Small Seeds of Hope: Big Bang...or Big Birth?
With more and more stressors in our lives (fires, hurricanes, the pandemic, elections), directly, or indirectly via the news, I thought it would be a good idea to re-share some of the anti-anxiety "tools" I offered a few months ago. So for the next few weeks (months?) I plan to include a tool at the beginning of each post. Here's the first one.
Horselips. Put your lips together somewhere between tight and loose and go bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb.... like a horse. This is hard to do if you are smiling or laughing, and hard not to laugh if you are doing this. More about it here (scroll down to the picture of the horse). Be silly. Have fun. From Toolkit #1.
Here's a link to the Index of all toolkits.
Big Bang...or Big Birth?
Being a naturally curious person with an interest in spiritual things and a vivid imagination, I like to muse about the nature of existence sometimes. So it's not that surprising that an article on the internet about the origins of the universe caught my attention a couple of weeks ago.
Before I go on, however, let me offer a disclaimer: I've never taken a physics class--never even got as far as a "Physics for Poets" course in college! And mathematically, I have to confess, I am pretty much an infant. So I don't, in fact can't, approach these questions from a mathematical or deductive or scientific perspective. I am coming instead from a place of wonder and awe, and as I said, curiosity and imagination.
Of course you know about the Big Bang theory. (I'm not talking about the TV show!) To quote Space.com,"When the universe was very young — something like a hundredth of a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second (whew!) — it underwent an incredible growth spurt. During this burst of expansion, which is known as inflation, the universe grew exponentially and doubled in size at least 90 times." And the basic idea is that it keeps expanding, albeit a lot more slowly than at the beginning.
If you will forgive me for being just a tiny bit explicit, I have to say that this could be considered a very male view of things. Creation comes in a sudden, huge surge forward which then keeps expanding out.
The new idea I read about--they call it "the big bounce"--describes the possibility of a cyclical universe, one with alternating periods of expansion and contraction.
It was that last word that really got me wondering. Contraction. As many of you know, I was a maternity nurse for several years. I feel so blessed to have had that opportunity to support women, their partners and their babies in the amazing, miraculous, marvelous--and very intense--journey of birth.
So when someone uses the word "contraction" there is only one place my mind goes--to labor and birth. So I started musing...wow, what if the universe is giving birth to itself? What if God is giving birth to the universe? What if this--what we experience right now--is only the first, or tenth or hundredth of many, many, many contractions. (To a birthing mother it might feel like an infinite number!) What if the actual birth is still to come? What if where we are now as a universe is just early labor? What if I am--or the entire earth is--comparable to a single tiny electron in the cosmic baby? Or in the cosmic umbilical cord? Those are mind-blowing ideas. To me, at least.
We see and think about the world, the universe, based on what we know. Of course--how can we not? But there is SO much we don't know. Scientists posit that approximately 68% of the universe is made up of what they call "dark energy" and about 27% of "dark matter"--about which we know next to nothing. That leaves 5% of the universe that is not utterly and hugely mysterious. And within that 5%? There is still so very much that is unknown.
What if it takes a woman's perspective to adjust the basic perspectives we have had? To think, for example, about looking for things in the universe that might resemble birth, like cycles of contraction and expansion. Not that it has to be an "either/or" thing. Why not a "both/and"? Big bang and big birth? Expansion and contraction? Finite and infinite?
So who knows? Imagining possibilities based on what I know and what you know and what others know, things that have not been part of the conversation previously, might open doors to a whole new understanding of existence itself.
These ideas are too big, too intense, too mind-boggling for me to think about for very long--if I did, I think I would lose whatever I do have of that oh-so-helpful groundedness in the present. But I do love to play with the possibilities in my mind. And yes, in my heart and soul as well.
Who knows? Maybe there could be some grain, some electron, of truth in those possibilities.
Until next time,
Here's the article that got me thinking about all this: Big Bounce Simulations Challenge Big Bang Theory.
Mother and child, Sharon McCutcheon, unSplash
Big bang illustration, universetoday.com
Stars and mountain, Stefan Stefancik, unSplash