Where Do We End and Where Do We Begin?

It is a Thursday afternoon, at the beginning of my Environmental Biology class, and we are shown something I’ve seen more times than I can count: a picture of the history of our planet compiled into the 24 hour day on Earth.

From midnight to 3am there is nothing but the bombardment of meteorites. At hour 4, there is a glimpse of the first moments of what we currently consider to be life. From 6am to 1pm is nothing but the formation of iron, and the eventual accumulation of oxygen. Single celled algae is present and sexual reproduction begins. Cascading through the rest of the evening hours is the appearance of seaweeds, jellyfish, trilobites, land plants, the formation of coal swamps, dinosaurs, and eventually mammals, all leading to the emergence of Humans at 11:58:43 pm.

This mere minute is obnoxiously emphasized in any science class I’ve ever taken, a token of our severe insignificance in the midst of everything around and beyond us.

My mind drifts, as it always has, as a result of my contrasting perspective of science which peers through a lens of poetry rather than one of facts and knowledge. I am reminded of a quote by Nisargadatta Maharaj, which states “Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and in between the two my life moves”.

From the observations I’ve made repeatedly in my science classes, it seems that the world I am living in knows a great deal about this statement “I am nothing”. Could this be a time of wisdom, amongst other things? Wisdom brought on by a wealth of knowledge thanks to science, a reliable, enlightened way to understand our world?

Come to think of it, “I am everything”  is not completely left out of our technical understanding of the universe either. The case in point: Star dust.

Delving into the inner world, we are able to see that everything within is also everything without, merely organized in a different way to house the existence we know. It is one of many parallels that can be found between science and spirituality, or philosophy.

Since the dawn of their existence, humans have been intertwined with the exploration of the inner world versus their outer world, and as time passes, confusion of where to draw the line between the two is furthered.

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21

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Today is the day I turn 21.

Society has me confused about this day, sending me mixed messages about whether it is a cause of celebration, or a cause to assess how I am doing in life.

At this time, it appears to be neither case, and rather a slight retreat from both.

While on exchange in California, I am free of the pressure to celebrate for the sake of friends and family, as well as from the worry about looking like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

Liberation from these circumstances creates a unique medium to move about my life, one that I’ve never experienced before, and of one that I’m reaping the full benefits.

This page remained blank for several days after creating it. Upon coming home for the holidays for my winter break, it is almost as if the crowded suburbs of Long Island congested my thoughts, and the bitter cold closed myself off to more than just the weather.

Realization of my purpose and how to present it seemed to require a mental/emotional organization that I could not attain during my visit to New York. Through this, I have discovered a paradox: that leaving the east coast for a year (not nearly long enough) feels like getting away from me to get back to me, and I believe there are many out there who can relate to this feeling.

Grateful for the new friends I have been blessed with on this 21st Birthday, I can honestly say that if there is anything to celebrate, it is for what is to come, and my own becoming.

I hope anyone reading this is able to find their bliss, or if you’re like me, to be reunited with it.