Tag Archives: Space

Intent of the Day: Beauty in Nature

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Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
-Albert Camus

Have you been outside? It’s still hot and if you’ve never believed in climate change, maybe now is the time to reconsider your opinions, but Fall is trying it’s best to creep our way. There is still so much beauty to slow down and appreciate and we don’t want to miss a moment. We intend to notice the beauty displayed in nature.

You too? Here are 3 resources to help: Continue reading

Reality Gets an Unlikely Savior: Infinity

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By Deepak Chopra, MD and Menas Kafatos, PhD

Infinity has been getting a bad reputation recently. It has become the sticking point in the story we tell ourselves about reality. The trouble begins with a split between what is real and what is unreal. If you send someone to the store to buy three apples, and they return with only one, it matches reality to say, “you only brought me a third of what I wanted.”  This statement matches the way numbers are meant to behave. Numbers are pure in the sense that they are abstractions, ever-existing and perfect as the ancient Greek philosophers thought. They cannot be disturbed by real-world events. Yet they are reliable because they allow us to engineer the real world, from building bridges and cathedrals to manufacturing microchips. They are rational because they strictly obey mathematical order and perfect logic.

These three virtues are wobbly when it comes to infinity, however. Getting one apple instead of three represents a one-third return, and when written in decimals, one-third is .33333 out to infinity. In other words, it is an endless number, and “endless” isn’t something we can actually conceive. There is a mismatch between the real world and mathematics, and when it comes to advanced mathematics, the kind applied by physicists and cosmologists, the misbehavior of infinity becomes serious. (Actually, this is one kind of well-behaved infinity, because rational numbers like 1/3 can be known to any order and predicted in advance—the repetition of three continues ad infinitum. An irrational number like pi (π) is a different kind of infinity, since its digits are unpredictable and do not repeat.)

The noted physicist Max Tegmark wrote an article for Discover magazine in Feb. 2015 titled, “Infinity Is a Beautiful Concept – And It’s Ruining Physics.” The ruination exists on two disturbing fronts. The first front is theoretical. Physicists need valid, provable theories to explain the biggest and smallest things in nature. As it turns out, the smallest things, subatomic particles, wink out of sight and vanish into the quantum vacuum. The biggest things, including galactic and intergalactic matter and the universes itself, emerge from the same vacuum, and our universe was set on a course of seemingly almost infinite inflation a tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang. The rub is that when calculating the behavior of cosmic inflation, infinity keeps intruding and destroying any reasonable prediction. To quote Tegmark, “. . .inflation always gives the same useless answer: infinity divided by infinity.”

The reasons for arriving at this useless calculation are technical, but the upshot isn’t: reality comes down to an inconceivable concept. Infinity also intrudes in the fashionable theory of the multiverse, which derives our universe by supposing that it is only one in an infinite, or nearly infinite, number of alternative universes. But for this to be true, there have to be reasonable calculations of the odds for producing our particular universe with all its vast number of stars and galaxies, and these don’t exist. There are infinite reasons for why the Big Bang produced the universe that led to life on Earth and infinite reasons why it might not have happened. This is surely a very unsatisfying situation. Continue reading

A Universe of Dots.

by Paul Koidis Jr.

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What do you see when you look IN?

It takes some time, I know, but you can do it. You may need to re-adjust your stance, back up, inch forward, bend your antenna, slide the exposure a little, twirl the focus, even change the camera, but you will get there, eventually and at last, and finally see it. Continue reading

VOD: Bill Nye Tells You Everything You Need to Know about Climate Change

The millenial generation grew up receiving their science facts from a guy with neat curly hair and a wonderful array of bow ties. Many of us are adults now and “Bill Nye the Science Guy” has long been off the air, but that doesn’t stop that magical man of science from trying to save the world anyway. In this YouTube video Bill describes what climate change is, how we got here and what we need to do to stop it.

