I’m truly blessed to live on Exmoor. It’s been designated the first International ‘Dark Sky Reserve’ in Europe and, come nightfall, the universe puts on a spectacular display. There really is little to beat losing oneself in the firmament on a warm spring or summer evening. I lie on the grass (if I’m feeling energetic I climb up a nearby hill to get that bit closer; if not I settle myself on the lawn) and spent a few minutes feeling myself plugged in to the earth below. Then I let my gaze wander up. There is nothing to put life in perspective like letting one’s mind wander out into space. The petty annoyances of life fade away as you realise you’re lying on the grass, held to this planet by gravity, spinning through the chasms of space, star-surfing.
You might think it would make you feel small and insignificant but somehow exactly the opposite happens. Staring at stars, to my mind, helps us feel connected. We’re not just part of the world, we’re part of the whole universe and, who knows, whatever lies beyond that too. We’re stardust. Literally. Every element in the periodic table is made from stardust – with the sole exception of hydrogen. So physicists reckon that 93 percent of our body mass is made of stars. We are them and they are us.
You don’t have to understand the physics. You don’t have to be any kind of astronomer and you certainly don’t need a telescope. I quite like that I don’t know the names of all the constellations. It leaves me free to see my own patterns; to invent my own names and relationships with these fellow denizens of space. How you do it is entirely up to you.
Of course not everyone has the luxury of living in dark sky country. But that’s no reason not to let yourself be seduced by stars. My yoga teacher often used to end our class with a lovely space meditation – you might like to try it.
Settle yourself in a comfortable seated position with your spine straight. Close your eyes and breathe naturally. Imagine you’re sitting on the highest mountain on Earth – all the world stretches below you. Now you start to rise, up and up, and the world falls away beneath you. The Earth becomes smaller and smaller and finally vanishes altogether. The stars dance around you and you realise you are as much a part of the universe as they are. Then all becomes still. It is warm and dark and you feel safe and supported. Become aware of your breath. As you breathe in say the word ‘Peace’ in your head; as you breathe out, say the word ‘Calm’. Stay like this for as long as you like, just being, just breathing. Then, when you’re ready to return, become aware of the sounds of the world around you. Rub your hands together and place your warmed palms over your eyes. Open your eyes. Welcome back to Earth, starchild!
By the way, if you’d like to live in Dark Sky Reserve country, my wild Boho house (4 beds, bags of character and, of course, an excellent lawn for stargazing) is for sale.
My books The Natural Year and The Energy Secret (both now available for Kindle) have more suggestions for exercises and techniques to help you feel balanced and inspired. Click on the covers below for more information