The Particle and The Whole

"Meditation on Orion's Nebula" by Mark R. Turner, colored pencil on paper
As I contemplated the deep space image of the nebula in Orion, I made marks with
colored pencils to help me explore the intricate clouds of dust and gas which
coalesce to make new stars. Get your print of the drawing by clicking HERE.

It seems with our current capacities to observe the vast universe as well as impossibly tiny particles, that people have never before been so aware of our ambiguous status in reality. To the vast universe we are impossibly tiny. To the impossibly tiny particles we are each a universe.

But we gravitate toward a whole that is both greater than us and is our origin. We can awaken, gradually, step-by-step, to the whole we are a particle of. It is not just our nuclear family, our neighborhood, our class, our work community, our school, our religion, our race, our culture, our nation. These are indications, indeed, practice rooms, for the whole we are growing into.

And ancient peoples were not so unaware of this growth just because they did not have telescopes, spaceships, and microscopes. They looked up at the stars and knew they were small, then looked down at the firefly, the blossom, the grain of sand, and knew they were not just “big,” but a part of a great expanse. They left us notes about these things on cave walls and holy scriptures.

When we are oppressed, we tend to feel disconnected from the whole. Of course, this is intentional by many who oppress and so easy to unintentionally treat other members as disconnected from the whole.

When we feel good, we feel in harmony with all things; we have a sense of being in our place, where we fit and are valued; we are home, encompassed in love.

I was appreciating particles around me, myself as one of them and the whole we move in, when I wrote this poem.

O, Love, germinate,
Generate in me,
Love who was before
This place where you dwell
Eternally through
Infinitely changing forms;

You love in the dust
Of nebulae and blowing
In storms on Mars,
Wet mud at the bottom
Of earth oceans,
Sneezing in the noses of Spring;

We cook and taste you,
Speak and write you,
Dance around and fly
You everywhere we can reach,
Mostly unaware, forgetting
After thirteen-billion years;

Awaken glory in these eyes,
The face we seek to realize
You love us every particle
As the whole
Farther than
We yet know.