Walking back to my room from the folk dance last night, I suddenly noticed that the sky was filled with stars. It struck me that it was the first time all summer—indeed, all year—that I stood and gazed upwards and felt the awe of this enormous universe. This was something I often felt camping or finishing the last meditation of the night at Mt. Baldy Zen Center and lying down on a rock looking up at the star-studded sky. The borders of my body had already grown thin through meditative breath, already I felt that enclosed self dissolving and merging with everything around it and when those stars twinkled down at a me that was becoming a we, well, it was simply stunning.
Do you remember that feeling? We are so small and insignificant and all the day’s little disappointments and tangled relationships mean so little in the face of the majesty of this grand universe, all the pushing and pulling and the wronging and the righting and the outrage and the pleasures is put in its rightful spot, a tiny, tiny insignificant corner of this extraordinary unfathomable cosmos of which we are a mere wink of a mayfly’s eye.
But none of it depressing, more like astounding to be granted the privilege of being part of such magnificence. Along with the sensation of endless space came the parallel beauty of profound silence and I stood outside my hotel room for some 10 minutes transfixed by it all. Living in a city, living my busy life thrown into the heady mix of the human drama, this happens so seldom. My vow is to remember to go out to the beach at night when I get to Michigan with my grandchildren and share these moments with them. Maybe see a few shooting stars.
So tomorrow is Day 4 of this beautiful gathering, classes at a peak and I know those shining orbs light years away don’t care, but who knows, maybe it makes them happy that this little mortal stumbled into something that uses every ounce of him and seems to make people happy and help them find their own star. Or at least one little star out there is glad that I have followed it and fulfilled some destiny that awaited me. And I hope it will forgive me not going outside to look up again—I have papers to grade. Maybe tomorrow night?