November 25, 2018
Expansion from a Single Point
Sanford Baran: It is a pleasure to gather again allowing the fineness of spirit in each of us to be known in this shared space. We come in the name of the Lord, which means that our greatest love is to offer that which is of the most high, qualities of character that carry the essences of nobility, fineness and beauty. In allowing these essences to be our own there naturally is a heartfelt expression of thanksgiving, an offering of gratitude for what is above—that which brings life and vitality everywhere.
Just a few days ago, the holiday of Thanksgiving was celebrated here on the North American continent. For many it is a wonderful time to be with family and friends, a time to appreciate these precious connections one with another and the abundant blessings that have been generously extended to us in so many ways. Indeed, it is useful to have a day set aside specifically to share in such a spirit, a collective offering of real appreciation that vibrationally uplifts and blesses the world around. In fact, maybe multiple Thanksgiving holidays during the year would be beneficial. Full disclosure, this talk is not being underwritten by the Turkey Growers of America!
But there is a caveat. Regardless of how often we gather to give thanks it is never something that can be forced or faked. Merely going through the motions of offering appreciation is of little use. It must be genuine if it is to have any real value.
I have often felt that thankfulness is very much connected to the experience of wonder. As there is an authentic sense of awe and reverence for the blessings that life brings, we cannot help but express deep appreciation for it, regardless of whatever challenges also happen to be on our plates. Think about it—how simply extraordinary it is to be alive! What a gift to walk and breath, to see and hear, to laugh and to think. Is not any one of these capabilities remarkable in its own right, a cause for great rejoicing? And yet all of this equipment, so carefully crafted and brilliantly engineered, has been provided to us and has been entrusted in our care. What an honor and pleasure to responsibly and lovingly use it not only for our own enjoyment but as a means of allowing the spirit of life to be known more abundantly wherever we happen to be because of what we do in the moment.
But of course, to really know life, it is not just a matter of passively observing it, like watching television. We only really know life as we express it ourselves, in our own living, revealing its true character along the way. And in doing this, our ability to perceive and discern the magnificence of it all expands along with our overall sense of wonder. It is from this wonder-filled space in consciousness that the expression of thanksgiving so naturally and easily springs forth. How wonderful to play our part in all of this, focusing our attention on life's miraculous presence, being inspired by its grandeur and majesty.
Over the last number of months, I have been having great fun auditing an astronomy class called, 'Modern Cosmology,' at the University of Colorado, right down the street from me here in Boulder. Studying the nature of the cosmos, its makeup and composition, its origin and fate, how we fit into the picture—has been nothing less than mind-blowing. How marvelous to have one's eyes opened—to peek into the strange and extraordinary ways of divine design and function in all of its monumental glory.
I think one of the first things that strikes you is the enormity of it all— for example the sheer number of stars and galaxies (in the hundreds of billions), the enormous distances, like the distance across just a single galaxy like our Milky Way (1,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilometers!), the temperature of a star like the sun (10 thousand degrees Fahrenheit on the surface and 27 million degrees Fahrenheit at its core). These numbers indeed boggle the mind and yet also instill a sense of awe, reverence and humility as one reflects on the grandness and immensity so characteristic of the operational universe. It also puts things into perspective, particularly as we think about planet earth and its inhabitants in the midst of such immensity. It gives you pause as you consider how relatively unimportant the petty affairs of mankind are on the cosmic stage.
One of the more intriguing happenings that we've been studying over the last couple of weeks is the birth of the cosmos itself, an event commonly referred to as the "big bang." Without getting bogged down in too much technical detail, let me simply say that the birth of the universe is thought to originate from a single point having infinite energy. Does this sound at all familiar? Now at the very instant of birth this single point begins to expand. And once expansion begins, it sets in motion a whole series of events and processes that ultimately produce the structure and composition of what we know as the cosmos today. How elegantly simple.
