Van Gogh captured the night sky with exhausting perfectionism on his canvas. Shakespeare wrote numerous plays with lines about the sun, the moon, the stars, and even comets and meteor showers. And when Hoagy Carmichael composed a new tune on his piano in college, a fellow classmate described it as sounding like “dust from stars drifting down through the summer sky.” Did you ever imagine stardust had a sound? Have you ever been inspired to create stories about the night sky? Or are you too busy looking down at your phone rather than up at the stars?
Our ancient ancestors did not have the tools or the technology that we have today. But they didn’t need a smart phone to tell time, or to navigate their direction. And they found their daily stories with accompanying images not on the pages of Instagram or Facebook, but in the vast night sky where they connected the dots and envisioned shapes of figures such as rams, fish, heroes, and gods.
When our ancient ancestors gazed at the stars, they were connecting to a universal language where millions of years of stories have been written. In the stillness of night, from an open field or the ocean’s edge, they looked up and felt a sacred connection between the earth and the celestial heavens. They understood they were a part of the dance of life with its cycles and seasons, between the light and the dark. They saw their reflection in the sky. It mirrored their journey and life purpose.
The technology in your hand is a powerful tool, but it will not connect you to universal wisdom held in the stars. It will not bring you enlightenment, peace, or a sense of awe-inspiring wonder. Stargazing awakens us to things greater than our own beings. It not only reminds us how small we are, but also how we are a part of the big picture.
Gazing at the night sky is therapeutic. It’s a natural way to relieve stress. It connects our souls to nature on the grandest scale. The activity is both grounding and uplifting at the same time, creating balance in our being. When focusing on one particular star, our minds can maintain a meditative state where worries vanish and wonders emerge.
Become an astrophile. Look up instead of down, and begin to improve your mental health. The stars are a reflection of us. They teach us how to shine.