Many of us look out at the universe and think, Wow, it’s so vast, so big. Upon seeing the vastness of outer space, immediately we say, “It makes me feel so small.” Why do so many of us resonate with that sentiment?
What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I?
In this season of holy days, two Commandments come to mind:
One: I am the lord thy god. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Two: Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Most of us are familiar with the phrases, but what do they mean?
What does it mean to have no other gods before us? Who or what might constitute these other gods?
When we see something much larger than ourselves, the cosmos, for instance, and we compare it to ourselves, then when we do, we are putting these other gods before ourselves. I guess it’s consistent with those words, Judge not…. When we compare ourselves to any thing, we are judging, and when we’re judging ourselves to be less (in comparison to something else), we’re setting the other up as a god (as something so vast we can’t measure up to it).
How does the Thy Neighbor Commandment factor into the idea of comparing or judging?
If we loved our neighbor as we loved ourselves, do we think that means, only love yourself a little and then you’ll only love your neighbor a little?
I don’t think so. I think it means if we are, in some way, made in the image of our creator, then the love we have for ourselves should be as strong as the love we have for any thing or anyone else we might relate to, even God.
Whether it’s the Andromeda Galaxy that inspires us, or some other person, even a celebrity, we should refrain from comparing ourselves to it or them. Why? Because, in a nearly incomprehensible way, others are us and we are them.
Anytime we have the knee-jerk reaction to reject something out there or embrace it only because it’s larger than us, we must give ourselves pause.
If we remember that nothing exists except in relationship (from a relational POV), then our concept of any thing or anyone in the universe is virtual and subjective.
Anything we see in real conscious life or in our dreams is necessarily part of us. Our consciousness exists as a puzzle piece of the universe, without which the universe would either fall apart or, more probably, cease to exist.
Embracing the other within us—the next time we look out at the night sky or up at the clouds, might we think this—If I can see something as magnificent, might not some or all of that magnificence reside within me?