“This climate science is no longer a matter of opinion, politics or dogma,” Bill says towards the end of the video. By the time the current population of children reaches middle age the human race’s carbon dioxide production will be double the earth’s natural carbon cycle – yet we are already seeing the hazardous effects through higher temperatures and more extreme weather. If we act now we can prevent things from getting worse but we are dangerously approaching the point of no return where we will be forced to recognize a new normal of extreme weather and unbearable temperatures. Why would we ever let that happen when there are so many clean energy sources being made available to us? That’s a question we should probably be taken more seriously.

Did you know this about climate change? Have you tried replicating Bill’s simple experiment? Let us know in the comments below!

A is for Alignment: NASA, Spirituality, and Our Evolving Universe

heic1316aAn Alignment is the synchronization of apparently separate events and elements into one singular harmonic convergence. In all spiritual traditions, the phenomenon of Alignment is both a prerequisite to and a signifier that things are unfolding with an underlying intelligence and order to them.

It’s both highly desirable and highly auspicious because it’s a marker that dissonance and chaos have been collapsed and that coherence has become the prevailing vibration.

When Alignments occur, there’s an opportunity for a quantum shift: to take not just the next step, but to move through dimensions and find yourself in a space where you’re ready to take the 10,008th step as if you had already made all of the ones in between.

It can happen in careers:

When after years of trying to get your scientific research funded and noticed by the relevant players in your field, you find out that all the players who you want to work with are coming to your department for a 3 day review and you have been selected to organize their welcome and farewell reception; this is an Alignment.

It can happen in families:

When you unite with your mother and two brothers for a Christmas holiday, putting you all in the same place at the same time for the first time in 9 years due to you all living in different countries now – and within 24hrs of your all being together, you receive a phone call telling you that your estranged father, who abandoned his family 20 years earlier, has died and you should all come together now to arrange his passing ceremonies; This is an Alignment.

It can happen in relationships:

When the first man you have said yes to in six years for a date, is driving you to a kirtan on your first date together, and you both find out that the closest female friend you’ve made in the SoCal town you have just moved to all the way from Europe, happens be his best friend of the last 10 years. This is an Alignment.

***

All Alignments have the effect of triggering irreversible healing and transformation.

When the Alignment is over,  you find yourself in a different position from where you were before – as if you stepped through a Stargate that transported you to a different place than the one you were in before it ever happened.

Mostly, when an Alignment is over, you may feel like you have evolved.

No Alignment is ever accidental, although why it is happening may not always be understood as it happens.

Just like it is hard to make observations about evolution when we watch it in real time, what is happening during an Alignment may not be understood in real time as it happens.

And just like evolution, or history, it is when we look retrospectively that we can begin to understand the lasting changes, the transformations that emerged and changed our reality in palpable ways from any given Alignment in a particular period of time.

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Today, Nasa’s Hubble Telescope ran a story called ‘Bizarre Alignment of Planetary Nebulae’ in which it reported that over 100 nebulae are unexpectedly, to the deep surprise of scientists, showing an alignment with our galaxy.

All these nebulae formed in different places and have different characteristics. Neither the individual nebulae, nor the stars that formed them, interact with other planetary nebulae. However… Many of these…appear to have their long axes aligned along the plane of our galaxy…While any alignment at all is a surprise, to have it in the crowded central region of the galaxy is even more unexpected…

From a spiritual perspective, an Alignment is marker of evolution in progress. Change is happening.

Exactly what and how is being transformed, can be properly understood only after the Alignment is over.

Until then, we can put our faith in the only thing we can all trust: the knowledge that evolution can not be stopped.

 

Originally published on my website, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spirituality.

Photo credit: NASA Hubble

Do We Have a Living Relationship to the Universe?

Is there a living connection between us and the Universe? In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra discusses this question from both an ancient and a contemporary perspective. The rhythms and movement of the planets is mirrored in the rhythms of nature, as well as those within our own bodies. We are, indeed, the totality of the Universe, in motion.

