The recent total eclipse on April 8th brought with it a common experience that I have heard described repeatedly since it happened: “It brought me to tears.”

For so many of us, standing still for long enough to notice anything is a rare occasion. And equally as rare, is that when we do get still for a moment, we frequently do our best (whether consciously or not) to insulate ourselves from what is happening.

While this “keep-it-moving” strategy may have initially evolved as some type of survival mechanism, it has become a whole way of life in some cultures including ours. This way of life may keep our to-do lists getting checked, and our tasks accomplished. But eventually the emotional structures we build to make our lives “easy, automated or safe” are the ones that can imprison us.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have heard multiple accounts of what it was like to witness the recent eclipse. People traveled, took vacation days, and changed their entire schedules just to accommodate this occurrence of the Moon passing between the Sun and the Earth.

I happened to be driving from New Jersey to Maryland that day, and although we did notice a dimming of the Sun, it was more or less a non-event in our experience. But in speaking to others, and listening to the descriptions of what it was like to truly witness the blocking of the Sun by the Moon, I couldn’t help but notice the reported common experience of extreme and deep emotion.

Descriptions of the event included words like “connected” and “overwhelming” and “present.” One person said “It felt like time stopped for just a few moments.”

There is no question that when we are reminded of our shared humanity and our place in the aggregate life force, we feel something magnetic. There are literally “feel good” neuro-transmittters like Seratonin that are released by the brain when we experience connection with the greater world around us.

So not to take anything away from the Universe at large, but the tears and connection felt by so many were likely not caused by the Moon blocking the Sun. Instead, my assessment is that the intense feeling of fulfillment and magnetic energy shared by so many, was the result of dropping our passions and our prejudices just long enough to pause.

It is this pausing, this noticing, this existential experiencing of one’s own place in the natural order, that brought those who set aside time for the eclipse to be moved to tears. The emotional wave came not from something external, but rather from our internal alignment with the life force that is our very nature.

We are not political parties, races, economic sectors, ages, genders and animals that are programmed not to feel anything. We are human beings, together. We are not separate. We are not “other.”

And when we touch this reality, even if just long enough for our pulse and breathing to sync with the aggregate heartbeat of life, we notice. Our brains say “Yes! More, more, more please!” Because we are designed to do so. Because it feels good. Because it is our very nature to connect with life in all its splendor. Connection is the “being” part of human being.

But instead of aligning with this natural order, we have a bad habit of making ourselves special. We decide that we are the exception to any number of rules. We have special needs. We have unique considerations. We are high maintenance under the guise of being exclusive.

Having preferences, and dislikes, belonging to certain groups and avoiding others, judging that which we do not understand and even becoming hypocritical, are all facets of figuring out who we want to be in the world. Engaging in life is in this manner, as a human being, is not a problem.

But a problem does arise when we become so spun up in our own identities, agendas and survival strategies that we go from engagement to entanglement and lose sight of the big picture.

And on April 8, 2024 a few humans let the atmospheric space that held the Moon in front of the Sun, surround and permeate their lives, and they became free.

And freedom often leads to tears.

The same miraculous force that creates a total eclipse like the one we just observed, originates from the same magical combination of atoms and chemicals that make up our physical experience. The more we learn how to tap into this alignment, the lighter we become.

We can weave our way in and out of situations including things we seek, things we avoid, things we endeavor to create and problems we want to solve. But we can come to learn that the magic we feel is the result of weaving of space and time together, and not in the rigid ways we make ourselves exceptional by pulling time and space apart.

As we look back at the images of the recent eclipse, let’s see if we can recognize the visual alignment of the Moon and Sun, as the way we feel when we align with life itself. No passions. No prejudices. Just an openness to what is here.

It is only through our openness that space can infiltrate. A closed heart might feel safe, but it cannot serve us well if we can’t open it when we want to.

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