Celestial Experience

I don’t know what drew me outside this evening. Perhaps it was the need to get out in the cool night air or maybe I assumed last night’s and this morning’s rains cleansed the air. Whatever prompted me outdoors, I am glad I went out on the back deck and looked up at the sky. The sheer number of stars was stunning. I don’t think I’ve seen the sky glitter like this since we went out on a boat one night in Hawaii; and it’s possible tonight was even more spectacular. After a few minutes, I decided the lights inside the house interfered with my euphoric experience of the night sky, so I went inside and turned them off. I stumbled back outside, sat on one of the cold steel chairs, and turned my eyes skyward. It’s impossible to describe the view, nor can I begin to adequately explain the sense of absolute awe I felt as I gazed at the dark sky and the thousands of stars above me.

The rabbi who spoke during the Sunday Unitarian Universalist service distinguished between religious and spiritual. He said religion requires adherence to structured beliefs and practices, as well as acceptance of a view of the world shared by other adherents. But spirituality need not embrace a deity, nor structured beliefs, nor a shared view of the world. Rather, it is simply one’s personal sense of connection with something either greater than oneself or that evokes strong emotions. That could be nature, or music, or witnessing generosity or any number of other things that one finds moving. So, I suppose, I am spiritual. I am moved by music, by generosity, by waterfalls and trees and, as evidence of how I feel at this moment, by my celestial experience of a short while ago.

I don’t believe there is a god as conceived by the world’s religions, but I think we’re all connected in some form or fashion—perhaps purely emotionally—that moves us.  See, I knew I couldn’t explain this.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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