I paused a few days ago to contemplate the universe. I know, I know and I hear you saying, “that is either going to irritate your tummy or make your head hurt.” It’s certainly no small endeavor, but like all things I tend to gather in some information — whatever I can endure at the time — then, I summarize it for myself so that I have something to contemplate for the next period of time. It seems to work for me.
Spring is probably the best time of year for understanding the beauty of the universe. We just watched a nest full of birds hatch out and leave their perch in the corner of our porch. I was amazed by their intricate jackets of feathers that seemed to develop overnight. The DNA the Divine weaves into the framework of all the living things in creation is often breathtaking. The other thing I notice especially in Spring are the flowers. Every flower is different, but the patterns and shapes seem to be just similar enough to to bring me a sense of comfort and awe.
We do not live close to the mountains, but I have always marveled at the deep canyons and the towering peaks of Colorado. Every time I witness one of these breathtaking views it reminds me of the powerful forces that formed each and every nuance of creation. Not just the big things, but the tiny things — there is majesty in all things. At first, this makes me feel small, but then my heart swells as I begin to comprehend that I am part of all this and it is a part of me!
The universe often reminds me, sometimes subtly and sometimes abruptly, that the it is also often a dangerous place. Just like asteroids collide and stars explode, we discover pitfalls and poisons and things that are bad for us. Wait, do stars really explode? Doesn’t matter right now. Alongside the plants that are smooth and soothing are plants that can poke, cut, and tear at our skin. There are plants that sustain us and plants that can heal and harm, and sometimes both medicines are in the same plant. Just as many have experienced the joy of climbing a summit, others have succumb to gravity or the elements in similar pursuits. It often seems like danger is almost necessary for adventure – I still don’t know if this is totally true, but it seems to be.
Our world is also quite precise in many ways. The earth sits on a perfect axis and many of the chemical factors of the universe are precisely balanced to the extent that we probably wouldn’t want to imagine what would happen if they were altered slightly. I often think that it is the precision of our world that often makes some things appear random. Think about that for a while – that will make your tummy hurt!
Because I tend to lead towards certainty, I often forget that the world is also full of mystery. Along with the order of the universe down to the cellular level is also a certain amount of disorder that makes life interesting. Alongside the trajectory of the cosmos is a sort of dance that was probably initiated and is probably maintained by the Father, Son and Spirit (if you’re so inclined to categorize it that way). There is the explainable and the not explainable and that is what keeps us busy – trying to experience, understand and make sense of it all. We want to articulate what we notice, but we also want to feel what we can’t explain – that my friends may be the definition of mystery!
Despite all of the theological brainwashing that tried to convince me that this thing called creation or universe or the cosmos was bad, I am coming to understand in a powerful way that all this is inherently good. Maybe my life needs to be less of a pursuit to fix it and more of a journey to discover the good that is there – the good that already what it should be. May we learn to remove the false self, the veneer, and the unnecessary in our lives and discover what is beautiful, majestic, intricate and, yes, even dangerous here. May we learn to fully experience and be at peace with what is before we try to make it something it’s not.
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