|Look up or you'll miss it|
As I drove home around 10pm last night a shooting star crossed the night sky in front of me. I was on a rural country road and there was no-one else there on this frosty night. House lights glowed from inside warm houses with closed curtains. The sky was bright with an almost full-moon lighting up the road.
A movement of light suddenly pulled my attention upwards. I blinked and leaned forward in my seat. The star shot ahead of me into the distance before exploding in silence in a flash of gold and then disappearing. I found myself catching my breath, and feeling quite lucky to have witnessed such a feat. How tiny we are in the grand scheme of things!
NASA post an Astronomy Picture of the Day each day of the year should you need a little reminder of the magic of Space and the size of our Universe. Downloadable Apps are now also available which point to the night sky and name the different constellations across the sky-scape.
As for the driver of a car on her journey home, I'm left feeling quite blessed that all the necessary conditions were present for me to see this shooting star. If you ask NASA, they will tell you that a shooting star is not in fact a star at all, but a meteor, caused by dust and rock burning up on entering the Earth's atmosphere. The Earth orbits the Sun once every 365 and a quarter days. Each year it passes through dust and rock clouds left in the wake of orbiting comets, and last night, a little speck of that debris burned up on my way home. Perhaps the most important condition of all was that I noticed the shooting star, and better again, my heart received it. In our busy lives, how many daily miracles occur unnoticed by us?
The contemplative life asks us to surrender to each moment, one after another, again and again, and to develop a practice of noticing sacredness everywhere. The external world may not look any different, but a gentleness of Spirit wells up inside, together with a sense of wellbeing. The cultivation of this practice in itself fosters wellbeing in our Spirit. When the practice of every-moment-noticing eludes you, just surrender it all, even the practice itself. The act of surrendering will bring you home.
A gentle reminder to us all to stay here, stay mindful, stay present and notice the shooting stars.
Image courtesy of seamepost.com