About a week ago I felt inspired to see the universe through Galileo’s eyes (or telescope). What a giant of a man! How amazing that we get to stand on his shoulders and understand more of the universe! As Indigo Girls sang, he is “king of night vision, king of insight.”
Delving into the pioneering work of Galileo has left me with two, seemingly opposite, feelings.
2. We humans are significant, and exactly the right size to make a positive impact in the world (if we choose to).
We need to keep both ideas in balance. There is a Jewish tradition that everyone should have two pockets in their coat with a note in each pocket. One note says: “I am but dust and ashes.” (not but-dust, but dust) The other says: “All the universe exists in you”. Keep both in your coat, and take out whichever one you need to be reminded of.
When you are feeling self important, pull out the note that says: “I am but dust and ashes.” Life is larger than you and will continue on with or without you. When you are feeling powerless, pull out the note that says, “All the universe exists in you”.
As a friend said, “how amazing to realize that we have potential to grow the universe within ourselves, and by our growth, connect with the myriad other universes that surround us.”
I love the idea that humans are midsize in the universe, between an atom and a star. Any smaller, we wouldn’t be able to handle the complexity of consciousness, any larger and gravity would overwhelm us. Think about it, even just as a metaphor. We are the exact right size, living at the exact right time, with the exact right resources to make a positive contribution to the future of the planet. This is how we “fit”. This is our place in the universe’s evolving awareness of itself. The question is, “are we willing to think beyond survival to a much grander purpose?”
As Paulo Coelho says in The Alchemist,
We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.