Overnight our American friends are enjoying a lunar eclipse, and we’re soon to be treated to our best sight of Mars in a while as it passes the closest it will to earth in 6 years. I’ve already seen some absolutely fantastic pictures taken by an American friend on Facebook. I find myself reflecting on the vast differences of scale we live with, without really thinking about it. America is a few thousand miles away, and that can seem pretty far. But the moon is about 390,000 miles away… and despite being closer than it has in 6 years, Mars is still around 35,000,000 miles away. Why do we find these distant events so moving, so awe-inspiring; so full of wonder?

 

I recently watched a documentary entitled “What Happened Before the Big Bang?”. In it, several leading scientists speculated about the birth of the Universe, and whether it’s plausible that something so seemingly vast could originate from a point which seems so small. One of the more curious ideas discussed in relation to the continual expansion of the universe was that if something is sufficiently big, it behaves like something very small. In other words, when our universe expands far enough, it might become the “small” starting point of another universe. It’s a kind of “paradigm shift” – that once we reach a certain point or perspective, everything changes.

 

This is a little like the idea of Russian dolls; that inside each big thing is a smaller model. I’m reminded also of my children (and all of us, but specifically my kids in this case). It might sound odd, but sometimes I look at them and marvel at how such fully-formed, perfect creatures can grow from a single sperm and an egg, things so tiny we can’t picture them on the same scale as a living, breathing human being. From my son’s clear blue eyes and blonde scruffy hair to my daughter’s tiny hands… all from something my wife has hundreds of meeting something I produce 85 million of a day, without either of us even noticing they’re there (mostly!).

 

My recent studies have involved the study of fractals, that if you “zoom in” enough on certain shapes or systems you find the same shapes or patterns in miniature. This seems to be recurring pattern of nature. Thinking of trees, you have one shape for the trunk meeting branches, branches split into twigs, twigs into leaves. The shapes get smaller but the form is essentially the same.

 

All that is, is of the Force. Universes, planets, moons, trees, people, down to the cells of our body and the photons which let us watch the lunar eclipse. The cells that compose us are smaller than we could see with the naked eye, but even as fully embodied humans we live our lives in miniature compared to the great sweep of planetary orbits. And our planets and sun are tiny, insignificant next to the great arms of the galaxy we find ourselves in, one of many billions which make up the observable universe. We tend not to think about all this, because it’s hard for us to conceive of these huge numbers and distances. We tend to think of a trip to the next country as a big task – how much bigger to conceive of visiting another planet, another galaxy even!

 

When we live our lives in awareness and harmony with nature, we are living in harmony with the natural order of the Force. When we open our eyes to the incomprehensibly huge or the unimaginably tiny, we’re opening ourselves to a deeper experience and understanding of the Force. This feeling, the reason we seek out and entertain these seemingly alien ideas, is wonder. And when we maintain some of this awareness, this wonder in our daily eating-sleeping-working-playing lives, we are reaching out into the Force with a deeper understanding of the great beauty and mystery that makes up even the everyday things we see – other people. The planet we live on. The moon…

 

What we need is to make a paradigm shift within our own perceptions. We need to notice more, feel more. Wonder more. When we look up, out, and wonder at the beautiful and vast things out there, we learn to look down, in, and find beauty in the tiny things which surround and permeate us. There is nothing vaster than the Force. And nothing more intricate and tiny than the Force. We are all connected by it – and we are all smaller and closer together than we think.

 

Yet within each one of us there is a whole universe, ready to be discovered. And it all begins with a little wonder…

 

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