Your intimate relationship with the Universe
Your intimate relationship with the Universe
Like myself, many people have the experience of sensing something very grand in nature. How can we not? When there is the precision of the seasons effortlessly orchestrated in whatever part of the world we may be in; the daily rising and the setting of the sun; and likewise, the monthly cycle of the moon; and even the constellations of the stars across the night sky - it’s awe inspiring to observe the harmony of our surroundings, the eco-systems and interconnectedness of everything working together in whatever way is required to restore, balance and evolve all that is a part of it.
As human beings we also often consider that there is something greater than the physicality of this human life and this human body – yet somehow, we do very well to ignore the fact that we are part of it. It’s convenient to see it in nature but miss that we too are part of nature. Granted, some people do not consider this seeming phenomenon of there being more. But there are very many that do.
As a child I remember looking out at the night sky, at the stars, wondering what was looking back at me, just as I was looking out. And had the strongest sense that there was so much more to life and to me than I was told. This is not an uncommon thought to have, and it is one that makes absolute sense for us to consider or ponder on, seeing as we are also part of the space we are in, how can we be separate?
Space is not something ‘out there’ but rather it is something that we are intimately a part of. We (earth & humanity) are not the centre of the universe, as Nicolaus Copernicus correctly revealed, but rather an integral part of it. When we zoom out and see the planets all lined up, this is very clear. We are not IT. We are PART of something very grand – just as we sense the grandness of the most exquisite sunset or sunrise or a clear starry night sky – we are this too.
But perhaps you may need a bit more proof than this. Perhaps, the delineation of the physical body is so strongly emphasised that sensing is not enough. So, let’s look at the physical body then and its interaction with the universe. Let’s break this down and look at the science of how we are responding to the universe every single day, even prior to the moment of conception – and it has never ever ceased.
We can start with the rising and the setting of the sun – our circadian rhythm. Every single day, without fail, the sun rises and falls (so to speak) as the earth rotates on its axis. And there is not a human on the planet who would not have realised that this sleep wake cycle for our bodies is an absolute necessity. Sleep deprivation has been recognised by the International Human Rights Framework as a method of torture – yet we don’t need an international body to tell us what we clearly already know from experiencing lack of sleep in our own body. Not getting enough sleep or should I say ‘quality’ sleep, is challenging enough and interfering with daily living, let alone deprivation consistently over long periods of time. We all know how harmful this is just on an everyday practical level of feeling the physical, mental and emotional impact. Ongoing lack of sleep has been closely linked to heart issues such as hypertension and heart attacks; obesity and metabolic dysfunction; weakened immune function; mental health issues such as anxiety and depression; fertility problems and so much more.
Our bodies are ‘wired’ to follow this rhythm, this circadian rhythm. But how? How are we wired? How is it that we respond to the rising and the setting of the sun? And do we take it for granted that our bodies are responding to the grand cycles we sometimes sit in awe of? Do we take it for granted that we are intimately and undeniably connected to a star that is 150 million kilometres away from us (the sun)? And more than that, do we fight it by ignoring the power of what is being offered and try to over-ride, take control and arrogantly think ‘we’ are the ones deciding how we want to run the cycle?! Which makes sense when studies reveal that ‘globally, insufficient sleep is prevalent across various age groups, considered to be a public health epidemic that is often unrecognized, under-reported, and that has rather high economic costs’.
Let’s look at this and let’s let this really sink in because it is literally happening every single day, yet we do so well to miss this awe-inspiring relationship that we have with grandness – a grandness and a relationship that we simply cannot escape.
In the centre of your brain is a very small gland called the pineal gland. This gland is responsible for and governs all rhythms and cycles in the body. But what is ‘it’ responsive to? How does it know what rhythm and cycle to offer the body? The pineal gland responds to the sun, to light. When the sun sets, the pineal gland produces melatonin, an important chemical that supports sleep as well as many other things such as our mental health and our skin and it is also a powerful antioxidant. We have to be careful of artificial light such as phones and other screens, as this can be a big disruptor of this natural process that supports sleep and the production of melatonin and other hormones. And then upon waking our body releases cortisol and serotonin in response to light, both super important chemicals that support the body to feel alive and ready for the day. Getting up and going outside in the morning to receive the light is a very practical support for hormonal health just as getting to bed without screens and artificial light is also important.
The body is responding to a cycle and a rhythm.
We are not the dictators of this rhythm, yet we are the responders.
The question is though, are we the ‘first responders’ i.e., respond to the offering, or do we allow the interference of so many things to pollute the purity and precision of such grandness?
This is huge. A tiny gland in the centre of our brain is responding to the light and rhythm of universal movements. And we can just skip over this like we’re telling someone what we had for breakfast! Is it not worth taking a moment (or more) to really take this in?
We are inescapably a part of universal movements.
Another aspect we tend to skip over is the role of the pineal gland and hypothalamus (another gland in the brain) when it comes to the female body. When a girl enters puberty, i.e., when her body begins to change and then eventually, she starts to menstruate (ovulate), her body is responding to ‘something’. How does the body know when to enter this stage of development? The hypothalamus is activated by something that science is still not quite sure about (this is the same in boys). We know the hypothalamus generates pulses that determine the patterns and rhythms of gonadotropin and gonadal steroid secretion (hormone production) during fetal life, infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. And, as stated above, we know that the pineal gland governs all the cycles and rhythms in our body, not the least of which is our circadian rhythm, the responsiveness of our body to the rising and setting of the sun, to universal movements. So given our responsiveness to the grand universal movements and cycles of the sun, it makes complete sense that our Infradian Rhythm (menstrual cycle) is governed by grand universal movements also.
And then comes every single ovulation from then on for the rest of a girls/woman’s reproductive life – ovulation is a rhythm/cycle in the body that is governed by the pineal gland. And then initiated by the hypothalamus.
But what governs the pineal gland? Again, in the case of the circadian rhythm, it is the universal movements of the sun (at the very least). So, each and every ovulation must also be governed by a grandness that is beyond this physical body. Does this not confirm that we are intimately part of this grandness? After all, each of us are the end result of an ovulation i.e., an egg being released from our mother’s ovary. We simply cannot escape this. The ovary released the egg via the communication from the hypothalamus, which is governed by the pineal gland, receiving the rhythm of universal movement. Just like we wake and sleep in response to the light of the sun.
No wonder we look out in awe at the universe and know that there is more to this human life. It is happening inside our bodies every single day.
In fact, not a moment goes by when we are separate from everything that is around us. We seem to be quite good at placing caps and limitations on our interactivity with all that cannot always be seen and measured, yet our very own body is showing us limitless possibilities and potential of what we are a part of.
We cannot deny that we have an exquisitely intimate relationship with the universe. It is worth deeply nurturing this relationship, allowing ourselves to be enriched by the unexplainable majesty that we are a part of. These intricate details of our human existence widen the lens and bring the stars literally into our body. Living in a way that honours the precise communication that is always offering so much more than the delineation of our physicality, is living a wisdom beyond what any book or google search will ever be able to tell us. Nature and our surroundings, to the stars and beyond, are not showing us what is ‘out there’ but are more so reminding us of what is already within. Grandness cannot recognise grandness if it itself is not already grand.