Mental Health Tip From Space
We Are 99.9% Nothing - How feeling into the space in our cells can improve our mental health
A few years ago in an interview I mentioned that I cherish the teachings of Eckhart Tolle so much that my friends refer to Eckhart as my boyfriend. The interviewer asked, “Have you ever met Eckhart?” I said, “No, I’ve not met any of my boyfriends.” (I’m a pretty charming interviewee.)
Scroll my Youtube history and you’ll see the only thing I’ve searched more than “Eckhart Tolle” is “Facts about the universe”. Because of that, I loved listening to Eckhart describe the distance between us and the Andromeda Galaxy–(our closest neighbor) in a way that really captures the vastness of space. Eckhart said that if we were to travel at a speed that would get us from earth to the moon in a single second, we would have to travel that fast for 2.3 million years to reach Andromeda.
The only time I’d heard the size of the universe described in a way that wowed me more was when I learned there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on earth. It’s hard to wrap my mind around that fact. When I can’t wrap my mind around something, I try to wrap my heart around it. But even my heart struggles to conceive of that kind of grandness. Especially when considering how long it would take to travel from one grain of galactic sand to another.
I doubt there’s a fact that has made it into more poems than the fact that humans are made of stars. Pretty cool. But even cooler than that, I think, is the fact that we are, like the universe, made mostly of space. We are 99.9 percent nothing. Each atom that makes us is almost entirely space, spare the nucleus dancing like a single touchable planet in the vast expanse of the night sky.
I didn’t learn that fact in a high-school science class or on Youtube. I learned it in therapy. Meditating on the space in our bodies calms anxiety and quiets our racing minds. For over a decade I’ve returned to this practice in challenging moments. It always shifts my lens towards feeling, really feeling, what is possible— instead of obsessing about what my mind tries to convince me isn’t.
Give it a try sometimes when anxious, depressed, or in pain. Feel into your hand. Focus on the fact that your hand is made up of 99.9 percent more space than matter. After, feel into your heart and do the same. If you try this for five or ten minutes when your heart is heavy, you may, like me, notice your heart immediately begin to lighten. I’ve even had days that I’ve rocketed from a deeply depressed state to pure joy when touching into the knowing every cell that makes me is infinitely more open than closed. Every atom of who we are has its arms thrown open to life.
Though physical or emotional pain tries to convince us otherwise, our bodies are not crowded subways, packed to the brim. They are more like wide open pastures. For me, understanding this, has allowed far more beauty to bloom. I hope the same proves true for you.
Love, Andrea 🖤