Mass Transit

Glenn Wollman

Einstein proposed that Energy equals Mass at the speed of light (squared). However, Energy may not equal mass, especially at the speed of life (one second per second). This conclusion came to me while I was attending a funeral Mass for my friend, a Franciscan Monk.

I entered the Chapel, approaching the open casket at the same time as a nurse I had previously worked with in the Emergency Department. Our attention focused simultaneously on the Friar in repose. I put my hand over the area of his anatomical and energetic Heart. She gently caressed his face and cheek. After making our connections, I broke the silence, whispering ”He looks beautiful”. She responded “He looks dead”. We were both right.

We took our seats. The Congregation consisted of Friars, Brothers, Nuns, family and friends. The casket, now closed, was carried up the center aisle and placed before the altar. My eyes and mind focused. He was in there – that plain pine box defined the total mass of his physical embodiment.

The funeral service followed, with eulogy, remembrances, hymns, liturgies and various readings accompanied by appropriate responses from those familiar with the prayers and protocol.

In the Emergency Department, I had the occasional privilege to be in attendance as people transitioned from being alive. I always noticed a light or energy vacate their eyes.

The energy in the Chapel seemed to be filling up, increasing and getting brighter as the chanting commingled with the incense swirling around us and rising towards the stained glass windows and vaulted ceiling.

This energy was not about birth or death as much as it was about journey. My friend’s journey was a great one because it had great purpose.

Each of us receives the gift that allows us to make the journey (in body, mind and Spirit) and we have a mission to give that gift purpose.

And in the the end, the physical mass is small and lifeless. The energy, however, may expand, stay the same, or contract, depending on one’s journey. What will your energy do? How will your mass transit?

[tags]Albert Einstein, Energy flow, physical mass, one’s journey, birth and death[/tags]

Author: Glenn Wollman

Glenn Wollman, MD, has always been at the leading edge of medicine. He helped pioneer the specialty of Emergency Medicine and, at the same time, also developed and ran one of the first hospital-based Integrative Medicine programs in the Unitied…

6 Responses to “Mass Transit”

  1. gr8fulwmn says:

    My energy wants to sit back with good food, wine and movies. I can really dislike my energy for wanting to be sooo unmotivated, sometimes. Then my energy is wasted on beating myself up.

  2. Greetings gr8fulwmn,
    Thank you for this response and also for responses on prior blogs.
    Certain energy actually does come from the food we eat. Rest and relaxation are also vital in storing / regaining energy. Doing these things are not necessarily examples of being unmotivated. Especially if you are also doing good work to fulfill your mission. Beating yourself up over this, on the other hand, might be considered negative or wasted energy.There is great purpose in enjoying your mission and creating good energy.
    Glenn D. Wollman, MD

  3. Great blog! Ironically, your friends energy was felt down here in Los Angeles, on Saturday. My room mate Terry, was telling me about a Franciscan Monk who gave him a tour of the Santa Barbara Mission. I shared I had the same experience, as we remembered the aroma from the musty rooms to the tour of the cemetery. Thank you for introducing us to him.

  4. As a nurse, I too have many times seen that light fade from the eyes of the dying. But is is immediately replaced by a sense of calm and peace and I find myself wondering about the journey that person is now beginning, as their physical life is ending,

  5. Thank you Dr. Fox for your personal comments

  6. Thank you Ms. Nielsen for sharing some of your personal thoughts . Nurses are usually involved with patient care and get to experience some of the most dramatic aspects of life and death experiences.The journey after birth and the journey after death are important to us all.

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