Equinox full moon rising behind the haze in New Mexico.
Photo by my friend Trudie Barreras. Used by permisson.
On this week’s 50th anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing, I invite us to consider, what are we—you and I—putting “out there” in the universe?
Week before last Wade and I were fascinated watching The Farthest, a documentary about Voyager I and II, still travelling through interstellar space with a “golden record” intended to depict earth and its inhabitants to extraterrestrial sentient beings. It’s amazingly diverse—amazing given the seeming narrowness of our vision these days. It includes audio greetings in more than 50 languages, a variety of musical offerings, and pictures of numerous plants, animals, places and actions to give the recipient a sense of life on Earth.
And I thought of each of us, what would our golden records be? What would we put out into the universe to represent our individual and communal lives? How would we summarize our life experience in images and words, tastes and aromas, touches and sounds, thoughts and feelings?
I considered St. Ignatius’s self Examen as a possible process to choose what best represents our individual experiences and choices, particularly Jesuit Anthony de Mello’s accessible Testament. Briefer still is my adaptation of his effort for a contemplative retreat, which I share with you in hopes you find these prompts useful in articulating what might be on your golden record:
1.These experiences I have cherished:
2.These ideas have brought me liberation:
3.These beliefs I have outgrown:
4.These convictions I have lived by:
5.These are the things I have lived for:
Numbers 1 and 5 could include images as well as words, though, with a little imagination, images could be included in any category. For example, liberation could have been felt hang-gliding, and conviction could have been the result of a baby’s smile. Outgrown beliefs could be pictured in a stack of books.
Another thought that came to me is that personally, my whole life could be summed up in the mantra that Jesus spoke to Lazarus: “Come out!” Come out of the closet, come to life, come out of your fear, come out of other’s expectations and even your own, come out of shame, come out of “resting in peace,” come out of isolationism, come out of narrow concepts and beliefs, come out and join the party, help the neighbor, enjoy abundant life!
So what is your life’s mantra(s)? And what are the contents of your golden record that you are putting out to the universe?
Only a handful of us may land on the moon. More vitally, all of us have landed on this oasis named Earth. So the question is, to what purpose, to what pleasure, to what hope, to what love?
The link on The Farthest is to the original trailer on PBS. For info on its present venue on Netflix, go to: https://www.netflix.com/title/80204377. It is also available on Amazon Prime. (I receive no remuneration for these links!)
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Copyright © 2019 by Chris R. Glaser. Permission granted for non-profit use with attribution of author and blogsite. Other rights reserved. Photo copyright © 2019 by Trudie Barreras.