We do not know how frequently life develops; we know only that planets like our own seem to be quite unusual. In all likelihood, life sprouts elsewhere, but probably those upswellings are relatively infrequent, and the beings who arise from them may be very different from ourselves.
Then, there are the laws of physics. Over the lifespan of our universe, from initial expansion, to what we now imagine to be a vast, empty, static death, life as we know it can only blossom and flourish in the briefest amount of time, in the galactic moment when all of life’s requirements are met. We are literally star stuff, made of elements formed in the intense inner processes of ancient supernovas, exploded suns. Paradoxically, our very survival depends on our sun’s relatively constant heat and light. Too much heat and we fry, too little and we freeze. In a couple of billion years, life will no longer be found here.
When we see ourselves in context, our presence here is a miracle and a mystery, as is the existence of every living organism on the planet. Together, we form a vast, interwoven community of magical beings. Yet, the materialist ethos that governs our thinking in these Neoliberal times rejects mystery and awe, just as it seeks to erase community. If we listen to the voices of materialism, we find ourselves in a vast, cold, indifferent, or even hostile, universe, prime for colonizing, yet also devoid of inherent meaning and spirit, an often terrifying void.
I wonder, what would happen were to recognize that we are all miracles, and that our lives are a great, mysterious, gift? Would we begin to live within our ecological and spiritual means? Would we care for, and nourish, one another? Would we recognize the great gift we are given when we take a life so we may live, and feel remorse and gratitude? Would we protect the habitats of all beings, so that the majesty of life, in all its complexity might, flourish?
We are invited by Spirit to live lives of awe, acknowledging the Great Mystery. Yet, I imagine that most of us, including me, can only stand so much of that underlying reality, and manage only to visit now and again. Still, if we allow ourselves to occasionally open to the immensity of the universe, and to the gift of life we have been given, we are richly rewarded. Rather than being adrift in a compassionless, ruthless universe, one modeled on the logics and ethics of capital and colonialism, we awaken to the possibility that each of us may be more complex, immense,and miraculous than we can begin to fathom. In those moments, we enter the Dreaming and the Medicine, the places where Creation happened and is ongoing, and awe, mystery, terror, and joy abide, and where profound healing awaits. No wonder those who desire our culture to continue as it is discourage us from going there!