“If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Scientists tell us that for every grain of sand on Earth, there are 10,000 stars in the universe (along with 275 million new stars born every day). I offer this just in case you need to remind yourself that there is more to life than the small planet we’re living on, or the three new brown spots you just discovered on your arm, or the hearing aids you can’t find without your glasses.
It’s easy to look in the mirror and see only what’s missing or who we aren’t anymore. The downside of age is not that our bodies change, but that our spirits dim and our enthusiasm for the mystery of life wanes. And while we might let ourselves believe it’s because our bodies and minds can no longer do what they once did for us, it’s mostly because we have forgotten who we are and where we come from.
What’s the secret for a meaningful second half of life?
It’s the same as it was when we were 21. We must let the stars turn us into philosophers and dreamers with an insatiable curiosity to unravel the mysteries of life. We must remind ourselves, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said, “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Or if you prefer your wisdom from Toy Story, take this from Oxygen Buzz Lightyear: We must look past our physical bodies and reach out to infinity and beyond.
Putting the Creative and Awakened Life Into Practice
Oxygen Buzz Challenge #5: Stargazing—To Infinity and Beyond
Something to Ponder
- “When you reach for the stars, you are reaching for the farthest thing out there. When you reach deep into yourself, it is the same thing, but in the opposite direction. If you reach in both directions, you will have spanned the universe.”
- You want to find infinity in the stars? Read a little Rumi each night. The 13th Century Persian mystic was one of the world’s great spiritual poets. There are many translations of his poetry. You could start with “The Essential Rumi” by Coleman Barks.
- “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
Something to Watch
- Watch Size of the Stars on YouTube and let your mind be blown.
Something to Do
- Make time for stargazing. Go to the desert, the ocean, the top of a mountain, a nearby planetarium, or your back porch. Even in the brightest city, you can find stars somewhere. Look up and get lost in the night sky. Treat your stargazing as a new kind of mindful meditation, no different than if you were closing your eyes in the quiet of your own home, church, temple, or sanctuary. Do it for a week or two. Ten minutes a night. Just you and the stars.
- Use the stars to remind yourself that we are more than the country we live in, the political party we follow, the careers we have chosen. We are more than the family and friends we share our lives with. We are more than the illnesses we have, the troubles we face. We are part of a cosmic journey that is unimaginable. And it is our mission to consciously connect with this journey.
- Use the stars to contemplate the illusion of age, time, and space.
- Use the stars to stoke your imagination and curiosity; to fuel a life-long quest for wisdom and truth, along with the experiences which will breathe life and ownership into that wisdom and truth.
- Use the stars as inspiration to boldly step toward the life you want to live; to step out of the safety of your home, your physical body, your senses, and your reality; to begin the long walk toward who you really are.
So, what’s the secret to aging well?
It starts with realizing we’re not aging at all.