Each and every day of our lives we are surrounded by constructs and frameworks. Our alarm goes off in the morning and we begrudgingly switch if off. Bleary eyed we rise out of bed, prepare ourselves for work, or whatever routine it is that we have for that day, and head out into the world. We may get the same bus at the same time every morning, seeing some of the same faces that we had witnessed the day before.
We may get to our place of work, surrounded by yet more of the same faces, where we are tasked with something that we have done for so long that it has lost its meaning.
That initial excitement at doing something new, that spark that drives us onwards, it has dimmed beneath a veil of monotony and habit. Before we know it Monday becomes Friday, and we are exhilarated by the prospect of the weekend and the new experiences it may bring.
As much as we hear that routine brings stability, it can also obscure our vision. We take that bus every morning into work, and we think that it is the same as the ride that we took yesterday. There’s even that old woman in the seat at the front with the poorly fitting bobble hat in the middle of summer, and the two school children at the back, blasting music videos on their smart phones. Not again, you tell yourself.
What we forget is that each journey we take is different. The bus ride that we take today, even though it may follow the same road at the same time, is not the ride that we took yesterday. It will not be the ride that we take tomorrow.
This doesn’t just apply to that bus ride, or the train carriage that we’re sitting on. It applies to the entirety of our lives. Every experience that we have is a journey. We are not fixed points in space and time. We are time travellers, moving ever forwards.
For each moment that passes the weight of our experience grows heavier. The person that we are today is not the person that we were yesterday, in much the same way that the bus ride we took yesterday is not the same as the one we will take today.
We are in a state of perpetual flux, ever changing and ever becoming. Yet we often go through this process in a state of doing rather than being and that, in most part, is thanks to common sense.
Our common sense is a very clever trick. Created by our own perceptions and, in turn, our own expectations, of the day to day life within which we exist. Trapped by routines of our own making and our own desires for what we want from our lives.
We are forever chasing the future moments, on an uphill climb, never reaching the peak of the mound. Our eyes are fixed downwards to the ground, our legs heavy from the walk.
Yet if we lift our eyes, upwards, to the heavens, we can see all of the beauty of the firmament. We can give ourselves a totally new perspective. In doing this, we may feel surprise, or awe. We may be filled with inspiration, as we realise that all of this has been above us since the beginning of our climb, only we forgot that it was there.
As a child, we are constantly looking upwards. Dumbstruck by awe, viewing the total universe with the wonder of the first time. As a child, we exist in the moment, unfettered by the past and not caring for the future. We aren’t tied up with making plans, or concerned with the events of tomorrow. There is only the now, and the intensity of truly experiencing life for what it is. Each moment is a world within itself, enrapturing, and compelling.
As we grow into adulthood, we begin to forget. We lose sight of the now and begin to exist in a world that is in front of us, yet forever beyond our reach. That intensity of living that we once experienced fades, as though all of the colour has become bleached by the sun. Our curiosity diminishes and we, in turn, diminish, like pictures on old film stock.
Older still, we grow. We finish school, we start to work, now climbing that hill of our career. And at the end of it all, we are left feeling empty and full of regret. Because we forgot that in grasping at those future moments, we stopped living. Time catches up with us. Our hair greys and our faces wrinkle, and we question who we are. Because we forgot who we were, in our travels through time.
Now, look up. Look at where you are. With whom you’re with, and think on this. Whether or not you believe in God, or Allah, or Buddha, or Fate, it has taken 14 billion years of cosmic chance and circumstance, of stars being born and exploding out of existence, of a universe being formed from nothing, for you to be sitting here, right now, reading this.
You are at the crest of an ever-rising wave of history that will never crash or fall. All of the events that have ever occurred in the time before you have led to this moment, this now, in which you are conscious and alive. That, alone, gives every moment incredible meaning. It makes all of us cosmic poetry.
You are not born into this world, you are born out of it. This is a Universe not of algorithms or formulae, but of colour and light. The true beauty of the world around us comes not from the theories we create to define it, but from our own individual perceptions of what it is.
It tumbles into us through our senses, flows through our mind, and is projected back out again. Reality is our minds looking back on themselves, because each experience that we have shapes the way that we view that reality.
One person may look upon the ocean and feel catharsis, another may feel unsettled at the boundless enormity of it. The words of another can mean one thing to you, and another thing to me. Even the memories that the smell of a rose evokes, it shapes our perception of that rose. We see the world, but our realities are unique. Shaped and interpreted by us, individually.
In this, as much as the Universe creates us, we also create it.