The Heart of the Matter
I had been sitting in meditation a long while when across my mind came an impression, as though I were somehow looking over into the heart of a galaxy where I could see stars and clouds of stardust whirling around a center that was consuming them all, a huge, hungry black hole capturing everything, swallowing all light and whatever life there might have been. As I looked deeper into that swirling storm, realizing that there are millions and billions of such galaxies in the known universe, suddenly I felt the words: “The universe has no regard.”
“The universe has no regard.” As one does in meditation, I sat with this impression, without judging it, simply allowing it to reside and then pass on from my consciousness. But, even as I sat with this impression, noting it, waiting for it to pass, I could feel a tremor of awareness running like a shiver through my mind.
The message seemed clear. The universe has no regard for the survival of entire solar systems, entire galaxies. They come into existence. They disappear. And the universe just keeps doing what it does: making, unmaking, giving life, destroying. If the universe has no regard for the fate of whole galaxies, it hardly has regard for me.
At first the scene felt awesome. Then something like, but not exactly like, fear dawned on me. Reverence, perhaps, followed; but also sadness. Then resignation, if not acceptance.
If this is the nature of reality, I thought, then wisdom dictates that I come to terms with it.
As one does in the practice of meditation, I sat with these impressions, perceptions and these feelings, observing, simply observing. Again, I did not judge them one way or another. Nor did I attempt to take them into myself, though wisdom seemed to argue that this is what I should do. I watched my sadness come and go. I observed my tendency to judge, but let that pass too. I sat with these feelings a long time until they too passed and went on meditating.
It was then, after some time, that without warning another impression came to my mind. A face appeared. It was the beautiful, smiling face of one of my granddaughters: Clara, then three years old. Her smile was without self-consciousness, without guile, just her pure adoring smile of affection and love. To this day, remembering that face goes straight to my heart like an arrow.
I became conscious of an insight forming. The words were far from eloquent, but they seemed a true confession of something deeper even than faith.
“The universe may be without regard, but a universe in which that smile is possible cannot be without love.”
Later I painted the attached painting.