I don’t know if it’s just me, but there’s something so striking about nature. I remember driving past Mount Meru in Arusha two years back. I was in awe. It was so gigantic and so beautiful. I love the ocean and I love the forest. For me, it’s more than just looking at these physical features. There’s something spiritual about it. It sparks something inside your soul and triggers a sensation of excitement and happiness.
An article on Yoga Journal puts it this way: Using only our preconceived concepts to approach the world can limit our experience and our awareness. Simple concepts can in no way describe the fullness and complexity of any experience or thing, including something as simple as a single, unique maple leaf or mushroom, or something as vast as constellations in the sky.
I have always loved the sky. In fact, growing up that was one of my favourite things about going upcountry. On a good day, the clear skies, low levels of pollution and limited artificial light would pave the way for the stars to be visible in their full glory against the magnificent contrasting blue sky. It reminds me of times when we would just lie down in the grass and stare at the sky for a long period. No distractions and no electronics to pre-occupy our minds. It was a calming sensation. Now, years down the line, how many of us have time to just sit and stare at the sky, or star gaze? The problem is, life is so fast-moving and so busy that it’s hard to ever stop, take a breather, and appreciate the beauty that is around us.
Here are the benefits of stargazing.
- It makes you feel calm
Staring at the sky is like diving into a whole other world. There’s something about the stillness of the sky that makes you feel calm. It’s great for relieving anxiety because at that moment all that matters is what is above. All the chaos that’s been in your head suddenly becomes irrelevant and you focus on the beauty of the sky. I saw somewhere that it’s pretty ironic that you are looking at the stars from a planet that is constantly moving and yet you still get the sense of stillness. Nonetheless, it’s a magical feeling.
- It ignites your creativity
In my opinion, creativity is one of the most powerful tools to have in life. It demands that you step outside of yourself and the norm and view things from a different perspective. But do you ever feel like your creativity has run out? This might be a way to bring it back.
The best ideas come to you when your mind is at peace, for example when you’re almost drifting to sleep or when you are in the shower. The reason for this is that in those moments, your conscious mind quiets down and your subconscious mind can come out to play. This is your ideas factory. The place where your creative spirit can fly. In the same way, staring at the sky silences your mind and thereby ignites your imagination. Maybe the answer to your writer’s block or creativity block lies behind one simple activity: stargazing.
- Stargazing makes you kinder
An article published in the Daily mail proves that star gazing makes you kinder. How is this possible? Researchers have found that feeling a sense of awe promotes altruistic, helpful and positive social behaviour. By diminishing the emphasis on the individual self, awe may encourage people to forgo strict self-interest to improve the welfare of others. It shifts a person’s focus away from their concerns and thereby making them selfless and more concerned about others.
- It can boost your mood
Think about the number of times that you have seen people dancing under the moonlight in movies. There’s a reason for that. Stargazing can help to boost your mood. In an experiment done at the Illinois Wesleyan University participants reported significantly less stress, more positive mood, and stronger awe experiences after viewing night sky scenes than after viewing geometric figures.
Ed Cooke, the Memory Champion and Co-founder of Memrise shares this in the book Tools of Titans: I’d just think, ‘Oh, everything feels terrible and awful. It’s all gone to shit.’ Then I’d consider ‘But if you think about it, the stars are really far away,’ then you try to imagine the world from the stars. Then you sort of zoom in and you’re like, ‘Oh, there’s this tiny little character there for a fragment of time worrying about X.’
Someone once said that adults are deteriorated children, and so every day when I wake up, I choose to remain childlike for as long as I can, and you should too. Sing it with me: Twinkle Twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are.