Meditation for me is a practical, down-to-earth experience. Just being there attending to the present moment – my sensations, feelings and thoughts as I go through my day-to-day activities; brushing my teeth, washing my face, peeling the potatoes, going for a walk, interacting with others, and such is a very practical grounding experience.
Of course, my meditative practice – the time I set aside to quiet my mind by focusing intently on something specific - sounds, visual pieces, tactile sensations, tastes and smells, and, most often, simply my own breathing is the backbone. It helps train my mind to quiet the internal chatter and to be present for whatever is.
But ever since I was a child stars have fascinated me. I remember how, as a very young child, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, would, as the song says, bring me to a place of wonder. Later on I began scanning the early night sky to wish on the first star of the evening. And then, as a teenager, I would watch for falling stars and the promise of wonderful things to come.
Of course that was a long time ago so it took me by surprise when the presence of stars in the early morning and night sky became part of my meditations. It wasn’t intentional at all, but sometimes at the beginning and end of a day I feel a need to expand my awareness of what is and open myself to the universe.
So, after quieting my mind and becoming grounded, I open myself to the sky above. What I often sense first is the cool crispness of the air – the way it fills my lungs and cleanses my body. Then, as I breathe deeper into the sky I become aware of the stars. As I open myself to their presence, I feel a profound connection with them and something deep inside begins to vibrate ever so subtly. It is as if I hear the stars singing! I never expected to sense this; I know I can’t actually “hear” the stars. After all, the nearest star is 9,470,000,000,000 km or 4.22 light years away. And yet, I do.
The idea of singing stars, or the Music of the Spheres, was proposed by Pythagoras more than 2,500 years ago. Mythology turned into science in the 1970s when astronomers found that stars do pulsate, and are not stabilised by their strong magnetic field as was previously thought. We now have actual recordings and music composed with their songs.
So, strange as it seems, I let myself be carried into the heavens by the stars. Initially, I sense a quiet vibration, this grows as I open myself to the 100 billion stars in our galaxy, and then to the stars beyond our galaxy – an estimated 500 billion galaxies each with approximately 100 billion stars. As I do so, my reverie deepens and the songs swell into an uplifting celestial chorus.
As I come to the ever-expanding edge of the universe and peer into the void, I become aware of a creative presence. To me this presence is the Divine, the Alpha and Omega, the “I Am” of creation. I am filled with this presence, and I realize I am part of this wonderful creation – and this presence is part of who I am.
When I bring my meditation to a close and return to my earthly surroundings this experience supports me. I move through my days with an enhanced sense of unity with others – and with all that is. Differences pale. I am filled with peace, love and joy.
May you also be filled with Peace, Love and Joy during this holiday season and throughout the New Year.
To hear the music of the stars for yourself, check out the following:
· The first piece of music composed for stellar instruments: the slowly-building Stellar Music No. 1 by Jenõ Keuler and Zoltán Kolláth.
· An old star in the constellation Hydra. It is 130 light years away and 60 times brighter than the Sun. Its sounds, which have been featured in club music in Belgium, are reminiscent of African drumming.
· A new class of star with a powerful magnetic field. It pulses every 11.7 minutes.
· Or to hear music that is more like what I hear in my Celestial Chorus look for the CD “Canticles of Ecstasy” – the music of Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). At a time when few women wrote, Hildegard, was known as "Sybil of the Rhine". She produced major works of theology and visionary writings. She used the curative powers of natural objects for healing, and wrote treatises about natural history and medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees and stones. She is the first composer whose biography is known.