the speed of breathing


‘If we set ut for the nearest star beyond our solar system at [the speed of a plane – five hundred miles per hour] it would take five million years to reach our destination.  If we travelled in the fastest rocket ship ever manufactured on Earth, the trip would take one hundred thousand years, or at least a thousand human life spans.’*

We can only see so far out into the universe.  The known universe is as far as our telescopes can reach out.  We do not know how much more universe lies beyond this.

Like the universe, our lives are expanding, and, we too can only see so far.  Unlike the universe, though, instead of peering into the past the further we look out into space, when we peer through the known universe of our lives, into the unknown, we are looking into our personal future.

With the physical universe, we will have to discover or invent ways of travelling faster.  In the personal universe the trick seems to be to travel more slowly.

‘Our breathing tells us how fast or slowly we are travelling.  If you haven’t taken the time to notice you’re breathing, you already known you are travelling too fast.  When you begin to notice your breathing, see how slow you can take it.  Notice the things that come into view as you reflect on your life within and engage without your life in purposeful conversations and explorations with others.

(*From Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe.)


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