Hands up if you’ve got any challenges or problems right now…
It’s way too easy (and perfectly understandable) to lose perspective by becoming lost in your own world. And when that happens you fail to see either the big picture or the small picture.
The small picture is microscopic – the world that is smaller than us as human beings. There are just over 7 billion humans on the planet – quite a lot I think. However, recent studies suggest that there are between 200 million and 1.2 billion insects for every human on earth. This would mean there are between 1,400,000,000,000,000,000 and 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 1.4 – 10 quintillion of the little critters!
But that number pales into insignificance when you consider other (smaller) living things such as phytoplankton or viruses.
And then we can start considering even smaller things like molecules. And the even smaller atomic particles and sub-atomic particles.
The other side of the scale is all the things bigger than ourselves. How big are you (physically) compared to the suburb you live in? Or your city? Your country? The world?
I couldn’t go on along this line without deferring to the Galaxy Song from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. If you know the tune, sing along as you read the words…
The Galaxy Song (excerpt)
Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour
That’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned
A sun that is the source of all our power
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour
Of the galaxy we call the ‘Milky Way’
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars
It’s a hundred thousand light years side to side
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick
But out by us, it’s just three thousand light years wide
We’re thirty thousand light years from galactic central point
We go ‘round every two hundred million years
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe
When you are in the middle of an issue such as when you are running late for an important meeting because the kids have been mucking around, or the traffic is at a standstill due to an accident, or your client was going to do one thing and instead did another, or perhaps you have a flu (man flu or real :-) ) – these problems can become, or seem to become, all encompassing for us – perhaps because we think we are the centre of the universe.
Of course in some respects you are the centre of your own universe, yet in other respects you’re not. One thing for sure though, we are all simply a strand in the tapestry of life – which is pretty enormous.
Human beings are both finite creatures and infinite creatures. We are infinite through our energy, our influence, our souls, the matter we are made of that may change form but can’t be destroyed. We are finite in as much as we live four score and how ever many years (say an average age of 80) which is just 29,200 days / 42,048,000 minutes / 504,576,000 breaths / 2,522,880,000 heartbeats.
At times like this I like to remember we are standing on a planet which is spinning round a star which is just one of a billion, trillion suns in a Universe that’s ninety billion light years side to side!
Stay present and keep breathing…