The sun, the stars- people used to think it all spun around us. Being at the center of things is flattering, but what appeals to me in such a story is the stillness. Everything else can move, but at least we were firm.
Now not even the sun is the center.
Now there is no center. Ten thousand hula-hoops spin around each other. Even the atoms are whirling. Little gyroscopes spin inside the hula-hoops. It’s all very dizzying.
Where is the still point? Where do we find rest?
Ever since the big bang the whole thing has been moving.
Sometimes it moves like wet sand through our fingertips, each drop building on the last. Accumulation. Hydrogen on top of helium make a star. Dinosaurs on top of dinosaurs make… well I guess more dinosaurs. But eventually they make a rooster.
Sometimes it moves in fits and storms. Revolution. Dinosaurs are swept aside. 99.9% of species go extinct. Ptolemy no longer works and Copernicus steps up. Rome falls.
I’m fascinated by movement because our times feel like acceleration. I’m also fascinated because if all I find is movement, where do I get this curious desire for stillness? Is that an impossible hope?
Cause we too are always moving. Thoughts wash through while emotions ebb and flow. Neurons play hot potato and my intestines grumble.
Sometimes we accumulate. Like groundhog’s day we go on repeat: where is mommy? where is mommy… Other times we’re shaken loose and find a new story to tell.
I’m wary of pulling the wool over my eyes just to find a darkness that feels still. So maybe that’s just it and the postmodern man is right. But the closest thing I can find to stillness is in the direction of movement.
Science moves through puzzles and revolutions but is constant in its pursuit. The aim doesn’t change.
The whole universe is filled with swirling galaxies and atoms but evolution stays constant as a flow towards complexity, life and consciousness.
We build our stillness in relation to our aim. ‘Steady’ is a better word. We can be steady in what we aim for- in our virtues or ideals. Or like the crow foraging for food we are enticed by shiny objects. The challenge is to remain true. Trueness is stillness.
We cannot stop the movement. But we can aim truly.