Stargazing as a therapeutic avocation
We’ve all had times when as a child, we would be questioning about the night sky and the celestial objects with burning curiosity. These topics intrigued me as a child, I remember how I used to ask the adults in my family about the stars, the moon, the planets, the sky. As a part of a regular north Indian family, it was our own ritual during the winters to light a campfire and gather under the night sky and feel it warm our cold hands and body. Me and my siblings used to look up at the pattern of stars and argue whether that pattern forms a bear or a man, and argue whether the moon is headed towards the phase of new moon or full moon. Occasionally we would sight an aeroplane flying right over our heads, we used to find these things so fascinating that we were completely drowned in that very moment and forgot about every other thing.
As we grew up, the hassles, struggles and tensions of every day life consumed us in such a way that we completely forgot that a world beyond us exists, that our existence is a mere part of a larger, stranger and weirder universe. We completely forgot about the night sky we once used to observe so dutifully, we forgot about how magical that moment felt. We are soulfully unaware that something much greater is at work other than the humans and just how magnificent and unknown it is. We might never be able to completely understand the universe but we carry that opportunity to feel a part of something much greater.
A month or so back, I met a friend of mine, and while chit chatting he mentions a hobby of his. He said he loved stargazing, that he goes all the way up to the terrace just to look at the night sky, he mentions how he feels connected to himself and of something more significant. He treats it like his spiritual ritual, to climb to the terrace everyday and to feel to be at peace. I was unaware at that time that I would be experiencing the same sense of calm after a couple of weeks.
I must say I had the most blissful experience and I felt more than ever connected with myself than I ever had. It was the time of the year when winter was transiting to spring, around 11 in the night. I decided it was the perfect time to take a stroll on the terrace. As I went to the terrace I noticed that the cool winter breeze was still present. It was dark as usual, except the faint light from a streetlight around the corner. The moon , waxing gibbous at that time, the three stars which form the belt of the Orion, Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky, and Venus, just as bright and full of beauty. The sight of night sky filled me with peace, that level of relaxation and joy, that can’t be explained in mere words. The awareness about how magical our existence is, filled me with gratitude and unexplainable joy and contentment.
That was the day I realised how the beauty of the night sky can fill up your mind and soul with peace, calm and refresh your spirit. The night sky holds a positive power about itself which can act as healer of negative emotions, feelings and destructive mindsets.
Life in the present times, can be pretty stressful and carries the capacity to leave you feeling dreadful. The constant worrying can crib away a person’s ability to truly feel joy and appreciate the things around us. Person may altogether loose the want to feel joy, may feel detached and overwhelmed. So what kind of impact exactly does this simple hobby of yours can have on you?
1.Sense of Contemplation
Looking up at the night sky tends to fill you up with the most intriguing, thought provoking and unusual thoughts, in turn promoting imaginative and visualization skills which means your right side of the brain, which is responsible for your creative thinking strengthens. And what effect does that have on your daily life? Your problem solving ability improves.
2.Outlook on life
You are looking at the night sky, brimming with stars whose light is reaching the earth after almost about millions of years, even before the human civilisation started existing, its like looking back in time. One of the studies carried out in University of California suggests that it holds the capability to shift one’s perspective in life to an extent that it helps unravel one’s potential to be kinder and more compassionate because it makes us feel diminished.
3.Sense of calm
Gazing at the night sky can have calming effect on your mind, and helps you slow down also helping you with anxiety and depression. How can it help you with anxiety and depression? We can have multiple arguments on it, but mainly, this particular activity can work by reducing the production of stress hormone — the cortisol which may help you in promoting mental clarity and boosting the production of serotonin.
We are all overloaded with work and commitments of daily life that we often forget to appreciate the things that surround us. It works on magnifying the sense of gratitude and amplifying the positive thoughts. And what’s better than effortlessly shifting your thoughts towards positivity. It can act as the corrective towards feelings of narcissism, egocentrism and self pity.
5.Feelings of Awe
Obviously! This is what your first reaction always is whenever you look up to the night sky. Growing body of research shows that experiencing awe can lead to wide range of unexpected benefits as for example generosity, critical thinking and humility.
So now there’s a whole catalogue of benefits that surrounds stargazing and how it can actually be therapeutic for mind and soul, there’s absolutely no reason left for you to not go for a good stargazing spree, and who doesn’t want to be a part of such incriminating activity. It’s important to invest some of the time in yourself and for your betterment, and stargazing may just be the thing you need right now. A pause from the world and a pause for yourself.