Astronomy 101

Pips - Fairbanks, Alaska
Entered on April 23, 2012
Themes: nature, purpose
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I believe in sleeping under the stars. In laying out on a clear, breezy night and allowing myself to free-fall into the infinite ebony nothing of the universe; I believe in a complete, whole-hearted indulgence of life’s endless mystery. There are countless lessons that the cosmos have to teach and, in sacrificing my consciousness to their tremendous knowledge, I have learned some of the basic principles that guide my life.

First: I am beautifully insignificant. While connecting the dots between each glittering jewel that litters the sky I am constantly reminded of the colossally unimaginable amount of abyss surrounding me. In fact, there is so much pure space that I often feel the ground fall away beneath me, until I am engulfed entirely in the inky void above. I am but a tiny needle in existence’s endless haystacks. With the passage of time, I will become utterly meaningless and, although it is terrifying to believe that I am completely unimportant, it is wonderfully calming as well. Understanding that Earth revolves around not only me, but everything, literally takes the weight of the world off my shoulders and allows my tired body to relax. My aching lungs now have the capacity to breathe in the sweet aroma of life and exhale the stress that threatens to strangle my throat. My consciousness floats blissfully among the stars and their gentle caresses. I give myself up to pure weightlessness and it takes me.

The second lesson of the stars is open-mindedness. To relax, I must expand my body and mind and allow dreams, thoughts, and emotions to flood my being. My new-found knowledge of my own insignificance lends a new perspective to what was before the heaviest of burdens. A less than perfect score, a quarrel with a friend, even the hollow, sunken shoulders of my father’s depressed body. Each of my greatest trials, now just mere intangible wisps of smoke. They pass through my translucent conscious, each eliciting another swell of emotion, but the wave ebbs quickly and the thought continues on as it should. Ideas and concepts now flow freely through my mind like a river; each individual thought a smooth stone for me to pick up and turn over and feel the texture of on my palm before tossing back into the currents. I believe that the stars teach me to open up my eyes to everything, be it good or bad, and truly examine it before releasing it back to the universe.

Finally, the stars teach me unyielding, heart-wrenching passion. The stars’ beauty is not in their personal brilliance, but their ability to reveal the hidden beauty of all beings. An open mind is a mind capable of sadness and jealousy and, most importantly, total and unfathomable love. The ability to love is what gives meaning to my life. Even if only to me, my passion reveals the significance of my insignificant life. And even if this passion touches only one other soul, I am fulfilled with knowing that I have brought their existence that much closer to joy. If you, the reader, are touched by this essay that is the manifestation of my heart on paper, even if you are the only one to read it, I will be content with my achievement. The stars, therefore, teach me more about myself than anything, and that is why they are so wise. I believe that, when allowed, the stars teach me how to honestly, simply be, which in turn allows me to examine and embrace the universe. The stars teach me to be one of them: although I am a minuscule pinprick upon eternity’s lifeline, I am still capable of shedding a light that illuminates the night sky for others. This I believe.