Many of us who live in cities are used to seeing dapples of stars, here and there. The lights emanating from headlights, streetlights, homes and businesses, wash out the brilliance of our Milky Way. Our Sun is one of anywhere from one hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty million stars in our galaxy. It is estimated that there are between one hundred and two hundred billion galaxies in the universe. A number that mirrors the amount of neurons in a human brain. Yet because of our focus on illuminating our immediate surroundings, we perceive almost none of the massive galaxy of which we belong. By losing touch with this point of orientation, and focusing only only on what collective consensus implies, we limit the amount of our brain that we use by focusing on the most easily perceived aspects of our existence.

Each of us uses our consciousness to illuminate our immediate environment. We take our localized attention, and illuminate the parents, family, friends and culture around us. What we see and feel in response to what we illuminate, defines us. Our need to know how our immediate environment experiences us is a compulsion that has been externalized with internet social platforms, selfie culture, and the emergence of“reality stars” that hijack our attention away from the real galaxy of stars that surround us. A galaxy that should orient us toward awe with its vastness complexity, beauty and the imagination that has structured it, and imagined each of us.
The compulsion to understand ourselves using our environmental feedback, rather than being informed by our shared awesome origins, starts a loop that can seem inescapable. Our traumas, disappointments, and even our triumphs can become a loop of thoughts that if not transcended, becomes a noose. If these loops become inescapable, despair can be the result. We see this in our culture manifesting in a variety of ailments that don’t require rehashing. But the antidote for many of the collective ailments is awe, and awe only.
If we travel outside our cities, to places like Cornwall, or Tanzania, the Milky Way is visible in a brightness that we haven’t imagined possible. Likewise, if we travel outside our own narcissistic loops of my, me, mine, we find ourselves orienting ourselves toward far off origins that stretch beyond our history and the emotional field it generates. Strangely, as we encounter these further points of orientation, we find ourselves returning to something familiar. Something that for many has been long forgotten.

Symbolically and literally, we can make this leap. We can put down our phones and forget about those who are trying to make themselves important to us without actually understanding the profundity of our shared origins. We can let go of our need to be approved of and defined by others or conventional notions of what success looks like. It’s important to recognize what a small percentage of our brain is engaged in these undertakings. There is no reason not to meet our responsibilities, however there is a need to use our consciousness and our brains for what they were intended for, and more likely than not, it isn’t navigating social networks. More likely than not, our consciousness can be a vehicle for a quantum imagination that that wants to be known through us.

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