Monthly Archives: February 2016

Of Star Stuff

saganWe’re approaching Valentine’s day and talk of love is all around us. Hubs and I are generally pretty lazy about these sorts of things but I would be remiss not to give the spirit a nod in my classes or here on the blog- so today we’re going to talk about a different level of love, and why it’s the obvious conclusion.

Carl Sagan may not have been thinking of it specifically when he said this famous phrase, but he was talking about prakriti. Prakriti is a huge idea but put very simply it’s a universal force that is the constituent element of everything that exists- Sagan’s “star stuff”, if you will. What I take from this- the yoga philosophy and the scientist- is that the natural reaction to this information is love and compassion for all beings. Y’know, obviously. If, at our core, we are all connected by this energy that is never created or destroyed but only changes, we have to recognize the intrinsic value of all life. The Christian Bible takes note of this when it instructs, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31) because your neighbour and you are one (ok, the Bible doesn’t say that part but I’m extrapolating). And while we’re at it, you can extend that love to yourself because inside you exists the very same material, the same forces, as all the marvels of the universe. It’s pretty cool, right? As you can see from the very broad array of sources I’ve quoted from here, this idea comes up throughout human history and geography, which I think is good evidence that it’s well-founded. I like this line from Max Ehrmann’s poem The Desiderata, too:

didserata

Chemistry calls them elements, the Vedas call them gunas, but fundamentally the idea is the same- everything is connected by its composition. And connection equals love.

It’s easy to see the star stuff in the people you love. But when you pass a stranger on the street whose eyes you might avoid, or you’re about to engage in some harsh self-criticism, remember- we are one and the same. We are all children of the universe- we have a right to be here, and to be loved.

We’re celebrating Valentine’s at Nova with a few events we’ve called Lovefest, including a karma class for Syrian refugees. More info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/112935562426002/