I was sitting on the couch feeling sick. Suddenly I picked up the book “SkyWatching” and started reading it. I read about how the early philosophers/astronomers Aristotle, Ptolemy then Copernicus, Keepler, and Galileo, each advanced a new understanding of the universe. From thinking of earth as being the center of the universe to the converse, Sun as the center of the universe each of these versions came with their own graphic proof, illustrating the simple yet beautiful answers to their individual inquiries. I was suddenly touched by these astronomers and their bewitching observations of the sky. For some reason, even their inadvertently faulty conclusions about the celestial bodies filled my eyes with tears.
Aristotle believed the Earth was the center of the universe and all the starts were “fixed” around it; Ptolemic even went so far ahead as to present a beautiful intricate model of concentric circles replicating his theory that the earth indeed lay at the center of this circular dimension. Each of these pictures looked like jewels because they represented the awesome human reach for something as vast as the sky and the audacity to claim that sky for posterity. Whether right or wrong these ancient knowledge seekers came alive for me that day through the pages of a forgotten book. As I flipped through them, something as distant as “sky watching,” not even within my remote range of interests, brought me in close touch with these new friends like they had been waiting to tell me their mysteries so I could delve into mysteries of my own: the deep seated blocks within my own physical, emotional and spiritual nature that held answers to my well being and were, equally, baffling. What made me so sickly? What nameless illness did I have? How could I heal myself? All of these questions I could probe without fear, even as the early astronomers probed the puzzles of their sky, our sky: Seek truth; Ask a question; Wonder; Understand; Never give up on the real possibility that a piece of the puzzle will come along leading to more pieces, so long as I trusted the question and believed that, ultimately, the universe would reply.
That is why the book fell in my lap in a perfect, chance moment of discovery. What a relief! I wasn’t alone. I was among friends who had never left; they would always be there because of their brave questions and their daring answers. From the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, to the configuration of sickness and health, I could begin to find my own answers.
If Galileo and others could chart out a course with human hands and human vision, so could I begin to know myself.