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.”
– Carl Sagan, 1934-1996
Photo Credit: NASA (Public Domain). The Earth as imaged by Voyager 1 as it exited the solar system in 1990, dubbed ‘Pale Blue Dot’.
yugen | yoo’gen | noun (Japanese). An awareness of the universe that triggers an emotional response too deep and mysterious for words.
I work a lot. Like many. I do it for lots of reasons – to get ahead in my career, to make money, because it’s expected, blah blah blah blah.
And while I’m very passionate about what I do and know at the end of each day that I’m okay with the sacrifices I’ve made, I still feel every now and then a sort of heaviness – where I start second-guessing the validity of my choices, and doubting myself. I imagine everyone gets it. I call it “burnout”.
If you haven’t seen this already, it’s a composite of NGC 224 (the Andromeda Galaxy) sized against the Moon and lit to be as bright. I came across this browsing on Reddit, and spent a long time looking at it.
Without further ado, I give you my happy place. My serenity. My yugen:
I love space and astronomy. There’s something transcendent about looking up and seeing things infinitely bigger than yourself. This picture captures that feeling so perfectly – to think that there’s an entire galaxy, wider than our Moon, there in the sky if we could see it. I wonder what life would be like if we could see Andromeda in our night sky. Or if the Earth had rings. I wonder how the world and our ways of thinking would be different.
One could say it can make you feel small and insignificant, but I really don’t see it that way. I look at this picture and see possibility. The literally unlimited potential of humankind (and by extension, myself). I look at this picture and want to strive for improvement. To be someone who makes change; that maybe is included in the history of this pale blue dot; for someone far from now to look back on. Hopefully with a shred of dignity and honor.
I look at this picture, and the worries and problems that threaten to overwhelm me seem…not so overwhelming anymore.
Written for the Daily Post photo challenge: Serenity.