Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Star Child...

I'm lucky to live in a place with low light pollution.  On clear nights, when I stand out in the dark and look up, the sky glitters with thousands of stars.  You can see swathes of cosmic dust, dotted with the glow of planets, and the moon seems so close you can almost touch it if you stand on your very tippy toes and just reach a little higher.

When I look up into the night sky, I'm filled with a sense of awe.  It never gets old.  The sky seems so vast and immense and there's a sense that it is endless.  Science tells us that the Universe is expanding, even as massive and incomprehensible as it is... it is still growing.

It would be easy to feel insignificant faced with such immensity.  But science has also revealed the hidden secrets that shows us how we are a mirror for the cosmos.  Within each of us are chemical reactions, cellular activity, and infinitesimal atomic activity that mimics the movements of the heavens.  The micro mirrors the macro.

Carl Sagan said that we are all made of "star stuff" and recent scientific discovery confirms that.  (If you're interested in finding out more, look up Sloan Digital Sky Survey and their work with APOGEE.)  We are children of the stars and descendants of the night and connected to that ever-growing vastness.

Sometimes in life, you will meet people who will try to make you feel small.  They will try to reduce you down to your parts and make you fit comfortably into the role they have designated for you.  Don't listen to them.  They will try to diminish you.  They will try to shrink you, marginalize you, and break you down.  Do not let them.

These people do it for all sorts of reasons.  There are some who are raised on power, suckled on privilege and entitlement.  They've been glutted with self-importance and have greedily been consumed with filling themselves up with power at any costs and will go to any corrupt lengths to obtain it.  There is a flaw in them, where they cannot see others, but only see themselves and their hunger for more.  But I honestly have not met many of these people.  In my experience, the people that try to belittle others are people who were once made to feel small themselves.  They've been abused, disenfranchised, and systematically oppressed.  They try to find their own self-worth by making others feel less worthy.  They feel that they are bigger if others feel smaller.  This is the curse of trauma.  Trauma is passed from one person to the next.

In a perfect world, there would be no trauma.  Sadly, this is not the case.  We like to imagine that those who pass the curses down are strangers, that they could not hurt us if they knew us.  But often times that's not the case.  Sometimes a parent or a friend or a spouse can inflict their own control dramas on you.  It's easy to get caught up in their tragedies and reenactments of the violence inflicted upon them.  This is a cycle as old as civilization.

The truth is... we are powerless to change them.

This truth is inconvenient.  Hurting those who hurt you is not empowerment.  It's punishment.  It's vengeance.  It's trading one person making others feel small for another.  "You made me feel small.  Now I'm going to make you feel small."

Remember the stars.

I'm reminded of a story from Hinduism, where young Krishna has been reported to eat dirt.  Upon investigation, his mother looks in his mouth and sees the whole Universe.  I am not Hindu, but I have always found beauty in it and we have proven scientifically now that indeed, if one looks within, they can see a mirror for the Universe.

When you know that you are a child of the stars and hold within you the vastness of the Universe, you do not need the approval of another.  You do not need to be validated.  You do not need to feel bigger than someone else, because you already contain within you, in the very building blocks of your being, the map of an ever-expanding Universe... and no one can make you feel small, because you are infinite.  You are made of star stuff.  You are an entity of possibilities and potential.  You are a force of nature.

In knowing this, you must also recognize that those around you are also children of the stars.  They too are forces of nature.  They too are vehicles of endless potential and possibility.  And when you see this in them, it changes the way you see them.  To revisit Hinduism, there is a greeting that we're all too familiar with nowadays.  In Pop Culture, it's often the brunt of jokes and there's a very funny article online called, "Surviving Whole Foods".  The word is, "Namaste."  While we can make light of it, there's actually a very beautiful meaning.  It means, "I bow to the divine in you."

Recognizing the divine in another allows you to come to terms that you cannot change them.  They are on their own path.  You are on yours.  Leaving aside spirituality, we are all on the same journey.  Each step forward is a step towards our eventual deaths.  It's shocking, I know.  But it is eventual.  It is undeniable.  Our bodies, that star stuff, will return to the Earth and the very fibers of our being will again, rejoin the Universe.

So... what do we do with this information?

Embrace your heritage as a child of the stars and a being of infinite possibilities.  The Divine rests within each of you.  I am reminded of the much disputed Gospel of Thomas of the Gnostic Texts.  One translation reads, "If those who lead you say to you: 'Look, the kingdom is in the sky!' then the birds of the sky will precede you.  If they say to you: 'It is in the sea,' then the fishes will precede you.  Rather, the kingdom is inside of you and outside of you."  "When you come to know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will realize that you are the children of the the living Father."  What I take away from this text is that when we realize and actualize that we are children of the Universe, we have the power to make manifest the world around us in word and deed.  If we speak our truth and tell our stories, we will give those stories power.  If we speak of love, we will be of love and manifest love.

I am reminded of the word "abracadabra" and what it means.  The etymology is debatable, but in Hebrew it's thought to mean, "I will create as I speak".  In Aramaic, "I create like the word".  If you're familiar with the practice of magic, you know that this is the fundamental basis.  Shape your will, speak it with words, and manifest it into being.  You are a conduit of the Universe, weaving the energy and giving the words life.  It is a drawing down of power that ignites with the catalyst of our energy and intent.  The same can be said of prayer.

As a creative person, I see this every day.

The process of making art is taking an abstract thought, filtering that through our heads, moving it through our hearts, and using our hands to make it manifest.  For storytellers, these thoughts are coalesced into words, words that inspire images in others.  They are a living thing, that when fed and nurtured will grow.  Our minds are a garden of growing things and it's up to us, to tend those gardens and be guardians of those divine sparks.  Our bodies are made of star stuff.  Our minds are a collection of stars, a garden of light.  And we have the power to be tools of the Divine and shape the world around us.

When I am feeling lost, I look up at the stars and I pray.  I am reminded that I am a child of the Universe and am a mirror, a conduit, a maker, a manifester, a keeper of the light, an entity of endless potential and possibilities.

And so are you.

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