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Stargazing: Continued


Stargazing has seemed to me to be a gift in terms of offering moments of quiet meditation, when my mental swirl of restless grasping dissipates, and I feel an accompanying quiet Presence. Egocentric delusion perhaps? If it isn’t, these moments connect well with the new cosmology story. When we are conscious of our own being, and feel our connection with the rest of the cosmos, we leave the illusion that we live in a separate entity called “me”. We touch something that mystics call the Observing Self, which is Spirit. Perhaps realizing that our physical bodies ultimately came from the death of stars (the implosion of stars can create complex, life-creating atoms such as carbon and oxygen) gives one pause towards the same truth?

Andrew Cohen says:

When one goes beyond the separate ego, one has the experience of being touched by a vision. It's a vision of the context in which all of this is occurring. It's glorious. And the context itself is inherently ethical and inherently moral and inherently good, but to a degree that's almost impossible to put into words.

The Psalmist says it better: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” and “Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars.”

The stars in the turning sky, after all, are not “mine” but God’s. They are poems that reflect God’s love and playfulness in creation. As integral parts of an evolving universe, they reflect the freedom that God has granted the natural order so that real love and relationship are possible.

If and when I accept this truth wholeheartedly, however difficult, I can enter my life refreshed in the fact that even without knowing the pull-out quotationwhole story in all its details, my life is part of a larger spiritual story, and I can attend to the concerns of my life with creativity, courage and love. The inner expansiveness that I feel when I look at the night sky can be an inspiration for me to trust God, and trust the image of God in others. On the other face, when I try to grasp onto a mental egoic image of myself that is inherently defensive and separate, I’ve lost touch with the flow of Spirit that animates both me and the rest of the cosmos.

As a theologian recently said most poignantly about the enjoyment of all things in nature: “The allurement provides subjective motive power to explore more to love more broadly and to enter the mystery with integrity.”

Knowing something about the orbital dynamics of the planets does not make me a more loving person but perhaps the calming allurement of stargazing can steer me towards meditating on spiritual truths. In fact, don’t the heavens seem to embody symbols of enduring spiritual truths? For instance, the moon, which sometimes appears to my shaky mind that it might wander off from its orbit and cause unimaginable chaos, has patiently been attracted to the “mother ship” for four billion years, and is likely to be still orbiting the earth for another four billion! Isn’t this a great example of God’s patience towards us? Knowing that our internal psychological spirals are reflected in the external celestial spirals can reassure us that we are still on course, even if things seem like they are falling apart.

If God as he is revealed in Christ the human one, penetrates creation yet exists beyond it as well, cares and loves the cosmos, we can feel accepted and forgiven. Appreciating the awesomeness of the Milky Way can awaken a sense of awe and wonder beyond words. Awe that the Ground of Being is continuing to use the process of evolution to create a new. And that we are somehow co-creators, in solidarity with the One who created all we know!

In my normal daily life, my wonder at the miracle of God’s creation often fades. The inner demanding demon of the mundane, the routine and the predictably mediocre, can seem to reach inside and squelch the reverence, the flow of the Spirit. Yet thankfully there is an ever-available choice for me to accept God’s pursuit of a different way.

Do I feel alone and small knowing about the vastness and often incomprehensibility of cosmic space? Albert Einstein said that everyone someday has to choose whether the universe they live in is ultimately friendly or hostile. Perhaps the answer depends on our state or stage of faith, whether I’m self-obsessed or open to trusting God in Christ. When I’m frantically focusing on what I think I have to do, the universe seems small and unfriendly. Yet, when I’m connected to my heart, perhaps inspired by the sight of the stars, the universe is not at all hostile, but a mystery filled with God’s unfolding Love, not disconnected in any way from my own essence!

Controlled nuclear reactions that produce spectacular photons of energy, stars are all about shining a lot of light in all directions in the darkness. The question continues, will I let the Light shine in the darkness in me too?

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