I’ve been enjoying hearing friends and many more share about their eclipse experiences. What’s really stood out for me (beyond the complete excitement) is the near-universality of the sentiment of how absolutely mind-blowing it is, in a way that surprised each and every one of them. It did not matter how much they knew about it, how much they researched, or even how much prep they did. There, in that moment of totality, in that instant of being present to a world in an eclipse, it defied all manner of expression. It defied, and still defies, description.
There is a (sometimes big) difference between knowing about something, and actually experiencing it.
I’ve heard this shared elsewhere too, around marriage, parenting, warzones, natural disasters, concerts, and more. My own most vivid of these is when I planted my first garden. I knew all about the biology behind plant growth, I understood about planting and watering and that food grows, I’d read accounts of other gardeners. But putting that tiny seed in the soil and then a few months later being confronted with a 6 foot high plant bursting with produce was almost unfathomable. “I didn’t do anything but pour water on it, and yet… blam, look at this!”
These are context-shifting and world-growing moments, a place where our consciousness can expand and we can inhabit more of ourselves and the world. They are times to reflect on that we are never ‘done’, we never ‘know it all’, and we’re never not able to grow. They are a reminder to not take ourselves, and our views, and our certainties, and our supposed knowledge, so darn seriously.
And, verily, they are times for pure, unadulterated wonder and bliss, being present to what’s so, and nothing else.
* Thus too this is why imagination and developing imagination is vital. It may not get us all the way there, but even part way can be powerful…
** And I already have begun plans for travel to see the 2024 eclipse!