Island hopping from Puerto Rico with the family, circa 1985.

I learned most of what I know about physics from watching The Big Bang Theory. There is a bit I recall from learning to fly before 9/11 made life difficult for flight schools, but mostly I learned to appreciate physics, alongside Penny, as a way to even barely comprehend our physical world. (It’s a fascinating subject to study in tandem with mysticism. They make surprisingly good bedfellows.)

I’ve recently been stuck on the concept of momentum. When learning to fly a plane, we were concerned with momentum in physics: “the quantity of motion of a moving body, measured as a product of its mass and velocity.” This is just as important when landing a plane as it is when trying to take off. Planes want to fly. Counter concepts like drag and friction deprive the plane of momentum and allow it to descend safely to the ground.

Another definition of momentum is more abstract and sits in the context of life: “the energy and driving force gained by the development of a process or course of events.”

I’m trying to fly. There are things in life (friction and drag) that, much like a headwind, make that difficult: financial limitations, cultural norms and expectations, medical challenges, etc. There are ways to overcome these in the air such as more power, better aerodynamics, and hours upon hours of flight experience. There are also things that we do, either out of neglect or lack of awareness that add needless drag to the plane such as not retracting the landing gear or flaps after takeoff.

Here is where my thoughts have landed (pun intended): Life also wants to fly.

When we live in the Love and Presence of the Divine, we receive a whole new impetus for the momentum of our lives; a renewed purpose for moving forward in a life that longs to soar. Yes – the practical, tangible world we live in will act like a headwind to slow that momentum, but I’m more concerned with the things I do that create unnecessary friction and drag that impede loving, gentle forward motion.

Am I living a life that will optimize momentum?

The question begs many other thoughts and definitions, but I’ve been trying to sit with it without overthinking it. How do I take each small step forward, building momentum in my life, work, and passions? Can I name and minimize the friction that slows me down? How do I distinguish true spiritual momentum from success as the world around me defines success? 

And, sometimes, it’s good to land the plane, refuel, and rest on the ground for a moment.