It’s largely free of charge and doesn’t take much effort. Just look up, after all. The stars that nightly decorate our skies may be often overlooked. And unless there is some attention-getting eclipse or an oddly-coloured moon, we rarely give it much of our thought. But the sky has more to offer than many of us realise.
Many of us labour under the stresses caused at work or in our home-life. Anxiety is our best friend as we agonise over potential job-loss or a disagreement with a spouse or friend. But did you realise that merely looking through a window or stepping out on a warm summer’s night, we can find relief by simply looking to the stars.
The stars have played a role in our lives for many thousands of years. In particular, astrology has been dated to the 2nd millennium BCE. Since that time, astrologers from numerous origins—including Mesopotamia, ancient Greece, and China—have read the stars. As they do now, they have then been able to give insight and meaning to our lives.
While this search for meaning in the skies above is a clear source of solace for many, the stars offer a far simpler comfort and relief simply by virtue of their presence. For when we gaze up at the stars, we are undeniably in the presence of greatness.
And that’s just it. When we take time to look up into the stars, we can only sigh knowing that we are a part of something far greater than ourselves. Doing so changes our perspective. Suddenly, we feel so insignificant and likewise the problems we may have just spent the day agonising over all similarly seem so small and unimportant in the great scheme of things. Because that “great scheme” is now the universe that’s laid out before us. After all, how can you even just look at the craters of the moon, a planetary body that is, on average, about 384,400 km away, and not be overwhelmed. It’s inconceivable.
Looking upwards brings other benefits. Just simply the act of pausing to gaze means we are being forced to slow our pace. Ever so gently, we may place our eye against the lens of a binoculars or telescope. Then, very still, we turn the mechanism to ensure the best resolution and afterwards, the universe unfolds before us.
The stars have yet other benefits to grant to our mental well-being. Think about when you’re falling asleep or when we step into the shower. It’s at this time when our subconscious mind stretches and awakens. Our creative minds and our rich and eager-to-be-fulfilled imaginations have been locked away. But now they are released. In much the same way, when we look to the stars, the doors open wide for our creativity to emerge. At these times, the troubles that have been dogging our heels incessantly throughout the week are quietened and our imagination is given centre stage.
So, the next time it’s a clear night, take a moment to explore the sky with its abundant scattering of stars. Drink it in, knowing that you are one small part, no less significant, of something immense. Most importantly, be at peace with this knowledge.