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Be Here, Now

Be Here, Now

Have you ever thought about how incredibly vast and intriguing the universe is?

It’s like this endless ocean of mysteries, right? Each star a little pinprick of light in a massive cosmic tapestry. 

And then there’s us, hanging out on this tiny blue dot, getting excited about the little things – like a perfectly brewed cup of coffee or the way your dog does that cute head tilt thing when you say “treat.” 

I love how we find joy in these small moments amidst this gigantic universe. A friend once asked me if I felt insignificant given the sheer size of the universe. I had explained how vast it is.

I mean, our sun is a star. Granted, it doesn’t look like a star, but that’s because we’re so close to it. Any of the stars in the night sky would look exactly like our sun if we were close enough to it. The distance between our star (our sun) and the next nearest star is about 40 trillion kilometres. Yes, trillion! A million times a million. 

If you flew it on a commercial jet and left today, you’d arrive there sometime around the year 20 million AD. You’d need some pretty advanced stasis technology to last the trip, but that’s another conversation.

But that’s not all. There’s a couple of hundred billion other stars in our galaxy, the milky way, most with around the same distance between them. The milky way is around 9 quintillion kilometres across. That’s a 9 with 18 zeroes after it.

And then in the observable universe, there’s a few hundred billion other galaxies, very much like our milky way, dotted all over the place.

Yes, the universe is vast. Hard to comprehend, actually. I can understand my friend’s question.

But then, this tiny blue dot is all we have. It’s where we live and it’s where everything that happens in our lives takes place. The universe might be vast, but you’re here, now, breathing this air, living your life.

So, no, I don’t feel insignificant. I feel awe when I contemplate the vastness of the universe. It gives me a sense of expansion, wonder, and awe. But then I look around me, take a deep breath, and smile as I remember that my life is here. 

I find it makes me appreciate the little things even more. Because the little things are what makes life, Life.

Like, have you ever just stopped and watched a sunset. I was awestruck the other day when we took Daisy for a walk in the late afternoon. It’s January and sunset is around 4.20pm where I live. The sky was literally an explosion of colours.

We’ve had a lot of frost lately. I find it so beautiful how it glistens when I walk. I relish the crunching sound beneath my footsteps. I am fascinated by the way it spreads over the leaves and branches of the trees like a magical enchantment.

I can ponder the universe, but I am here, now.

Vastness of the universe aside, I think we often miss what’s under our noses, so to speak. Because sometimes life happens a bit too much. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Have you ever been so stuck in your head, milling over problems and past conversations that you completely miss what’s around you? I know I have. Overwhelm is one of my personal challenges, because I often find myself with not enough hours in the day to do what I’ve convinced myself needs to be done.

So it can take some effort. But it’s well worth the effort. Try it today. Just stop, as often as you can, breathe in the air, and take a look around. There’s wonder to be had everywhere.

Not just in the natural world, but in each other. The sound of people’s voices, the expressions on people’s faces, learning people’s personalities, learning about people’s histories, their challenges, how they do things, their hopes and dreams. There’s an infinity of detail right under our noses.

There’s much more to this world than we realise.

I still ponder the vastness and mysteries of the universe. Sometimes, I wonder what’s out there in the distant corners. Maybe there’s someone looking up at their sky, pondering the same things we do. 

But then I take a breath and note that, for now, I’m just happy being here, sipping my coffee. Because that’s what life is serving up to me right here, right now.

Credit

David R. Hamilton PhD
After completing his PhD, David worked for 4 years in the pharmaceutical industry developing drugs for cardiovascular disease and cancer. During this time he also served as an athletics coach and manager of one of the UK’s largest athletics clubs, leading them to three successive UK finals. Upon leaving the pharmaceutical industry, David co-founded the international relief charity Spirit Aid Foundation and served as a director for 2 years.

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