Vast and awesome
“Once we lose our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe…” – Carl Sagan
It’s easy to forget how tiny we are in the great scheme of things, until something reminds us. Often, these reminders– disaster, illness, aging, death, or simply being treated rudely or with disrespect– are not pleasant. Maybe what Sagan calls our “fear of being tiny” is mostly our longing for significance; the reasonable desire to achieve something lasting.
But when we turn our eyes outward, away from ourselves, the view really is incredible. Whether one is fascinated by astronomy, botany, people, animals, ideas, or imaginary tales– or all of the above and more– the scope of wonder is astoundingly broad. I find it to be a reliable defense against loneliness and despair.
Next time you are feeling blue, worried or forgotten, try stopping in your tracks and thinking of something totally unrelated to whatever is bothering you. Pull out a reference book you haven’t looked at in awhile, and flip through the pages until something catches your eye. Take a walk outside and look up at the sky, or open an old photo album and focus on the faces of friends and loved ones you haven’t seen lately. Spend an hour or two just being
nosy curious at a local library, shopping mall or museum.
None of this is likely to solve our problems, of course. But they will almost certainly appear smaller to us after we’ve broken free of their grasp long enough to get some perspective. What vast and awesome things can you see from your threshold today?