The bigger picture in life

The bigger picture in life


Representative Image.

They were both successful and famous men, but this did not prevent them from taking regular lessons in humility. William Beebe, the naturalist, used to often visit President Theodore Roosevelt at Sagamore Hill. After an evening’s talk, the two men would walk across the lawn to look up at the starry sky.

Gazing at the Great Square of Pegasus, one of them would recite, ‘That is the Spiral Galaxy of Andromeda, which is as large as our Milky Way. It is one of a hundred million galaxies. It is 2500,000 light-years away. It consists of one hundred million suns, many larger than our own sun.’ This was followed by a moment of silence, after which Roosevelt would grin and say, ‘Now, don’t you think we are small enough? Let’s go to bed.’

An inspiring experience, but it is not the prerogative of a fortunate few. Every clear night, the sky, the stars and the moon are waiting for the gaze of anyone who turns his or her head skywards.

And what an extraordinary sight it is that confronts one – millions of mysterious beings, winking and blinking and arousing a multitude of thoughts and emotions! Two important factors however take centre-stage.

First, the vast panorama that spreads itself out brings into focus the immensity of creation. Our personal, limited views of Life are overshadowed and dwarfed. We are catapulted into a new and wondrous plane of existence.

Nature is much vast and greater than it appears in everyday, mundane living. Each one of us is a mere speck in this grand design of creation and pride in ourselves and what we have achieved has little relevance in the eternal scheme of things. Nothing so reminds us that it is only humility that brings us peace of mind.

Second, we see the importance of interconnectedness. Nothing exists on its own. An invisible chain connects both living and non-living things.

For instance, the sun it is that brings warmth and life and all the heavenly bodies stay in their orbits. Our status as a child, spouse or parent depends entirely on relationships. It is compassion and kindness that keep us going.

Gazing at the cosmos shows us the truth of the bigger picture. It is mentally liberating and spiritually humbling!

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