Claim Your Cosmic Citizenship
Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no fear.
- Isha Upanishad
Look up, around and down. Everything you see is actually a part of you. As is what you can't see. Researchers now believe that only 10% of the cells that make up "your" body are human cells. The other 90% are bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. Yet you rely on these "foreign" cells to survive. On a physical level, you are more of an eco-system than an individual. With all of those cells constantly changing, dying, being born, you are more of a process than a thing.
Scale up and see the Earth the same way--as a single body with a diverse bounty of interacting components. All of us here are mutually inter-depedent, and the harmony that relates us is exquisitely perfect. The particular combination of gases that we have dubbed "air" is unique to our planet. The sun is just the right distance away and burning at just the right temperature for what we do here. All of exists and thrives only because we have all co-evolved together over a period of time that your human mind just can't scale.
Yesterday's solar eclipse was a powerful reminder that we are, in actual factual reality, citizens of the cosmos. Whatever your political or cultural or personal identity, the forces that make your life possible are much much bigger. (And much smaller!) The opportunity to live on a human scale is brought to us by forces which are not human at all, forces myriad, magnificent and mysterious.
Spiritual practices exist because it is too easy to forget that we are more than a human story. We forfeit the glorious freedoms granted by our universal identity. And we ignore the serious responsibilities that come along with being an Earth citizen. If we stay trapped in this forgetting for too long the consequences are grave. We are seeing this now, huh? Just what the costs are when we are too caught up in our personal desires, victories and grievances to take time for gazing up, down and all around, with wonder and gratitude.
Without walls of the mind and thus without fears
[bodhisattvas] see through delusion
- The Heart Sutra
I begin each morning with meditation because it allows me to put down my stories about "Aaron" for a bit of time. Stories themselves are not bad. They are a beautiful, powerful and important aspect of being a human. But if we don't get a little air between self and story, we begin believe that the story is true in some fixed way, walling ourselves in, preventing the growth and expansion which is built into our nature.
This planet is unbelievably colorful, diverse, nuanaced, conversational, alive. Are you currently working with any stories which are black and white, rigid, one-way, dogmatic, fixed? Likely, it's time to check in on these stories, to make sure that they still resonate and serve.
This universe is not so much a "thing" as a process--one defined by constant change, expansion, evolution. Your nature, of course is the same. But are some of your self-identities resistant to this expansion? If so, it's time to stop defending yourself against the universe and let it in.
Stories that don't get to evolve become "walls of the mind." We believe the walls to be protecting us--against the "other," against the unknown--but in fact we end up spening vast amounts of energy protecting THEM. And the more we invest in these walls, the more fear we experience. Some part of us knows how fragile they are, how they don't align with the bounty and glory and adaptability of the universe.
Believe me when I say that it's worth the time and effort to dissolve these walls. Believe me when I say that what's on the other side of them isn't so scary. It's just more you.