Thursday, July 7, 2011

Space Is The Place

"You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing"
— Alan Wilson Watts

I’ve been obsessed with space and the universe lately. Watching documentaries about, it I am truly humbled and baffled by the sheer enormity and magnitude of it all. I at once understand the concept of it, but I also can’t comprehend it.  It’s quite a challenge to wrap one's mind around it.

Space as a whole appears to be vast and unending but at the same time it seems that it MUST be contained within something...right?  Or maybe that's just one limited human being's take on it. How can our planet be so unbelievably enormous to us and the life that it holds, but be such a minuscule speck in the larger order of things?  I mean, our own galaxy - the Milky Way - contains 200-400 billion stars and is estimated to have at least 50 billion planets, 500 million of which could be located in the habitable zone of their parent star. 500 MILLION!!! That we are alone in the universes seems unlikely, but to comprehend what else is out there, well it seems nearly impossible.  The whole concept makes my heart soar at the mystery of it all!

I recently posted a YouTube video on Facebook that illustrates the star and planet size comparisons (see below) and an old friend commented that it made him feel insignificant.  I tend to take the opposite view. I mean, think about it.  In the grand order of things we are truly nothing but a fraction of a fraction of a fraction (keep going!) of a speck of dust.  But within that fraction of a fraction of a fraction we have the power to be SO MUCH.  We are born into amazingly intricate organic bodies - living breathing miracles! We are capable of love, compassion, hatred, peace, war, emotion, creativity, intelligence, ignorance, and equal measures of overwhelming beauty and ugliness (to name a few).  We are finite and yet infinite at the same time.  How cool is that?

Wait a second, the whole "finite" and yet "infinite" reminds me of Zen...

What the heck is Zen anyway?  Zen isn't complicated,  It's the Japanese word for meditation, a mode of existing (think: walking, sitting, driving or otherwise going about your day) with one-pointed awareness.  If you need a simple word to define it, that would be "now".  Zen is now.  Live right now, without judgement, without striving.  Just live.  Right now.

The practice of Zen so beautifully opitimizes the notion that we are at once part of the whole but also larger than the whole (a wave but also the whole ocean). The Zen symbol of “enso”  illustrates this idea elegantly and simply.  The circle represents in its emptiness, absolute fullness, simplicity, completeness, endlessness, perfection of harmony.  Enso symbolizes a moment when the mind is free enough to simply let the body or spirit create and connect with something more profound.  It is a symbol that combines the visible and the hidden, the simple and the profound.  It lacks nothing and has nothing in excess.

So how exactly do we find our Zen?

For me the path revealed itself the moment I wholeheartedly asked myself: “What do I want in my life? Do I want peace and enlightenment?" Then, I allowed myself the space (there's that word again) to find what was already there.  As seekers on the path, that's all we're doing: creating the space to experience what is already within us and intrinsically part of us.

We find our Zen by training ourselves to live in the spaciousness of this moment without the need to make it into anything else.  We expand into the greater universe of discovering that we are both the wave and the ocean, the galaxies and the dust.

So the question is:  What do you want in YOUR life?  Can you be brave enough to expand into the universe of possibilities?

Until next time...

"Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal. For the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever. . . . You may believe yourself out of harmony with life and its eternal Now; but you cannot be, for you are life and exist Now."—from Become What You Are 

by Sozra

Our eyes wander
through endless space

The mind travels past comprehension
 to that of pure logic and reason

The adventure of thought travels faster than light
and arrives instantaneously

If one cannot prove 
he can still believe

As there is fact in the unknown
that unknown does eventually become fact

It is just this hunger
that creates this desire
For the journey

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