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An astronomer friend was recently telling me some of the fundamental things about astronomy. I did not know, until he told me, that when you see the sun, you’re seeing it where it was eight and a half minutes ago, not where it is now. Because it takes a ray of the sun eight and a half minutes to get to us. So you’re not seeing it where it is; it’s now somewhere else. Stars, too, have been sending light to us for hundreds of thousands of years. So when we’re looking at them, they may not be where we’re seeing them; they may be somewhere else.
My friend said that, if we imagine a galaxy, a whole universe, this earth of ours would be lost toward the tail end of the Milky Way; not even in the center.
Every one of the stars is a sun and some suns are so big that they could contain the sun and the earth and the distance between them. At a conservative estimate, there are one hundred million galaxies! The universe, as we know it, is expanding at the rate of two million miles a second.
I was fascinated listening to all of this, and when I came out of the restaurant, I looked up there and I had a different feel, a different perspective on life. That’s awareness. So you can pick all this up as cold fact (and that’s information), or suddenly you get another perspective on life—what are we, what’s this universe, what’s human life? When you get that feeling, that’s what I mean when I speak of awareness.
Awareness breaks loose into the kingdom of innocence where mystics and children dwell. The reason why the child is able to preserve its innocence and live like the rest of creation in the bliss of the kingdom is that they have not been sucked into what we call “the world,” that region of darkness inhabited by grown-ups striving might and main for those empty things called success and fame. Reach out and take possession of the delight of a child moving out in wonder to discover the world.