Did you look at the photo that accompanies this week’s practitioner blog? If not, take a moment to look at it before you read on.
Now that you are ready to read on, I have a question for you. Did you see the pinprick of light that appears to be in a belt of white haze? Yes? If not, look again.
You may already know what you are looking at but if you don’t, that little pinprick of light is planet Earth. You may want to look at it again. I’ll still be here.
When I first saw that image I felt awe and fear and completely devastated thinking how little, in the grand scheme of things, I am.
Carl Sagan, an astrophysicist, played a key role on many very important space flights and wanted Voyager I, a space craft launched in September 1970, and which was exiting our Solar system in 1990, to turn its cameras around and take a picture of us. Voyager I was 3.6 billion miles away from the Sun. Sagan “…wanted humanity to see Earth’s vulnerability and that our home world is just a tiny, fragile speck in the cosmic ocean.”
Here’s what Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, his partner and fellow astrophysicist, said about this photograph.
“Look again at that dot,” they wrote. “That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.”
I’m thinking about the way we treat each other. The fights we have with one another. The petty nonsense that passes between people. The lies we tell. The inane competitions between family and friends. It is devastating to reflect on our seemingly impossible challenges now that I know that all of what seems to be so darned important is relatively nothing knowing that we live on a speck of dust in the Universe.
As a result, here is my pledge. I pledge to live my life, from here on out, as though everything matters. I do think I live as though everything matters, but this blue dot picture has, in a sense, sobered me up. We live on a planet that is comparable to a dust mote. Everything and nothing, matters.
Ernest Holmes said during the later years of his life that if he were to do it over he would focus more on love. John Lennon said, “love is all you need.” So, now sobering up in a way that is formidable and life changing because of this one photo, I pledge myself to love. For the rest of
my life. You can hold me to it.
It’s all you need.