By Brian Luke Seaward
When I was young, I used to lie on a woolen blanket in my backyard on a summer night and look up to see the millions of lights in the sky. I recall that the Milky Way was so dense that it appeared like a thick cloud. Some nights I could see falling stars and their brief streaks of light would take my breath away. I spent months learning the names and locations of the summer constellations: I remember that Ursa Major (the bear) looked like a frying pan – the Big Dipper. And to this day, to see the face of the moon through a powerful telescope is magical. But, in all my countless nights of star-gazing, I never saw a UFO. However, years later, while on a visit to Sedona, Arizona, that changed. While I may never be exactly certain that’s what I saw (though I am pretty sure), the experience made me even more curious about life beyond our planet. I know I am not alone in wondering about this. Brilliant minds, from Plato to Einstein and Tesla have felt the same way. But, if we are not alone, where the heck ARE the others?
What are the others like? And, what do they know? Are they aware in the ways we are? Are their bodies constructed with energies like our own? Those familiar with esoteric wisdom know that mystics and sages speak of our physical awareness in terms of the seven chakras: energy centers that align the body from the top of the head to the base of the spine. Each chakra relates to various emotional, physical, and spiritual issues – from the root chakra (fear, survival) to the crown chakra (spiritual connection), and in fact there are many more than seven chakras, the seven basic energy hubs. Then, until the turn of the 20th century, it was believed that there were only seven planets. There are more than seven chakras, and now we know there are more than more seven planets – our knowledge of reality keeps expanding.
At one point in my youth there were 9 known planets (we still included Pluto), and those were in our very own solar system. Perhaps not a week goes by now that NASA doesn’t announce new discoveries, including findings about the possibility of intelligent life in other solar systems. Today they estimate that there are well over 300 planets in the galaxy in what has become known as the Goldie-locks Zone, a zone that favors the just-right conditions for habitability. On January 8, 2020, a high school student named Wolf Cukier, discovered a planet on the third day of his NASA internship! Experts suggest that it is only a matter of time before we discover that we are not alone in the cosmos, proving what many have suspected: that there is indeed intelligent life beyond our planet.
But that’s an announcement that won’t come from a landing on the Whitehouse lawn. To quote Gil Scott-Heron, “This revolution will not be televised.” Rather, as humanity advances, ways for us to add to our knowledge of the universe will include new experiences and ways of knowing. Some of us might personally make discoveries and see more about what’s real when we look up at the sky. The discovery of intelligent life outside our planet would surely dramatically challenge our perceptions of a great many things, from physics and physiology to theology and much more. When the day comes that we know that we are only one of many members of an extended galactic family, there will be a radical shift in human awareness.
As above, so below. Last fall a friend of mine received a startling phone call from a distant relative. Over the past decade several people in his family had taken genetic marker (DNA) tests. As the popularity of discovering our ancestry has grown, so too have the answers to many questions, some that were never asked aloud before. My friend held the phone in his hand, stunned at the news that he was not an only child – that day he was told that he had an older brother. As it turned out, before his parents married they gave up their first child for adoption and never spoke of him to anyone. News of this new familial connection was startling and exciting to my friend. Some experts suggest that humanity is about to experience a similar phone call in the not too distant future. Will we be ready? Will we accept this news with enthusiasm or dismay, with compassion or terror? Will we be able to shift from fear to welcome?
Today, it has been observed, by a variety of respected teachers, including Joanna Macy, Ram Das, Jane Goodall, and Deepak Chopra, that humanity appears to be stuck in a survival mode, fear-based kind of awareness. Yet others, inspired by the works of Heart Math, Joe Dispenza, Bruce Lipton, and many others teach that we can filter our thoughts and actions through the heart and remove fear. We can change what we are aware of. Perhaps when a critical mass of people on Earth entrain to a “compassion-based,” rather than “fear-based” perspective, we, as a species, will be invited to move up from the metaphorical “kid’s table” to the adult table to join a most remarkable feast. At that point, we will discover that we are members of a much greater family. Cosmic whispers suggest that the table is set, and the dinner hour is fast approaching. It’s time to wash our hands (and cleanse our hearts).
On a cold evening south of Fairbanks, Alaska last fall, I headed outside to photograph another breath-stealing phenomenon, the Aurora Borealis. Under the dome of the northern lights, I stood in awe of this celestial wonder and for hours I breathed in the beauty of the night sky. As I watched the lights dance from horizon to horizon, I was reminded that light can be a metaphor for knowing, and I reveled in the realization that there is awareness and intelligence everywhere we look and a great deal still for us to learn. When it’s time, will we be ready to see clearly and take a seat at the “adult table”?
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Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is the author of the award-winning book, MANAGING STRESS and the best seller, STAND LIKE MOUNTAIN, FLOW LIKE WATER. He is the executive director of The Paramount Wellness Institute and lives in Boulder, Colorado.
The photograph that accompanies this post, Milky Way Over Colorado, was taken by Brian Luke Seaward. You can also see it on the web page – http://www.WINNpost.org