“Watch the stars in their courses and imagine yourself running alongside them. Think constantly on the changes of the elements into each other, for such thoughts wash away the dust of earthly life.”MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 7.47
Today’s quote from The Daily Stoic really puts me into a dreamlike, trance state. It evokes the powerful imagery of “running alongside” the stars. I love that concept, and the idea that we can “wash away the dust of earthly life” by simply observing the heavens.
Looking at the night sky reminds us how incredibly small we are, and how unimportant our concerns are. Whatever we’re stressing about, whatever we’re trying to achieve — it’s nothing in the grand scheme of things. The universe doesn’t care, and the stars don’t care.
When you think about how long the galaxies have been there — for billions and billions of years, uninterrupted — it really drives home how brief our existence is. We are only here for a relative blink of an eye. I wonder if the stars even notice we were there, at all? (Aside: I read today that scientists are starting to think that time doesn’t exist at all.)
We think our lives are really important, that we are important, that our concerns and our goals are important. But they’re not. I like the way the author puts it: “Looking at the beautiful expanse of the sky is an antidote to the nagging pettiness of earthly concerns.”
Nothing we do matters, and nobody is more important than anyone else. Observing nature reminds us of that, and how absolutely tiny we are in relative terms, and how even the most important humans of all time are simply smoke and dust when they die. Including you.