important is not the state of the individual element – good, bad, ugly, perfect or imperfect. Every element is there for a reason. Some are more prone to coming together and forming a vital life sustaining molecule.

It’s vital that each element strives to become more stable, that the molecule thus formed (say water) accepts the pollutants but flows towards the ocean and then the clouds in it’s original pristine form to rain down again and sustain life once more.

It’s the same with humans. Our imperfections are not as important as the fact that we are all composed of the same perfect molecules that form the basis of every other living being.

Some of us do show up more acidic or alkaline but it’s irrelevant in the long run.

The need is not for perfection itself – the need is for the journey from the skies to the ground, the sewage water, the storm water drains, then to the polluted rivers and streams, the oceans and lakes and back again to the clouds.

The need is not to become the best – it is to strive for stability – to do the best you can to reach there.

The need is for hydrogen atoms to find oxygen more often than sulphur, to remain as water, to get polluted depending on where you fall, but head for the ocean and thence to the clouds.

When one thinks of water, most human beings think it’s most vital property is it’s purity. However, this also happens to be it’s most trivial property since it is a completely reversible trait.

It might be better to focus on the composition of the basic molecule, the basic person we happen to love and see whether he/she can join our flow, our little trickle. As long as it’s water, we can then label that molecule as a kindred soul and then hope to trickle down to the ocean and then to the clouds.

There is enough magic in finding another molecule of water to form even a single tear drop of joy together, maybe a few beads of sweat, maybe a dewdrop on a wildflower, maybe a drop in a polluted river. Maybe your molecule carries a little extra salt, maybe mine does. It doesn’t matter so much, does it, once it is mixed? You can’t purify one without the other anyway. Together, we can yet rise to the sky.

There is a balance – in knowing and accepting the imperfections of people you love and recognizing their value and belonging at the most basic level. Loved ones are an integral part of the droplets we form in our life. Once we understand that we form a drop together, we could focus on our journey together rather than on who made the drop saltier. Maybe a lot more relationships would work if both people did just that much and flowed along.

If you are lucky enough to have loved ones and happen to be part of one of the molecules in a drop of water all you need to do is be who you are and enjoy the journey to the clouds!

Running deep