Inventions like GPS and Google Earth help us to know where we are. Settle for those, however, and you know only a partial answer to the question: Do you know where you live?
But first, a simple quiz.
1. What do you call this?
2. What do you call this?
If your answers were not sunrise or sunset, congratulations! You can probably skip to the end.* For the others:
Unlike those who flatly rejected what scientists Aristarchus of Samos, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Galileo Galilei had discovered, we’d probably all answer this question correctly: Does the Sun circle the Earth each day?
We KNOW that it does not, but misleading “evidence” still prevents our integrating that knowledge. In spite of knowing better, most people think of themselves on a flat Earth with the Sun doing the traveling. Not too surprising, actually. That’s what it looks like.
Many of us can thank Brian Swimme for an experience that helps us FEEL ourselves part of a huge planet rotating a full rotation each 24 hours while also whirling around the Sun. In Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, pp. 26 – 30, Swimme suggests we try an experience in the evening. Since I can look east to Lake Michigan, it was easier for me to try it in the morning. Here’s what I did:
When the night sky began to lighten, I went to the beach and consciously rooted myself in the sand on which I sat. I gradually expanded that realization to my neighborhood, city, state, country, hemisphere, the entire planet; and inward to Earth’s atmosphere, crust, mantle, and core. How immense! By then it was not too challenging to imagine myself part of the whole.
As Swimme recommends in Hidden Heart, I found Venus which, he explains, is “65 million miles from the Sun, about a third closer than the Earth, which is 93 million miles from the Sun. [All the planets] are moving in a single plane around the Sun.” While numbers aren’t essential, do remember that Venus is one third closer to the Sun.
In addition to the importance of depth perception for this experiment, it is also important to envision how huge the Sun is — its volume is approximately a million times the size of Earth.
Keeping those relationships in mind, I pictured the gigantic Sun NOT MOVING below the horizon. (It does move slightly, but not around us.) As the first sliver of the Sun appeared and slowly became larger, I FELT that I was tipping toward it. I FELT the urge to grab the ground. This was a very new — and disorienting — experience!
However, that’s not the only way we are moving. Brother Sun is powerfully whirling our Earth and the other planets around it by its gravitational power. If the Sun lost this pull, we would “sail off into deep space.” Wow!
In my experience, once FELT, never forgotten. Life goes on and I no longer lose my balance concentrating on this. But I am always deepening my consciousness of moving east, especially when I look at the lake. I always note where East is when I go someplace new because I need to know which way Earth and I are traveling in the bigger picture.
The Solar System, however, is not the last word about where we are. Our Solar System is a speck within the Milky Way Galaxy, which is but one of billions of galaxies in our universe. I think our consciousnesses need to evolve before we can comprehend the full extent of where we are — and how united we are on our precious planet. We can each contribute to that evolution!
Next time you look out at the stars — which, with a little imagination, we can do during the day — stop for a moment to consider the reality of where you really are! When I do, it challenges me to reject the dated concept of heaven as “above,” and to consider what Jesus meant when he spoke in Aramaic about heaven. According to visioncraft.org/aramaic/intro.htm, “D’bwashmaya conjures the images of light, sound, and vibration spreading out and pervading all. In essence, then, ‘heaven’ is conceived not so much as a place but as a dimension of reality that is present everywhere.” And that challenges me to deepen my conception of the divine – all because I know where I live!
* To date, we do not have universal terms to replace “sunrise” and “sunset” because too few live in the reality of where they are. Please share (in comments) updated language that works for you. Thanks!
Dawn and Dusk work for me…
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Thanks for reading, your honest reaction, and your suggestions for other names, Dorothy! All part of evolution! Big blessings!
Thanks so much, Michael, for reading and responding! Brings back treasured memories of working with you and Sharyi on Wake to Wonderment! Loving blessings to you all.
I enjoyed this reflection, perhaps because l fully endorse its content. First looking at the photos l saw incredible beauty of Nature – then the old tape played and l saw Sunrise/Sunset….! Difficult to replace these old mindsets….. we know that WE are the ones on the move, so instead of SunRISE and SunSET, perhaps we can say EARTHrise, EARTHset ???
THANKS for sharing !
Susan, I am honored that you are following my blog! You are aware, I’m sure, of the close connection of the SHCJ to the RSCJ. What intriguing names you suggest! Many thanks. More, More from you!
A lovely reply, thanks Terri. Very pleased to be connected in this way. Thanks for your inspiring blog.
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The photo of the universe increases my belief in the Divine because “the order could not be an accident.”* Thanks, Terri.
*I heard an astronomer from the Planetarium say this many years ago.
Happy to help, Peggy! The SHCJ mission statement:”… to help others to believe that God lives and acts in us and in our world, and to rejoice in the divine presence.” Guess you have that message! XXOO
Megan Rice adds this comment: Mine are Earthbow, as in bowing to the sun; and Earththanks, as drawn through the day’s contemplation from being in the Light this day.
Many thanks for these creative suggestions, Megan!
first Sun … last Sun. First light… last light
Many thanks! Simple and to the point!