Because our own existence on Earth mirrors the larger nature of the Universe, we not only have a relationship with our cosmic home, but we are an essential part of it. Just as the planets move through space and energy recycles throughout the Universe, our own lives follow cyclic patterns and exhibit creative impulses. In a sense, we are the Universe, and the Universe is in us.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and check out Deepak’s book, War of the Worldviews!

Waltz Around Saturn with these Amazing NASA Images

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 12.27.56 PMYou have never experienced outer space like this before! More than 200,000 photographs taken by NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft in journeys around Saturn come together in this epic video by Italian filmmaker Fabio Di Donato. “Around Saturn” has a stylized, retro Sci-Fi atmosphere to it and is elegantly paired with the gripping Jazz Suite No.2: VI. Waltz 2 by Soviet composer Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich.

The music paired with the black and white imagery conjures memories of the Cold War-era space race between the U.S. and Soviet Russia. It reminds us, too, that no competition between mere humans can compare with the vast omnipotence of space, which of course can’t be owned or controlled by anyone. At the same time, the grandeur of Shostakovich’s composition mirrors that of Saturn, suggesting a connection between both the Universe’s and humans’ creative potential.

Learn more about NASA’s Cassini mission here.

7 Beautiful Haikus from NASA’s Going to Mars Campaign

Daybreak at Gale Crater

Have you ever wished your artwork could transcend the boundaries of Earth and soar into the cosmos? Then you’re not alone!

Earlier this year, NASA announced their “Going to Mars” campaign in which members of the public were invited to send in messages that would potentially make it on board their MAVEN spacecraft. Did we mention the “messages” had to be in haiku form?

Unlike a traditional poetry contest, where your prize might involve publication in a literary journal or the chance to present at some prestigious event, the rewards of this campaign are more ephemeral. The three winning poems (which will be decided on by public vote) will be written on to DVD and carried aboard a spacecraft going into Mars orbit. And the glory pretty much ends there.

But there is something undeniably romantic about the whole thing. No matter how much we’ve learned about space over the last decades, the notion of “out there” still captures our imagination in countless ways. And the proof lies in the 12,000+ entries NASA received from people around the world, all hoping to make some imprint beyond bounds of our own planet.

Of those 12,000+, here are 7 of our favorite haiku submitted to the “Going to Mars” campaign:

 It’s funny, they named
Mars after the God of War
Have a look at Earth

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distant red planet
the dreams of earth beings flow
we will someday roam

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I see you winking
Oh Mars, you fiery devil
Shining from above

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Among red stardust
Only in my dreams for now
Standing on the Mars

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Feeling Martian here,
surely space exploration
will reveal my home.

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Hi, from the Blue One,
your long time solar neighbor.
We’re harmless, mostly

~

MAVEN tastes the air
too thin to hold oceans’ broth
wafted on Sol’s winds.

Click here to vote on your favorite haiku!

What message would you send to Mars? Tell us in the comments section below!

Take Refuge in the Buddha and Become Fearless

You're in Good HandsAs a teacher I’m often asked: What does it mean in Buddhist practice when you agree to “take refuge” in the Buddha? Does this mean I need to worship the Buddha? Or pray to the Buddha? Isn’t this setting up the Buddha as “other” or some kind of god?

Traditionally, there are three fundamental refuges are where we can find genuine safety and peace, a sanctuary for our awakening heart and mind, a place to rest our human vulnerability. In their shelter, we can face and awaken from the trance of fear.

The first of these is the Buddha, or our own awakened nature. The second is the dharma (the path or the way), and the third is the sangha (the community of aspirants).

In the formal practice of Taking Refuge, we recite three times: “I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the dharma, I take refuge in the sangha.” Yet, even though there is a formula, this is not an empty or mechanical ritual, but a practice meant to expand our understanding and intention.

With each repetition, we allow ourselves to open ever more deeply to the living experience behind the words. As we do, the practice leads to a profound deepening of our faith: The more fully we open to and inhabit each refuge, the more we trust our own heart and awareness. By taking refuge we learn to trust the unfolding of our lives.

