I passed by a window on my way to meditating this morning. Outside, a barely visible swirl barely caught my eye. Gnats, merrily gnatting in a swarm above and around the rhododendrons. Newly born, I assume. Exploring a cold new world where their life likely is measured in days, maybe hours.
Each little gnat was flying around doing what it knew how to do: not much. Each little gnat was experiencing what it was able to experience: not much. And there I was looking through the window at them, doing what I knew how to do and experiencing what I was able to experience: how much? This was the gnawing gnat-inspired question that kept me standing there.
I couldn’t stop looking at the gnats (or whatever they were in entomological reality; “gnats” captures their poetic essence). They were in their world. I was in mine. How much difference was there between us?
I was on my way to the cherished unused tiled shower that I have made into my meditation den. There I would read one of my books about the probable nature of the physical universe, or the less probable nature of the spiritual universe, before trying to dive into the depths of my mind and get to the bottom of all this. Seemingly, I am so much more than a gnat! I can read; I can think; I can ponder who I am and what surrounds me.
I pondered that, for sure, there are some two hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy. For sure, there are some one hundred billion galaxies in the known universe. Likely, many more galaxies, many more universes. I am one person on one planet orbiting one star. I looked out the window at the gnats. I felt like a gnat.
I pondered that I live in a universe some fourteen billion years old. It probably will exist for hundreds of billions of years more. It may be eternal. Almost certainly existence is, or there wouldn’t be any place for a universe to come into existence. The utmost reality of time and space is on a scale beyond my comprehension. I am 56 years old. I felt like a gnat.
It was a good feeling, once I started to settle into my gnatness. The gnats looked carefree. They were busy, busy, busy, flying around in what looked like circles, but might well have had some gnat-purpose in their gnat-consciousnesses. They didn’t know what the heck everything was all about. I didn’t either. No matter. We were all part of a cosmos so inconceivable, it was a privilege just to be a part inconceiving of it.
I went on to meditate. Yet I knew that I already had.