Perhaps you’ve seen the poster. It’s the Milky Way, in all its glory, with an arrow pointing to the middle that says, “You Are Here.” Suddenly, all our worries and anxieties seem pretty small. And this is just one galaxy.
If the picture makes you feel insignificant, here’s the good part. So is everyone else. There are no winners and losers in the vastness of space. There is no one better or prettier or more successful than you. We’re all actually pretty darn lucky to just be here at all, with our fantastic ability to see and understand.
When you are trying to beat depression, other people’s successes may not make you jealous so much as they make you feel you’ve missed some sort of target. That you don’t quite measure up.
But from the perspective of the universe, what is there to measure up to? From the distance of light years, what do our achievements mean? Maybe our imagined failures lose their importance compared to the magnitude of this enormous scheme of galaxies and empty space.
I’m not a gambler, so I know nothing about betting on the odds. But I do know that the odds of being alive on one small planet in this immeasurable expanse of the cosmos are a gazillion to one. Just being alive means we’ve won against odds that are truly astronomical.
Try Meditating on the Universe Itself
Contemplating the immensity of the universe can be as soothing as a form of meditation. Almost ageless and endless, the universe runs in perfect harmony, and is here for us all to see. If we can allow ourselves to feel a part of that harmony, we can release our depression into the vastness. If we accept that our part is no greater or smaller than anyone else’s, we can simply be.
All the great traditions have told us that what is important is not about storing up treasures on earth. The cosmos is not keeping score about how much we achieve. But we can still follow its example of harmony, by living in harmony in the time we have.
If you are depressed from feelings of failure, think what you achieve when you show love or kindness. If you are stressed from too much to do, think how much your actions may have meant to someone who needed you.
Let your self-criticism go. The universe is not counting on you to hold up the stars. If there is anything you want to ask forgiveness for, ask and then release it. Imagine all your mistakes simply being absorbed into the limitless beyond.
Think about those you love, and how precious it is to have them in your life. Think about how lucky you all are to be in this adventure together, and a part of this grand design.
Thinking about the universe can help us realize what a gift it is to simply be here. It might also help you beat depression, if you can just accept the gift and be glad to be alive.