There are still a few days left in the seasonal opening that occurs around the winter solstice, a time period running from December 12 through January 12, for deep spiritual exploration.
So I want you to do something. Even though it’s cold, step outside on a clear night and look up at the great vault of the heavens at the vast number of stars. Those tiny pinpoints of light are actually large celestial bodies, all moving through space in the stately dance of our solar system. And our solar system is only one among many.
Send your awareness out, out beyond our planet; out beyond our solar system with its orbiting planets, moons, asteroids, and comets; out beyond the multiple suns in our Milky Way galaxy; and further out beyond the billions of distant galaxies that make up our universe. There is no stopping point, no boundary, no end.
You are as vast as the universe
As you look out into the enormity of space, do you feel small? Insignificant? Powerless? Do you feel like “you” stops at your skin? While it’s true that your physical body, one of 7.7 billion on our planet, is infinitesimally tiny when compared to the universe, you are made from the same stardust as the huge celestial orbs of multiple galaxies.
You are as vast as the universe. You hold within yourself the infinity of cosmic creation, the birthing of stars, the mystery of life. As Walt Whitman wrote in “Song of Myself”: “I am large, I contain multitudes.”
When you allow yourself to expand into the boundless and limitless universe, you connect to your own immensity. Yes, you are the child of Mother Earth and Father Sky, an amalgam of dark and light, conflict and harmony, imperfections and stunning abilities. You contain multitudes. And the universe recognizes your unique existence, just as it acknowledges every spark of life in each plant, animal, and human on earth, each seeking its own merging with the light into the unity of universal unconditional love.
Outer and inner space
One of my students visited the Kennedy Space Center over the holidays and told us how impressed she was by the enormous size of the Saturn V rocket that blasted the Apollo astronauts to the moon, and the courage it took for those early space travelers to sit atop that monstrous rocket about to be hurled into the unknown with the force of 7.5 million pounds of thrust. And yet going to the moon is but a baby step in the exploration of outer space.
“Inner” space also seeks to be known. As many questions as scientists have about outer space and the planets and stars of our solar system and beyond, so do you have questions about the unknowns of your own inner space. What is my purpose here? Who am I? What is my path to happiness? The rocketship that launches you into this type of discovery is meditation and other contemplative practices—ones that make you look inside.
One of the seven principles of Hermes Trismegistus, written in the Hermetic sacred texts, is: As within, so without; as above, so below. This interconnectedness of all things is one of the great secrets of life. What you think and feel inside yourself is expressed or reflected in the outer world. It means there needs to be harmony between your inner spiritual realm and the physical world you inhabit (including your body) in order to grow in consciousness and expand into the furthest reaches of inner and outer space.
All the great spiritual teachers have expounded on the same lesson. Plato called self-knowledge the “very essence of knowledge.” Confucius instructed the Chinese emperor to deal honestly within himself as well as dealing honestly with all in his empire. Muhammad put it like this: “That which perceives this world is sight, while that which perceives the World of the Unseen is insight.”
In the Vedic Upanishads, it is said:
“Thus we look to the world
Without and see not the Self within us.
A sage withdrew his senses from the world
Of change and, seeking immortality,
Looked within and beheld the deathless Self.”
As you stand outside on a cold winter’s night, gazing up at the endless firmament, the vast dome of the heavens, breathe as one with the universe. Your breath is the breath of the universe. Your eyes are its eyes. Its pulsing heart is the beat of your heart. You are as immeasurable as the stars, which shine with your reflected light.
In these next few days, feel how expansive you and your chakras really are. Know that you, a tiny dot of physicality on the third planet around a single sun, are a vital part of the universe. And as you awaken, so does the cosmos.