Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spectacles of nature

I stepped outside today evening to try and spot the unfolding of a heavenly spectacle in the skies, the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus. It took me several minutes of scanning the tree-obscured horizon to  finally spot the two planets in a gap between the trees, sparkling bright in the azure sky. The brighter of the two might have been Venus and Jupiter even though bigger in size looked like a younger sibling hanging around the brighter one. They are orbiting on vastly different trajectories, but once in a while their travels align them in such a way that when looked at from the earth, they appear to be in conjunction.

Later on, when the night had deepened, I stepped outside once again to gaze up at the night sky. The sky was almost clear, with only a few clouds obscuring the view, and stars lit up the heavens. The Milky Way was a diaphanous swathe across the sky and looking at this starry display, once again I was moved by awe, thinking of our tiny little planet amidst the heavens and the universe spreading out into infinity. And a tiny little me, sitting on a tiny little planet watching it. Its sheer grandeur is so monumental and yet to think that the force that shaped the stars and the galaxies also shaped me and throbs within me. This puts us straightaway into the league of stars, and we can feel the pulse of creation, of awesomeness throbbing within us.

Earlier on, I had gone for a walk and sat down by the river. The sun had gone down and the sunset was lighting up the sky in golden hues. Down there where I sat there was no sign of human habitation. It was as though I had escaped into a different world. The river flowed with music on her lips and jauntiness in her step. Sea gulls feed on the pebbled banks and once in a while took off in flight, spread their wings and alighted again. The bank opposite was thick with bush of various kinds and hues, and shadows gathered among the leaves, and slithered on the branches, whispering secrets. As the day retreated, the night approached, like a soft-footed lover, all velvet smoothness and dark mystery.

Sitting there, cradled in nature and caressed by the velvet night, my mind grew calm and still. I began to feel a blurring of my separateness as the walls that I normally put up while negotiating the eddying currents of human transactions began to dissolve and fall away. The sense of a separate 'me' began to disappear and the sense of a far greater vastness began to reveal itself. There was only an observer and the feeling that all was in oneness and all was in bliss.

When the mind falls silent, truth and beauty reveal themselves. What does the mind do other than record events, store and retrieve data, and based on past recorded data, form opinions, concepts, beliefs etc. But the moment is newborn and fresh and its beauty and aliveness cannot be sensed by a mere cataloguer of a database, it must be sensed by something beyond the mind, something that dwells and moves within us and whose ethereal voice is normally drowned out by the cacophony of the mind. In moments like these, when we are in the midst of nature, when we get the chance to drop the mind and move into stillness, the soft, loving voice reveals to us, not in words, but in a deeply felt sense, the truth about ourselves. Then, we can be said to have come home.