Consider these three reasons to turn your gaze upward for an eyeful of inspiration.
Posted in , Oct 31, 2019
My favorite Broadway villain of all time is Javert, the foil to the heroic Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Javert may be an uncompassionate man with a rigid sense of morality, but in a moving moment, he sings a song that inspires me every time I look upward at a clear night sky.
He sings of “stars, in their multitude, scarce to be counted, filling the chaos with order and light.” Even this character, with his obsessive nature, knows that the stars in the sky are uncountable, yet organized, stable and ever-present.
In that, he shares an important lesson about the positive power of the night sky—their awe-inspiring vastness can serve as an instant corrective to feelings of narcissism, self-pity and so many other negative feelings. Who can honestly think that life is small and chaotic when looking at those myriad spots of light?
1) It’s Awe-some (Literally)
Awe is an emotional state that psychologists know is healthy and positive. Contemplating something so vast and incomprehensible as a star-filled sky, we feel small in the best possible way, parts of a great and infinite whole.
2) It’s Not All Dark
Stargazing is one of nature’s most concrete reminders that even at times of darkness, light persists. The inky blanket of the night sky is never uniform or monolithic. It is always changing, and it is always flecked with sparkling reminders that light can never be entirely extinguished.
3) It Holds Our Gaze
Just as Javert recognized our inability to quantify the enormity of the night sky, scientists for millennia have engaged in an ever-expanding but never-complete quest to learn about the other planets, stars and galaxies that fill the universe. Looking up at the night sky is a constant reminder that exploring, questioning and searching for knowledge is as eternal as the cosmos itself.
What do you think when you look up at the night sky and contemplate what Javert calls “the sentinels…keeping watch in the night?”