November 23, 2009
The Starry Night
Surely it can be said that to study the stars is to study the very cells of a god.
The more I have to come to lose myself in the deeper contemplation of the microcosm and the macrocosm, I also find myself in the greatest scope of time and space. Dust and gas, these simple things that bleed out into the Great Unfathomable, are in all things… in all beings and in this horror of the loss of individualism I am comforted in the notion that the possibility of my conscious existence is near immeasurable. How grand then it is that I walk the face of the Earth?
I have come to see the Universe as not just some fascinating cycle of chaos and order, but of something far more complex and far more profound. For the Universe itself is my god.
So humble I am in the depths of my own inner expansion and understanding of the nature of the Universe that I feel as though I stand on the verge of both insanity and enlightenment.
The Great Void that encompasses all that is “above” me and that which rotates beneath my feet, harbors so much that a single man will never know the entirety of his own existence.
The birth of a star millions of years in the making, is driven by forces we cannot understand completely. So awe-inspiring is the death of such a star. To know that as we turn our faces to the night sky and see these many twinkling lights and to know that any one of them may no longer exist and yet still glow in the black sky is mind-blowing. So far away are some of these stars that it takes millions of years for their last emanating light to reach us in the vast unimaginable and seemingly limitless domain.
What man could study astronomy and disbelieve that there is a greatness at play before us that we are not capable of naming?
Call not this power God, nor call it Allah, Yahweh, Brahma or any name. For to name this Source of Life, this Sustenance of Life, is to most assuredly saturate its wonder. This Energy, this Force of Order and Chaos, of life and death is beyond the language of mankind. Our minds cannot even grasp its identity for it has no identity.
Give it not shape or gender for these are meaningless things. Petty attempts by humans to command, to control, to claim that which cannot be owned.
My very lifetime is smaller than a nano-second in the timeline of the Universe, but how lucky I am to have that much.
We humans are so young, so seemingly minute and replaceable. One could almost become depressed at the reality of our subtle lifetimes. Like a single grain of sand, compared to all the beaches of this Earth, we could so easily be forgotten and lost in the greater scope of the Universe.
This is the most humbling thought of all. That we are all meaningless.
This is why we have gods of every color, shape, gender and character. We yearn to be seen, to be loved and acknowledged by the great forces ceasing and expanding before us, to know that we have a place and a purpose. Fear grips us and so we dream, we imagine and we pretend so that we may know comfort.
I, however, believe that to do this is to lose the power and wonder of the Universe. We must embrace this fear and accept our own mortality, less we take for granted the gift of our lives.
To lay in wait for something better is to waste the beauty before us now. If only all humans could perceive the world in this way. To be grateful for the chance to breathe, a moment in the sun, the opportunity to let the waves of the ocean lap at your feet. These are things that I cherish, the ways that I know I have already been blessed. Experience is everything.
I believe that all the world will one day come to realize this. That we will focus on the rare gift of life we hold and less on the material things we so ignorantly covet. I hope that this realization is made before the Universe forces us to see it. Only time will tell.
And as for me personally, I will continue on in my journey of self-discovery. For to question my own existence is to challenge the nature of the Universe and the beauty, the splendor, the horror and the humility of human life.
Astronomy and spirituality go hand-in-hand as far as I am concerned. Many people wait a lifetime in the hopes of getting to see the face of their god. I on the other hand look up into the black night and see the Universe overhead and know that I am bearing witness to the face of the source of all life.
This essay is available as an audio track on SoundCloud: