I downloaded an amazing sequence of photographs taken of space. You can see them on my new page called visual expression http://www.mikenoelsmith.com/visual-expression.html
I am personally in awe of such imagery and it sparked in me that ever searching question that I have (and I bet you do as well) - ‘why are we here’? When you look up at the night sky, or look down to earth from an aircraft cruising at 40,000 feet, you cannot help but pause and think of the scale of creation that we can witness first hand.
I would like to share with you a paragraph from my book Wild Waters in the Roar:
‘Tonight the sky was clear and I became mesmerised by the shooting stars, some of which I tracked across the sky for several seconds. They appeared in all directions. I idly wondered if they might break through the earth’s atmosphere and crash fierily into the ocean … maybe into our patch of the ocean? The night sky was incredible. Literally billions of stars announcing their presence as far as the eye could see. It made me humble in that moment on deck. How small we are in comparison to the Universe that we know of, and in others that we do not know yet…’
I challenge you to feel anything other than humble, privileged and awestruck by the unfolding vista on a clear starry night.
Scientists, almost on a daily basis come up with some quite complicated theories as to how we came about and the universe around us. We have also have a complex system of deities across our planet to explain, again, how we came about, whom we should believe in and how we should conduct ourselves. My only view on that would be to echo the great comedian Dave Allen of the 1970's and 80's who always concluded his shows by saying, ‘and may your God go with you…’
I do believe however, that we are here for some reason. Having a sense of meaning and purpose is usually a pretty good motivator both at work and at home and can sustain us through difficult times as well as the good ones. I also think that whatever you believe in, that we are here to be happy, not sad, depressed or hurt. So, my template for enjoying our time that we have on this earth is to:
Experience – all that you can and marvel at this beautiful planet we are on. Try to go out and see things that you have only seen in pictures or on TV, because connecting first hand with the ‘place’ wherever/whatever it is, seeing an animal in the wild or marveling at a beautiful flower adds a strong connection and majesty to the moment of experience that we build as we journey through our lives.
Create, Innovate and Try – do things that you thought (or were told) that you could not do, go on paint, sing, model clay, blow glass, take up cycling, try building a house – anything that you have a sliver of an interest in! The power in new thoughts and creations that we attempt stimulates the brain and also encourages the heart in such a way that ‘allows’ us to form new and lasting relationships with ourselves and our purpose.
By joyful – be happy with your lot, even if you think it is comparatively small compared with someone else – because that is all it is - comparison. By spreading that smile, and really engaging in what you are doing with a passion will open your heart to joyful acceptance. So go out today and be merry, bubbly, exuberant and radiant – you may feel silly doing that but try it out. It is not easy to do all the time, but at least try to make it a common occurrence in your life.
Be Helpful – I was once encouraged by a friend to make a ‘random act of kindness’, a simple small task to help someone that day. All I did was stop and chat to a homeless person selling the ‘Big Issue’. I would not normally have stopped, but I spent 10 minutes chatting about life in general. The guy was really thankful that I had taken the time to share some thoughts with him. On other occasions I have given a tip to someone who was not expecting it. Whatever you do, at least think about helping someone or being helpful to those around you. The maxim, ‘what goes round, comes round’ is very true!
Fun – finally, we have to enjoy and have fun. That might be a walk up a hill, taking part in a family occasion, playing with children or kayaking on the sea! Having fun is a very important catalyst to many of the others things that you have read above – you cannot be forced to have fun, but make an effort to enjoy yourself every day in some way.
So, when you next ask, ‘why am I here’ try doing these 5 simple acts to discover more about the answer for yourself…
Final note. If you want to watch and hear something extraordinary about deep space, check out Tabatha Boyajian’s TED talk about the anomaly that is KIC 8462852 – standby to be amazed - http://www.ted.com/talks/tabetha_boyajian_the_most_mysterious_star_in_the_universe?utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_campaign=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=button__2016-04-07