the moon rises above the trees at my retreat house
I have discovered many joys living out here in the desert. Every day, from morning until night, I encounter an ever unfolding beauty in this vast exotic place.
While the daytime is awesome out here, nighttime is even better.
After the sun sets, when the moon and stars appear, I am treated daily to the most magnificent "star show" I have ever seen. I sit in my meditation garden or venture out a bit onto the desert trails, and when I look up into the crystal clear heavens, it never fails to take my breath away.
The desert sky at night is untouched by the ambient light of the city. It is pure and pristine. You see stars out in the desert that you have never seen before - the entire cosmos on display.
Growing up I was always in awe of the vast expanse of the "Milky Way Galaxy," but recently I learned that our galaxy is but one of many other galaxies. In fact, there may be an infinite number of galaxies.
Looking up into the gleaming cosmos and imagining an infinite number of galaxies is mind-boggling to me, and it always provokes two very different and yet simultaneous responses in my soul - I feel both infinitesimally small and also incredibly immense.
I look out into the cosmos and I am but a speck in the whole array, and yet I also realize that I am part of it all. A common energy flows in and through each and every little quark and atom in all the infinity of galaxies, everything springs from and is swimming in the primordial ocean of being we call "God."
So I am part of it all and I languish in the enormity of such a revelation.
There is an ancient saying from the Zen tradition, which I have only now come to truly appreciate in my time in the desert:
"The world? Moonlit drops shaken from a crane's bill"
The entire cosmos revealed and present in the simplest and smallest of things - It's incredible!