Yesterday I mentioned a revelation I had in the desert — a question, really. What is the point of being me?
It had suddenly struck me that I am truly part of the unfolding universe. There I stood baking under the sun, my sweat evaporating into the space around me, my feet solidly on the ground, air flowing in and out of my lungs, connected in dozens of ways to the world and, ultimately, to the universe.
When the universe came into being, creating itself in the big bang, everything that ever would be came into being at the same time. The matter of the universe — stardust, to be romantic — has been connecting and disconnecting, rearranging itself in an infinity of shapes and forms, for billions of years. At one moment of such creativity, I was born. I am of the universe, perpetually a part of it. Although my body seems to be a thing in and of itself, it continues to exchange matter with its surroundings. In a quantum sense, my few electrons are indistinguishable from the whole.
Here I am, a creature born of stardust, at once eternal and ephemeral, physical and psychical, emotional and logical, alive yet forever dying.
Everything that ever happened on earth and in the universe since the beginning has culminated in a single person — me. Everything that happened in my life up till now has created the person I am today. So, what is the point of being me?
This is not a religious question. Nor am I looking for simplistic answers or rehashed dogmas. Instead, it’s more of a credo or a different way of looking at the world and my future. What do I want to do while in this body made of stardust? What do I want to feel? What do I want to think? How do I want to live? How do I keep from wasting the miracle that is me? How do I celebrate this connection to the unfolding universe? What is the life that only I can live? In other words, what is the point of being me?
(You, of course, are the culmination of life up to the point of your birth, but it’s up to you to ask your own questions.)
July 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm
This is exactly why I am known to say (to myself) “I am … I am happy, I am where I should be, I am here.” But I’m also moving to New Brunswick as soon as our house sells!
July 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm
Best of luck on your move! I still can’t tell myself I’m happy, but one of these days, I will try . . .
July 7, 2012 at 10:29 pm
The secret isn’t to wait to be happy to say it.
July 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm
Still, you have to sort of want to believe it, right?
July 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm
I often visit this question, and the answer changes each time I think about it. But it is a wonderful avenue for thought, and you have described it very eloquently. I think the answer lies in deciding what makes us feel most useful, and brings us joy. (if you feel like reading something, you could have a look at books by Cheri Huber. She tackles these questions in a lovely, non-dogmatic way, using imagery from many religions and philosophies.)
July 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm
I’m not really looking to be either useful or joyful, just looking to be. At least I think that’s what I got from the article and the question.
July 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm
I really like this post. We are indeed made of the stars. Why we are here? No one knows. What we do know is that love and compassion can make it all meaningful.
July 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm
I’m not sure I’m looking for meaning. Maybe I’m just hoping to feel a connection to the universe? Maybe tap into the creative powers that are out there? I think it’s also about being in my body while I still have one. Or not. What do I know?
July 26, 2017 at 1:25 pm
“I am a universe of atoms – and an atom in the universe.” – Richard Feynman