Neuroscientific researchers tell us that it's natural to personify impersonal phenomena. Our brains essentially are hard-wired for a "supersense" which discerns supernatural forces even when there is no evidence for them.
As churchless as I am, and as science-loving as I am, I still find myself talking to the cosmos as if someone could hear me.
(I also talk to our dog as if she could understand me, and when the #1 Oregon Ducks football team was gritting out a 15-13 victory last Saturday, I entreatied the television as if the players could hear me -- even weirder, I'd recorded the game and it was long over!)
No problem. I'm aware of what I'm doing. I simply enjoy verbalizing feelings that spring spontaneously out of psychological depths which I'm not able to fathom.
Tonight our evening dog walk was through the woods and around a neighborhood lake. It was an unusually warm night for mid-November in Oregon, 55 degrees or so. The moon was half full. Even when rainless clouds obscured it, the countryside still was bathed in a mild moon glow.
I could hear geese honking at a nearby wildlife refuge. Lights from houses which ring the lake were reflected in the water like mini-moons. A breeze blew across my face, probably a harbinger of colder weather and rain on the way.
I found myself saying what I often do at such moments.
I have no idea who or what I'm talking to. Nor, of course, whether that entity exists -- whoever or whatever it might be, if it were.
No problem. I realized that I most likely was talking to myself. (There's fairly good philosophical and scientific reasons to argue that I always am, but going down that road would take me too far from the point of this post.)
It just felt right -- almost necessary -- to express my "thank you." The universe, and this world, is amazing. It is. That blows my mind. Along with the fact that I am.
If I was religious, I'd feel that I was thanking God. Now, I simply thank. The big bang. The laws of nature. An alien artificial world simulator. Could be anyone or anything. Or no one and nothing.
No problem. It's the thanking that feels real, not an imaginary thankee.