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Saturday, September 25, 2010

The center of the universe

I have often found it amusing when people say the *vastness* of the universe brings home to them the message that they are so small, their lives so insignificant. Truth is, even I find some of these things extremely spiritual. Stark landscapes like Kutch and Ladakh fascinate me no end. I am sure being in the middle of the sea with endless miles of water in all directions would also mess with my mind. And I dont understand why I feel that...that profoundness. But its there - and the feeling is STRONG.

However. Knowing that there are 10^gazillion stars in the universe does not make my life seem insignificant to me. For, I argue, I am at the center of my universe. I wouldnt care if there were ten thousand billion more people or worlds out there, after all my feelings and experiences are tethered to my life right? Right?

Actually, I am not sure. After all, (I dont know about others but...) I personally feel very strongly about a lot of things that do not concern my own immediate existence. Like justice to all human beings, par treatment (with humans) to all other creatures, no screwing around with nature, maintaining the heterogeneity of the world (the beauty in the diversity of natural landscapes, people, languages, music, professions, culture, everything!). These are things which are very dear to my heart. So what does it all mean? I think these issues convey a message. I think they show that my existence is much more purposeful than the pitiful hankering after a perfect life in my own private universe.

And this idea (if it makes sense), may fit in with Buddhist philosophy. Buddhism being the one religion, nay, way of life, that I respect immensely and am comfortable giving credibility to, even though I probably dont understand 90% of it. What I do understand of Buddhism is that we should stop caring for material possessions. And subsume the self. Because the Truth is that we are all one. We are not distinct from the world, we are the same as the world.

Now, I havent figured this out yet, but it feels right. I mean, I figure it HAS to be right, but I havent figured WHY it is so. Of course I am shooting in the dark having never read a serious spiritual Buddhist text. But for now, when I agree that I am the same as the world, the view disappears that I am the center of my universe.

Finally I revert to the opening topic of this post. Why I find it amusing when people say the *vastness* of the universe brings home to them the message that they are so small, their lives so insignificant. Perhaps its just the case of different strokes for different folks. Some core ideas, call them Fundamental Ideas (justice, equality, beauty etc)...these make my life feel small and insignificant. Whereas the vastness of the universe makes others feel small and insignificant. Ok, I give it to you guys.

Though I dont think the mystery behind my own feelings of profoundness when confronted with vastness / emptiness can be explained as awareness of just smallness or insignificance. It HAS to mean something. But I dont want to tear into it right now (or later). Its just sublime. Something to be experienced rather than cognicized about (which is just bald conjecturing).