We talk about stars and the sun and the moon and the planets and the universe and the solar system often enough. Yet it takes me actual sitting down and letting it sink in to internalize it all. Every single time. I haven’t internalized it the way I have my home, the streets around us, our city. Every time I focus explicitly on the Universe and everything that is a part of it, and everything that we don't know is a part of it, I get goose bumps. I shudder with awe and fear. I try to comprehend the actual vastness of this system. Not as I see in movies or read in books and articles. But in reality. Like I know my streets. I fail. I try to comprehend the life that is possibly out there. It is naive to think that we are the only ones to inhabit this Universe. It makes me wonder even more. What kind of life is out there? What kind of atmosphere do they thrive in? What stage of evolution are they in? What do they look like? What do they eat? What do they think? Do they have hands and legs? Do they have faces? You know. Normal everyday thoughts and questions.
The more I think about the life that we don’t know about, the more I realize the magnitude of the life that we do know about. Life on our planet. It starts with me, my family, my dogs, people I grew up with, surroundings I grew up in, country I grew up in, food I ate growing up, the country I live in now, the people I know now, the religions I am exposed to now, the culture I am exposed to now, the food I eat now, the house I live in now, my friends, this city, this state, this continent, places I have traveled, people I have met there. It has no end.
I have a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, a husband, two kids. My family is not that big. With respect to this Universe, I mean. But each one of us is SO different. It is hard to fathom how we belong to the same gene pool. Our thoughts, our attitudes, our taste buds, our likings, our disliking, everything. We are very different people. Add to it my friends, we are different in every aspect imaginable. There are similarities too. Clearly. But differences are uncountable. Add to it our neighbors. Other acquaintances. People we run into. People we see on the streets. In the mall. On National Geographic. The bugs. The dogs. The snakes. The life. In general.
It also makes me wonder about the time we spend mulling over our differences. Difference between plants and animals. Difference between black and white. Difference between tall and short. Difference between big eyes and small eyes. Difference between long hair and short hair. Difference between low income and high income. Difference between the IQ and the EQ. Difference between job and no job. Difference between a Honda and a Tesla. Difference between a homosexual and a heterosexual. Difference between a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian. Difference between a Hindu and a Muslim. Difference between Art and Engineering. Difference among our eating habits. Difference among our accents. Difference among our parenting styles. These differences seem so big to us that we choose who we want to spend time with, who we want to call friends, who we want to not hang out with based on these differences.
But when I pause to reflect on the Universe and forget all about the human and life differences, I feel so petty. So small. Our differences seem so insignificant. I then tend to see only the similarities. I can’t help but wonder at the amount of time I waste thinking about differences on this planet, when we are teeny tiny part of an extremely ginormous and incomprehensible Universe.
It kind of puts things in perspective a little bit. I don’t mean to undermine the differences. I acknowledge the differences. But to what effect? It is what we do with those differences that changes for me. Knowing that I am a small part of a vast entity makes my heart and mind open more. It makes me more accepting of the differences around me. It does not make me ignore those differences. It does not make me blind. It just makes me realize that there is so much more, so much different, so much unknown out there. It makes me realize that the differences I see around me are exactly that, different. Nothing more. Nothing less. It doesn’t change how I view the vessel that carries those differences. It makes the importance of differences diminish in my eyes. There is a not-so-fine line between acknowledging and accepting. It is in fact a very wide line. It is very easy to walk that line. And it is mostly in our minds. Acceptance is a mind game. It is about our perception. It talks more about us than it does about the person or entity that is different.
And just that easily I slip into the unknown of this eternity. Trying to soak it in. Trying with all my might to make it more tangible. Yet I fail. But I don’t stop admiring it. I am forever in awe. Of this thing so large, so incomprehensible. No dictionary contains a word I could use to describe how I truly feel about it. So I will stop this rant by accepting that I don’t know most of what is out there, I know the differences around me seem larger than life when I see them in isolation, but they are utterly insignificant in this macro concept of life, and, I accept it with wide open arms and a grateful heart.