I find it so important to keep a cosmic perspective on life. It’s all too easy to drown in the immediacy of our everyday stresses and problems.
We modern humans are, largely, automatons in the sense that we go about our day pretty much mechanically. The morning coffee, the morning commute, the cell phone texting and so many other actions become the autonomous response of habit, barely reaching the conscious processing centers of the brain. When anything out of the ordinary happens, we’re completely thrown off balance because we weren’t present. Whatever we were doing was on automatic. Our mind was somewhere else.
“Never his mind on where he was! Hmm? On what he was doing. Hmph!” (Yoda)
It’s essential to stop the automaton once in a while and become really, really present. There are many ways to do this, and certainly we should all have a tool bag full of options. Meditation is one way. I find scuba diving keeps me quite present. There’s nothing like going from the ocean in which you can breathe (atmosphere) into that ocean where you can’t breathe.
Blaise Pascal, a brilliant 17th century mathemetician, said “Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed.” Perhaps that’s true, but some schools of Zen contemplate on Nothing, which they call mu1, to acheive enlightenment.
Maybe you remember the Never Ending Story wherein the world was being destroyed by Nothing. The concept is hard for Bastion to understand; as it is for us. Whatever you imagine calls up a label in your brain; black, for instance. Black is not nothing because it’s something. A vacuum is not nothing because you can describe and label it. The true Nothing, like infinity, we cannot master in the conscious brain.
On a clear night, away from city light pollution, I love to just stare up into the sky and feel the infinity of the universe in which we are engulfed. If you were to listen to a Jewish prayer service, you would hear a certain phrase repeated quite often, “melech ha’olam,” used in reference to god. It’s usually translated as “king of the universe”, but that falls far short of it’s kabbalistic meaning. “Olam,” means “all of space and all of time.” The king is master of a world that stretches out infinitely over space, and simultaneously infinitely over time. There is no before or after. There is no outside. It’s Inifinity in Four Dimensions. It’s as difficult a concept for us as Nothing is for Bastion in the Never Ending Story.
As a comic actor, I learned that one way to create humor is to assign a huge importance to something trivial. When the audience can see a character making a really big deal out of whatever they judge to be a triviality, they laugh. The greater the disparity between the importance and the trivialness, the greater the humor.
All of the problems we make with the neighbor, the lost parking space, the broken dryer, the stain in the new shirt and every other thing that disturbs us when we’re on automatic; what are they compared to the Infinity of Four Dimensions? They are trivial problems we have made too important. This is cosmic humor. When I look at my life from outside myself, from the perspective of the Infinity in Four Dimensions, I become the audience and can only laugh at the cosmic humor of my own life. No matter how important I treat a thing, in reality, it’s just a tiny hair on a sub-atomic particle in a big, old Universe.