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Last night I watched a documentary call Into The Universe – The Story of Everything with Stephen Hawking.  Some of my first philosophical questions as a child were about the nature of universe: how did it begin? What was there before the beginning? Does it have borders?  And how could it have borders – what’s beyond those?  I was always shocked when I found out other kids (and adults) had never wondered about these things!  The questions became meditations, I realize now, and contemplating them gave me a sense of expansion.  I liked the feeling of being overwhelmed by the questions – it always left me in a space of complete awe.  What leaves me in even greater amazement is that we, as humans, have the ability to contemplate such questions in the first place.  The fact that we can contemplate our own origins and the beginning of time is astounding.  No matter how many times I’ve heard theories about the universe they are always worth hearing again.  Here are a few points that blew my mind that I’d like to share for your contemplation today. I only watched the first hour because it was late, the documentary was on Discovery and parts can be found on YouTube, it’s computer generated images are beautiful and worth the watch in itself:

-Physicists are more sure about the origin of the universe (The Big Bang) than even how life began on earth.
– The Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago. Out of complete nothingness a cosmic burst of energy sprang forth.  Think about this – before this burst there was not even space – there was NOTHING.  Space itself was produced out of the Big Bang.
–  As this energy expanded it cooled and became matter.  Gravity is the central organizing force in the universe, causing matter (at that time mostly the element of hydrogen) to collect and condense forming stars.  As stars become more and more dense through work of gravity they heat up and
new elments are formed (helium, iron, neon and on and on)
–  galaxies formed.  And, finally the earth.  And then us.
–  We are literally made of the elements that formed from the stars. Our hearts are literally moved by the energy that burst forth 14 billion years ago.
– Hawking believes that it is also plausible for other galaxies to have various life forms.
– He also believes that other universes may have come in and out of existence, perhaps with their own laws of nature different from our own.
– Physicists expect that the universe will carry on for another 28 billion years.
-Wow.In your practice, or your 3 minute time out today, contemplate some of these things.  Follow time and energy back to it’s beginning, let yourself feel the perhaps uncomfortable awe of this Great Mystery.  Feel yourself as the stuff of the stars!  Know the animating force of the universe through your very breath and movement.  Remember that we may be of the only a few beings in the universe that have a level of consciousness that can reflect on our cosmic nature.  Let your consciousness dwell on that today, in the midst of bills, deadlines and other mundanities, rememberthat even these things are the raw material of a potential supernova.

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Stephen Hawking – World Renowned Physicist