I’ve come across the number, Seven Trillion, in several unrelated areas recently. It’s been used to guestimate the number of stars in the universe, the number of cells in the human body and the number of species that might eventually and conceivably be ‘discovered’ on this planet. Seven Trillion. What a curious number to land on…in the land of infinite numbers, I mean.
I’m not suggesting that anything conspiratorial or sinister or coincidental is afoot with the use of the same number. It’s just funny in a “makes you wanna go ‘uumm'” sort of way.
It’s a big number. It’s bigger than I can imagine or wrap my head around. It’s big in the same manner that a billion times a second is fast. Only bigger.
My mind is humbled and quieted when faced with the true scale of such numbers. There are lots of other numbers to gawk at…grains of sand in the world, snowflakes in a blizzard, water molecules in a single drop of water…but, there is a particular number that seems to mesmerize and stick to us the most.
We totally get hung up on the number One.
Like it’s not enough. Like it doesn’t matter. Like if we aren’t THE one, then we’re NO one.
Before I get further along, though, imagine a star being a star and complaining that it was only one of seven trillion, so that being a star couldn’t really be that special. And imagine further that it was our sun, (that same source of light, warmth and energy that has fueled our very existence) feeling useless and insignificant…one in seven trillion, and wondering, what’s the point? A despondent star waiting to implode.
We have no scale for such imaginings. For us to try picture the whole of the planet earth as a living organism is like a single red blood cell imagining a person. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. It’s simply that we can’t imagine it.
And for us, as individuals, to be simply a part of, one amongst other ones, rather than the head of, the most important aspect of, the indispensable element of…is too deflating to our sense of self to accept. And so we suffer.
When I say, ‘to simply be a part of’, I am not saying to blend in, to go along or to be homogenous. I am saying that as we discover, develop and grow into ourselves, we do so most effectively and beneficially through seeking to connect genuinely with others and not by separating ourselves from them.
Our need to be ourselves isn’t what causes our misery. Our need to stand above, to be more special, to be more of anything rather than to be honestly the One who we are is what causes suffering.
Being honest and true to ourselves is joyful. Doing our best is not about comparing ourselves. It is about honoring ourselves. My best today has nothing to do with what I may have been able to do in the past…or even yesterday.
And it certainly has nothing to do with what anyone else is doing.