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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Astronauts' spiritual accounts...

I think to travel in outer space and the earth looks like a little thumbprint you can't help but be in awe of our creation. I did a little digging on the internet to find out what astronauts think of God and life now that they had this opportunity to experience the vastness of the universe and what an impact it made on them. To be an astronaut you have to study science and most of us know scientist don't readily believe in God.

Russell Schweickart went to outer space in March of 1969. The word he used to describe the emotions I think is just so apt. “From where you see it, the thing is a whole, the earth is a whole, and it's so beautiful. You wish you could take a person in each hand, one from each side in the various conflicts, and say, "Look. Look at it from this perspective. Look at that. What's important?" If you have seen the magnitude of creation you can’t help but feel different about it. And you realize that on that small spot, that little blue and white thing, is everything that means anything to you - all love, tears, joy, games, all of it on that little spot out there that you can cover with your thumb.

And you realize from that perspective that you've changed, that there's something new there, that the relationship is no longer what it was. That's something new. And when you come back there's a difference in that world now. There's a difference in that relationship between you and that planet, and you and all those other forms of life on that planet, because you've had that kind of experience. It's a difference and it's so precious.

Archibald Macleish wrote that somehow things rather suddenly have changed, and we no longer see ourselves in the same way that we saw ourselves before. We see "the Earth now as it truly is, bright and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats," and "men and women as riders on the Earth together, on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold, brothers and sisters who know now that they are truly brothers and sisters."

Frank Borman was commander of the first space crew to travel beyond the Earth's orbit. Looking down on the earth from 250,000 miles away, Borman radioed back a message, quoting Genesis 1: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." As he later explained, "I had an enormous feeling that there had to be a power greater than any of us—that there was a God, that there was indeed a beginning."
 James Irwin, who walked on the moon in 1971, later became an evangelical minister. He often described the lunar mission as a revelation. In his words, "I felt the power of God as I'd never felt it before." "The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away, it diminished in size. Finally, it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful you can imagine, that beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart … seeing this has to change a man." 
Astronaut Gene Cernan, who made the last moon landing in 1972, said he became a believer in the idea of a greater power after travelling to outer space. "I felt that the world was just too beautiful to have happened by accident. There has to be something bigger than you and bigger than me. "And I mean this in a spiritual sense, not a religious sense. There has to be a creator of the universe who stands above the religions that we ourselves create to govern our lives."
Alan Bean, the Apollo 12 moonwalker who later became a full-time painter, said the moon missions gave the astronauts the courage to live their lives the way they'd always wanted to live them. "I remember thinking in lunar orbit, that if I got back from this, I was going to live my life differently, in that I was going to try to live it like I want to live it, mostly it made me have a lot of courage to do what I wanted to do and be happy about it. That’s one thing that really allowed me to be an artist. I probably wouldn't have had the courage to be an artist. It doesn't change you, it reveals who you are," he said.
Edgar Mitchell said there was a vague feeling that something was different. That my life had gotten very disturbing, very distressing at a subconscious level. What I do remember is the awesome experience [on the trip back from the moon] of recognizing the universe was not simply random happenstance. That there was something more operating than just chance and in 1974 he said that he has assiduously spent the last fifteen years figuring out what was true."
Blessed Be and Namaste, we are fortunate to have this human experience and should make the absolute best of it!!