June 12, 2013

The "Overview Effect"


This morning a friend who I have known for at least 47 years, maybe 48 or more posted a video about the "Overview Effect".

This phenomenon begin with astronauts viewing the earth from space.

I think it might have been Rusty Schweickart who said that, in his first couple of orbits, he would look forward to those cities and parts of earth that he could relate to; Los Angeles; Houston. Before he realized it, he began to look forward to seeing South Africa, the Mediterranean. He could no longer relate only to those limited cities or landmarks, the planet earth itself became home to him. He realized that that "blue marble" floating in the darkness of space was his home, our home.

Edgar Mitchell also had a profound experience. He shared it in an interview regarding the "Overview Effect."  He said, "I realized that the molecules of my body and the molecules of the spacecraft had been manufactured in an ancient generation of stars. It wasn't just intellectual knowledge -- it was a subjective visceral experience accompanied by ecstasy -- a transformational experience."
 

He continues to explain what an impact it had on him. "The experience in space was so powerful that when I got back to Earth I started digging into various literature to try to understand what had happened. I found nothing in science literature or religious literature or doctrines but eventually discovered it in the Sanskrit of ancient India. The descriptions of samadhi, Savikalpa samadhi, were exactly what I felt: it is described as seeing things in their separateness, but experiencing them viscerally as a unity, as oneness, accompanied by ecstasy."

"...seeing things in their separateness, but experiencing them viscerally as a unity, as oneness, accompanied by ecstasy."

Have you ever experienced Savikalpa samadhi? Have there been moments in your life, however fleeting, when you don't only see but experience a sight with all you have, all you are?

 The birth of each of my babies introduced me to Savikalpa samadhi.  I, also, visited that state of being many times. Sometimes in the middle of the night, sitting on the couch, looking at the toys on the floor, blanket forts built around the table, while nursing one of my babies.  I sometimes have that experience when surrounded by my children, their spouses and grandchildren, in the middle of chaos.

At other times while floating on my back in the ocean, a lake or pool of water, looking up at the clouds or maybe sitting on a warm rock at the side of a mountain trail.  Walking through the blossoming almond orchard that I planted. Making love.

I have even experienced it standing at my kitchen sink, washing dishes as I watch my grandbabies splash and swim in the pool.

I have often dreamed of visiting space. The excitement of being strapped into a missle, vibrating with the power to shoot tons of weight out of gravities grasp and into the vacuum of space. To witness the sun surrounded by darkness and not the blue tones of earth's atmosphere, to see our entire planet, the flashes of thunder, the blues of the oceans, the desserts and mountains

As beautiful as that vision is, I would never, ever, trade the fleeting moments of samadhi inspired by being 'in" the world, being a mother and living life rather than observing it.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this one.
    Michael

    ReplyDelete

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