It is only appropriate to follow-up a post “On Death” (previous post) with one focusing on Life, which is what we do know, that we are alive here on Earth today and in this moment. Life can be viewed here in a number of ways. Let’s begin with some demographics about life here on Earth.
I had to snap a picture of this constantly running chart. So at this time we share our life with close to 7.5 billion other people! Nearly impossible to fathom. I was fortunate to have backpacked across much of the globe, but in all the time I spent abroad, I maybe personally connected with 200-400 others (“connected” in this case means that I came to know this person and shared some level of conversation, interest, etc.). Added to this are those I connected with at home, work and other activities. This would account for maybe another 1,000. In total, a mere drop compared to the world’s population. As you review the other data shown, take a minute to consider what this all means. Quite overwhelming.
So let’s broaden this out a bit. How about the number of people that were born on this planet. One estimate according to Population Reference Bureau is 108 billion! Link to web page. One hundred and eight billion of our fellow human beings have had this life experience on this planet Earth. We have all shared the same water supply, land masses, need for food and shelter, emotions, physical body, need for security, etc. Once again, quite overwhelming to ponder. Life, human life that is, has been around for a long time.
We could continue down the path of looking at demographics to understand how our current population is broken down (age, location, languages, religion, income, etc.) which is fascinating when you begin to understand how diverse we really are. But I will take a different vantage point, one from looking at what is the meaning of all of this?
I recognize that there is indeed the possibility that this all could be a coincidence. That somehow the right assembly of atoms, particles, elements, etc. combined to form and evolve life as we know it. My own view is that there has to be reason for this. this was shaped in large part as I looked out towards the universe to see and ponder a display of wonder, and then again as I looked inwards and gained a basic understanding of molecules, atoms, microorganisms, etc. I saw an equal display of wonder. But it was that moment that I found myself sitting alone in nature, where I watched everything the five senses could experience; from watching the ants, trees, and sky; feeling the invisible breeze; listening to the birds and sound; and smelling the many scents around me, that I experienced nothing less than a major revelation. There was indeed an order to all of this thing we called life, but way beyond my ability to understand. It simply could not be of chance. But there was still that aspect of myself that was the doubting thomas. I needed more “proof.”
Just stop for a moment and consider what is involved with our being, everything from how we came to be (being born), to all the elements of our physical, mental and emotional elements of our body. How about one element of our body, our heart…
If you use an average of 80 beats per minute, your heart beats about 4,800 times per hour. That’s a whopping 115,200 times per day. Over the course of a year, your heart would beat about 42,048,000 times! If you live to be 80 years old, your heart would have beaten approximately 3,363,840,000 times! (wonderopolis.org/…/how-many–times-does-your–heart–beat-in-a-lifetime).
Imagine any product we use working for over 3 billions times! How about our brains. How many times a day do we have thoughts…
I recently read online that each day the average person has about 50,000 thoughts. Some researchers put that number at 70,000 thoughts per day. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-davis-phd/healthy-relationships_b_3307916.html)
Once again, I could delve into the many different aspects of our human body (blood circulation, breathing, nervous system, brain). Instead, I will move to a different vantage point, understanding the mystical or spiritual aspect of life. Many have used meditation or other means to experience life beyond the physical. I have had a couple of what would be considered mystical experiences that once again resulted in deeper contemplation of life. As I opened myself to life, I met some of the most amazing people who shared their own personal experiences. The most profound to me were those who experienced NDE’s (Near Death Experiences). I was fortunate to have known two NDE’rs on a personal level, which helped me to accept their come to believe their accounts as real. Once again, the outcome was being overwhelmed.
And finally was the examination of my own life experience. Based on the hardships I experienced, as many do, it was easy at times to discount that there is meaning to life, other than pain and suffering. This probably accounted for approximately 30-40% of my life. During these times, it was easy to rule out that there was any meaning to life. How and why would any concept of a higher power allow for this? But in my times of wonder and discovery, including self-discovery, probably accounting for 10-15% of my life, were the hundreds of revelations and experiences I had. The more I looked around me, and listened to various viewpoints and researched topics, it became apparent that what we call Life is filled with millions of amazing things of wonder, that resulted in a strong belief that there has to be meaning to life. These times helped me when I was in pain and suffering, when I the doubting thomas wanted to refute all of this and focus only on the emotional pain.
My conclusion. To keep looking around me so to open myself to these brief periods of amazement about what Life holds, to help balance myself when I am struggling. But the cumulative effect of my experiences in total result in a belief that Life is for a reason. And that I hold close to my heart!