Screen Saver

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I was sitting in my favorite chair in front of my computer feeling sorry for myself. I was really sick with a condition that had gone on for more than three months and still I wasn't feeling any better. I had no idea how long my illness might last. Because of how sick I was I had to pack up my apartment where I lived, put everything in storage, and move back across the country to stay with my parents. I had to close down my business and let all of my clients know that I had no idea when or if I would ever be returning.

During this period, I spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to find a solution for what I was going through without success and was nearly broke. I'd just finished one of those weeks where everything seemed to go wrong. Now it was the end of another long, hard, lousy day and it seemed as if my life was at a point where I could safely say that it had nearly completely fallen apart. No health, no job, no money, no end in sight. Finally, I hung up the phone to more bad news, and in utter exasperation I said, "God, life sucks."

At that exact moment the screensaver on my computer turned on. It displayed a beautiful series of images from space. Galaxies, stars, and planets with moons slowly rolled by in a procession of heavenly bodies. The last image was of planet Earth. As I sat in my chair feeling despondent and lonely, angry and frustrated, I realized that I was also literally sitting right in the middle of a Universe that was Infinite.

I imagined my awareness expanding out beyond my body and the chair I was sitting in, beyond the room, the house, the neighborhood, the state, the nation, even the planet. I let my awareness continue to spread out well beyond the solar system, the Milky Way, the sea of billions of galaxies, and into the infinite void of space that is the Universe. Suddenly, I didn't feel so alone. In fact, a certain tranquility washed over me and in a strange way I felt held.

I realized that I was truly part of something extraordinary, the Infinite. While I was infinitesimally small in the great expanse of the Universe, I was still part of it. Not only that, I was genuinely unique. There had never been one of me before and there would never be another one of me again. I was literally a once-in-a-lifetime being, and the truth that I could be so minute yet still play a part, however briefly, in something so grand seemed like a gift that I could hardly contain. And it didn't, at least not for long. The blissful feeling of epiphany soon passed, but it had already washed away all the selfish little emotions that I had been having and replaced them with a sense of peace and humility that was profound.

I remembered that Albert Einstein once said, "I think the most important question facing humanity is, 'Is the universe a friendly place?' This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves."

I recognized that until that moment I had been seeing the Universe as an unfriendly place. I had been entirely focused on the ‘negative' experiences I was going through. At this time in my life I may not have good health, or my own apartment, or a job, or any money, but surely these were all things that in time I could regain. In the meantime, I could stay focused on the abundance I did have and had been neglecting to honor.

I had forgotten all about the entire universe of blessings I was receiving in every moment. Especially, the greatest blessing of all, my life. I was alive, I was breathing, I was in a safe and comfortable place with a roof over my head, food in my stomach, clothes on my back, and surrounded by family who loved and cared for me. They even prayed on my behalf daily.

When times are tough and things are ‘bad', we have a tendency to focus on what's not ‘right', on what we don't have. If we can expand our awareness outward to include all that we do have it shifts our attention to a more balanced and positive perspective, and makes it far easier to deal with the challenges at hand.

No matter how hard things may seem in life, remember, the Universe is a friendly place.

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