There was a lot of hype and most of us thought we knew what the experience would be/should be like. There were the science Geeks who traveled to where it would be a total experience, or who purchased their glasses and planned their viewing spot well in advance. Then there were the curious—those who thought it would be a new and novel way to spend some time on an otherwise boring August workday. Then there were the many who didn’t give it much thought at all, but by the time it was a day or two from occurring, they began to get on board, desperately trying to find safe viewing glasses and thinking about their schedule on the 21st.
No matter which of these groups you fell into, it is unlikely you were prepared, really prepared, for the emotional/spiritual impact of the eclipse experience. One has to wonder—was it the hype, that everyone was talking about and participating in it—or was it something else? Something perhaps more primitive and deep.
Consider this—it was an experience that brought so many people together, into one shared experience of something much greater than ourselves. As we shared this experience we were all one, in the moment—and the everyday, mundane, stressful, and/or unhappy thoughts slipped away—if just for a little bit of time. As we entered that moment we felt at peace, there was a wonder that many of us have not experienced since childhood. And somehow the Universe though distant and expansive, seemed so close and very much a part of our existence. All of our problems suddenly seemed so small, as we ourselves did. The sense of something much greater was all around and in us. This was a perfect in the moment experience—where joy is found, and whatever your beliefs, there is a strong sense that we are not alone in the universe.
I often talk about happiness with my clients—what it is and how we can find more of it. What I always recommend (among other things) is that people seek out experiences that allow them to be in the moment—preferably in nature. Think about it, have you ever felt stressed or sad when walking on a quiet beach, swimming in a clear sea or lake, hiking a mountain trail and/or waking up to a glorious sunrise out in the wilderness? I don’t know about you, but over my life I have ‘collected” those moments, many of them—and they have helped me through some long, dark nights of the soul.
What the eclipse should have taught us is that happiness and joy can be found all around and in us. All we need to do is tune in and stay present, in that lovely moment and experience.