Spend a few minutes contemplating something greater than yourself

Time and time again independent scientific studies show that having a spiritual aspect to our lives makes us live longer, feel happier and be less prone to anxiety and depression. Spiritual in this context does not mean religious. It can, but there are many people who experience a connection to “something greater” who are not in the least bit religious. I am one of those people.

My ideas do not arise out of faith or any religious text; they are not necessary. They arise from my intellect and my direct experience.

Contemplate this idea: When you look up into the night sky, understand that science shows that all chemical elements, with the exception of hydrogen and helium, were created in the death of a star by nova or super nova. This means that right now as you read this, the calcium in your bones, the iron in your blood, are the products of the death of star. Your body is literally made from elements that were created not just in one star but in many!  You are a child of the stars. Awesome!

Contemplate another idea: The illusion of separation. You experience yourself as separate from the universe: “There is me here inside this skin and then there is everything else which is “not me””. Although you experience yourself as separate from the universe, this perception is an illusion, albeit a persistent one. You are no more separate from the universe than a wave perceiving itself as something separate from the sea. A wave will always be part of the sea. By definition, you cannot be anything but a part of the universe. You are a part which exists because the circumstances are temporarily and briefly right for you to do so. You are a part of the universe, a part that is conscious and aware. When you look out over the mountains, or the sea, or up at the sky and the stars; or when you study the structure of a leaf,  or the mind- boggling variety of life on this planet and you feel a sense of beauty, a sense of marvel, of awe, you are in that very moment the universe admiring itself.

Contemplate the deep interconnectedness of all things; everything is connected.  From Thích Nhất Hạnh: “There is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either….also…..we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper.”

For me these contemplations are deeply spiritual and deeply scientific. They provoke within me a deep sense of awe, wonder and gratitude. When we take time to contemplate the wonder and the miracle of this gift of life, then maybe we live our life without complaining so much when things don’t go our way. It is all a wonder to behold; it is a privilege to be alive, to be here to witness, to share, to participate, to appreciate.

I wish you peace health and happiness, from Las Bardas.


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