#2 The Infinitely Wondrous Universe

2) Our wondrous nature is the same as the
infinite wonder of the universe.

galaxy

What fills you with wonder and awe?  Is it the staggering beauty of the Grand Canyon?   A Mozart opera?  Walking through a garden blooming with flowers?  A jumbo jet passing overhead?  The birth of a child?  A Brett Favre touchdown pass?

The big things are obvious.  We all know what that kind of wonder feels like.

The wonder of a galaxy is obvious.  Think about its hundreds of millions of stars rotating around a central axis, and the whole galaxy itself barreling at an incredible speed through space.  And then think about the fact that there are millions and millions of galaxies!

What about a paper clip?  In many ways a paper clip is as wondrous as a galaxy.

To begin with, like the galaxy, a paper clip consists of millions and millions of things (molecules, atoms, and the even smaller quarks) interacting with each other in complex ways.  Then consider what happens to all these tiny elements and how they have to interact with each other.  They’re not spinning around an axis like the stars in a galaxy, but, then again, a galaxy can’t bend and spring back into shape like a paper clip can.  If you were small enough to stand on the nucleus of an atom within a paper clip, it would be a lot like standing on earth surrounded by stars.

Now, consider what it took to design and make that paper clip–the metallurgy and engineering that led to the precise formulation of just the right flex, the mines that had to be dug to extract the raw materials, the processing plants that transformed the raw materials into the right metal, the machines that had to be designed and built to manufacture thousands of paper clips a minute.

Somewhere in the world, there is a person who is an expert in paper clips, for whom the whole world revolves around the design and manufacture of paper clips.  He or she can tell you the entire history of the development of the paper clip, and what people did before there were paper clips, and who invented it, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of all the different possible designs and materials for paper clips, and the future of the paper clip, and where we go from here, etc. etc.

Convinced yet?  In reality, everything within our perception is utterly fantastical and pretty much unfathomable.  If a paper clip is wondrous, is not everything wondrous?  What’s surprising is that we are not in a continual state of gaga just perceiving whatever is in front of us at any given moment.

Really, living is like walking though an incredible kaleidoscope.  Consciousness would be like a perpetual hallucination if we didn’t have automatic mechanisms for just getting used to the pure wonder of what we see, hear, and feel.  But instead, most of the time we are simply oblivious to it.

Yoga seeks to put us back in touch with the infinite wonder of just being alive, starting with the wonder of ourselves, then the wonder of the universe.  And then Yoga wants us to understand that these wonders are one and the same, because our wondrous selves are an integral part of that infinitely wondrous universe.

But if we and the universe are so wondrous, why don’t we experience life like that most of the time?  How do we turn this blockbuster insight into an everyday experience?

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3 Responses to “#2 The Infinitely Wondrous Universe”

  1. What an excellent expositioning. Though I disbelieve vehemently in the “wonder” of Yoga, the prospect of the galaxy, its unfathomable vastnesss coupled also with my infinitesmal existence in this sphere is just incomprehensible. It causes a mellow feeling to resonate deeply within my chest whenever I contemplate and consider the heavens.

  2. [This comment is also posted at http://www.yogaspy.wordpress.com.

    Familiar with the saying “I know _____ like I know the back of my hand”? Well, I’d bet most people don’t know the back of either hand very well!

    In writing, it’s always best to narrow the focus. Invariably, even the narrowest topic will yield many themes and stories. If we take the time closely to observe, almost anything is interesting (and quite mysterious).

    Yes, paper-clip experts probably exist. Here’s my question to any of them: I try to avoid buying stuff made in China. But paper clips sold in North America all seem to be China-made. Where can I find other options?

  3. Hmmm. Patriotic paper clips. I suggest you google it!

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