The first step in this practice, taking refuge in the Buddha, may be approached on various levels, and we can choose the way most meaningful to our particular temperament. We might for instance take refuge in the historical Buddha, the human being who attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree 2500 years ago.

This doesn’t mean that we are worshipping the man who became enlightened, or setting him up as “other” or as “higher” than ourselves, but bowing and honoring the Buddha nature that already exists within us. For instance when the Buddha encountered Mara, he felt fear—the same painfully constricted throat, chest and belly, the same racing heart that we each experience when fear strikes our heart.

By willingly meeting fear with his full attention, the Buddha discovered fearlessness — the open, clear awareness that recognizes the arising and passing of fear without contracting nor identifying with it. Taking refuge in the truth of his awakening can inspire us on our own path toward fearlessness.

At the same time, those who are devotional by nature might seek safety and refuge in the living spirit of the Buddha’s awakened heart and mind. Much like praying to Christ or the Divine Mother, we can take refuge in a Being or presence that cares about our suffering.

In taking this first refuge, I sometimes say, “I take refuge in the Beloved” and surrender into what I experience as the boundlessness of compassion. When I am feeling fear, I surrender it to the Beloved. By this, I am not trying to get rid of fear, but rather letting go into a refuge that is vast enough to hold my fear with love.

In the most fundamental way, taking refuge in the Buddha means taking refuge in our own potential for liberation. In order to embark on a spiritual path we need faith that our own heart and mind have the potential to awaken. The true power of Buddha’s story, the power that has kept it alive for all these centuries, rests in the fact that it demonstrates what is possible for each of us.

We so easily believe limiting stories about ourselves and forget that our very nature—our Buddha nature—is aware and loving. When we take refuge in the Buddha, we are taking refuge in the same capacity of awareness that awakened Siddhartha under the Bodhi Tree. We too can realize the blessing of freedom. We too can become fearless.

After taking refuge in the Beloved, I turn my attention inward, saying “I take refuge in this awakening heart mind.” Letting go of any notion that Buddha nature is something beyond or outside my awareness, I look towards the innate wakefulness of my being, the tender openness of my heart.

Minutes earlier, I might have been taking myself to be the rush of emotions and thoughts moving through my mind. But by intentionally taking refuge in awareness, that small identity dissolves, and with it, the trance of fear.

By directing our attention towards our deepest nature, by honoring the essence of our being, our own Buddha nature becomes to us more of a living reality. We are taking refuge in the truth of who we are.

Enjoy this talk on Taking Refuge:

For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com

photo by: MikeBehnken

The Things You’ll Notice When You Pause and Look Around

This is from a poem that I love. It’s called, “Fire” by Judy Brown.

temple of peace

What makes a fire burn
is the space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood…

This feels like beautiful advice. It’s an invitation to pause and to find the spaces in our life that allow spirit to shine through. So, what stops us? What makes it so difficult? When we’re in a rush and feeling stressed, the hardest thing in the world is to stop. You probably know what it’s like. If you try to stop, everything in your body and your mind is still charging forward. There’s a huge, anxious, restless drive to check things off the list and tie up all loose ends. It’s really physically uncomfortable to pause!

We each have an existential hum of fear that is in the background of our daily life. We have a perception of our temporariness, that around the corner we face inevitable loss. We will lose our own bodies and minds, we will lose others who we love. This apprehension keeps us focused on defending against loss, trying to predict loss, trying in some way trying to occupy ourselves so we don’t have to face the rawness.

Our fear keeps us busily filling in the space between the logs. This trance of more to do prevents us from finding the breathing space; it keeps us from the blessings of sacred presence. When we see this, something deep within us longs to stop. This wisdom guides us to pause and touch the moment; to listen to the wind, to feel the one who is hugging us, to see the light in a dear one’s eyes. This wisdom brings us to the simplicity of the inflow and outflow of the breath. It calls to us lovingly: “Stop and come home. Find, in the space between the logs, the light that is your source.

Enjoy this video on: Open Heart, Open Mind

For more information visit: www.tarabrach.com

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photo by: AlicePopkorn