By the way, there is a common misconception about the big bang—that it was a gigantic explosion spewing cosmic plasma into already existing empty space. This is not correct. First of all, there was no explosion. And secondly, at the time of creation there was no space—the cosmos at time zero was totally dimensionless, a single point—yet it contained all of the energy in the universe. Now at the exact moment of birth expansion does commence. This is when space actually starts to put in an appearance—miniscule at first but on a path toward inexorable expansion. And scientists say that cosmic expansion has been underway now for some fourteen billion years bringing us to the cosmos we have today. Details aside, I find this to be so incredibly profound— that the cosmos originated from a single dimensionless point and at its moment of inception instantly became a fledgling dimensional universe, one that has been expanding ever since. And this cosmos is alive and thriving and is very much a work in progress, constantly refining and refashioning itself—providing the exact right conditions and raw material for the ongoing ascending processes of cosmic creation over eons of time. Behold I make all things new. Is this not just absolutely thrilling?
You might be wondering what any of this has to do with our day-to-day living here on this lowly planet we call the earth. Well, we definitely do live in the cosmos and presumably have a part to play in its ongoing saga. But it is good to keep in mind that we also are here as a result of that birth that occurred fourteen billion years ago—that birth that originated from a single dimensionless point. We are part of that expansion and are a legacy of that one all-powerful point of origin. The words everything is one couldn't be a truer statement—everything originates from the One, and the One gives life to everything.
The fact is, there have been innumerable beginnings that have occurred down through the ages—cycles within cycles. Even now as I speak, a multitude of new beginnings are being born, indeed far too many to count. And if any of these beginnings ring true it is because they too derive from that same single point of origin which is just as present now as it ever was. Importantly, all beginnings that derive from the One, expand. They expand in the sense that they positively contribute to the ongoing ascending processes of cosmic creation. Expansion implies that they are cosmically useful and sustainable—they pull their own weight and support the overall well-being and development of the whole.
This is in stark contrast to those beginnings not born of the One. These types of beginnings are typically self-serving and devoid of any awareness of divine design. And while such beginnings can make a big splash, they eventually fizzle and disintegrate as the cycles that they initiate simply have no useful value to the whole. These beginnings have no notion of expansiveness.
Here is an interesting question, "Is there a difference between expansion and another term that would seem to be quite similar, growth?" I should probably define the context a little better. By expansion I mean in the big-bang way of thinking about it. Expansion in this context means the expansion of space, not the celestial objects that reside in that space like stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and even black holes. It turns out that the celestial objects themselves are definitely not expanding. What is expanding however is space itself, the space in between such celestial bodies. Expansion in this sense tends to make the universe less dense and more spacious. Growth on the other hand seems to do the complete opposite. Here on earth the effects of unbridled growth manifest as increased population, unconstrained commerce, ever more buildings, over-consumption of resources, lots more stuff, greater pollution—you get the picture. Growth in this sense tends to make the local environment a much denser, more cluttered, and far less hospitable place. This is not to say that all growth is bad. It is when growth reaches the point of imbalance and the mantra is "growth at any cost" that devastating and ruinous consequences inevitably come to fruition. It seems to me that we could use a lot more expansion and a lot less growth these days as the earth edges ever closer to a tipping point.
Fortunately, there are many across the globe who are consciously aware of why they are here and what they have come to do. These are ones who have a genuine heartfelt appreciation for the big picture, for the wellbeing of the whole.
We are so blessed to be denizens of this jewel of a planet, Earth, as it orbits our star, the sun, which is gracefully positioned in the Orion Arm of our Milky Way galaxy—one of the billions of other galaxies contained in the cosmos. And we can rejoice that our cosmos is ever expanding—an apt reminder that life is vibrantly present throughout.
It is our greatest desire to fulfill our commission and embrace that which already is expansive in ourselves. In doing this we are in the perfect place to allow true beginnings to be initiated in our own momentary living. How excellent to play our part allowing expansion to proceed in us from the one all-powerful point of origin, I Am.
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