My daughter wanted a telescope for Christmas. It was caught in the slow mail and she patiently checked for boxes every day. When it finally arrived, the whole family bundled up and trooped outside. It was literally freezing, but there we all were, waiting for turns to look through this child-sized telescope.
It became evident pretty quickly that our imaginations were way beyond what was possible to see. At first I thought it must be the telescope: too small, not powerful enough. But then I remembered that in Galileo’s time, telescopes were prolific. Common people could buy them and take a close look at the moon.
Yet, here we were, with likely a much more powerful home telescope than in the 1600’s – and we couldn’t see anything.
So on the third Friday of January, my husband and I took our daughter to the public night at UVA observatory. We looked through a much stronger telescope (designed in the 1800s). The guide said they no longer use this powerful telescope because the light pollution has gotten so bad.
I grew up in NYC, where we already had serious light pollution issues. The first time I saw the milky way was in Africa. I will never forget that night. Driving into the middle of a preserve in Kenya, turning out the lights and looking up through the roofless jeep at the most breath taking view of the universe – so much bigger than all of us. It was like god put an ocean of stars in the sky. I felt so small and yet so integral. I thought,”Oh, the milky way is only on this side of the earth. It must be invisible to the northern hemisphere.”
Little did I know then that our northern night lights point upwards and fill the sky, making it impossible to see the milky way. The starry ocean is hidden behind clouds of light.
I always thought this was an unsolvable problem, but in actuality there is a simple solution: create lighting which points at the ground instead of at the sky. This high efficiency lighting is built with shielding so the light can meet all our needs, creating less need for electricity and less light pollution.
If we make some small changes around our homes and office, then when our children could look up at the sky, they would see a truly awe-inspiring sight, in all its brilliance.
What does this have to do with the Three Principles? Well it is surprisingly simple. When you wake up from the committee in your head telling you what you should do and how you should do it, suddenly there is a deep well of wisdom, which, it turns out, is always present, and available to everyone, and surprisingly simple.
For me, there is a simple solution, make the changes I can make and share the simplicity of wisdom with others.
Inner Wisdom? Now that is something worth following!
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