Isn’t television great? There’s so much to contemplate; so much to learn. Take for example the program Deep Space Marvels – Destiny on Discovery Science this evening:
“One day the sun will become a monster.”
(cue dramatic violin music and visuals of scary looking fiery sun images)
“Blah, blah, blah”
(cut to serious looking commentator on hilltop)
“One day the sun will die and we will die with it”
As if we don’t have enough to worry about! Right? We have to start thinking about an eventuality that is, according to all accounts, billions of years in the future? Oh, ugh.
It’s hard enough to stop worrying about how to finish planning all the details for my business’ 5th anniversary party at the end of the month. For years now, I’ve been struggling to bring the focus of my experience into the present moment. After all, I am a natural-born worrier.
In the quest for greater ease of mind, I have discovered that the further out an event is in time, the less I need to concern myself with its details. Retirement? I could really put in some quality worrying time there. Like everyone else in the 99%, we’re nowhere near where the financial “experts” tell us we should be, but what am I going to do about it? Run around the neighborhood waving my arms around and tearing at my hair? All we can do is take each opportunity we have to bring us as close as we can and do our best when the time comes.
With all of these other things competing for my worrying time, do I really need to think about the fact that “seven billion years from now, (dramatic pause) the earth will be gone” What relevance does this have to the question of Right Thought and Right Action at this time? Is there any tangible benefit to asking ourselves, “Can we really survive the death of planet Earth?”
I know what you’re thinking. Mars, right? No dice. According to the program, Mars will provide no permanent refuge because “even there, we could never escape the power of the sun”. It will continue to heat up and as with the former location of Earth “Eventually, the safe zone will leave mars behind as well and with mars gone, we’re dead”. Lovely thought.
Wait. You don’t suppose that Discovery Science is just trying to stoke people’s fears to keep them watching?
Oh…I get it. Duh.
Shows like this are just wonderful fodder for helping a Buddhist get some perspective. After all, the kind of crazy worrying and hyperbole being thrown around isn’t qualitatively different from the worrying we are guilty of every day. Unfortunately, given that the brain is terrible at discerning what is actually happening from what it is thinking, the suffering caused by both is the same.
I’ve decided I can let go of worrying about the death of the sun. The last commercial gave me much more important information to consider. Did you know that “Your indoor air is scientifically proven to be five times more polluted than outdoor air”? (Cue arm-waving and hair pulling)
Now buy the Book!