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Tag Archives: connectedness

The Profound Interconnection of Life – An Astronaut’s Perspective

the overview effect

In 1968, we went to the moon for the first time.  Mankind was eager to explore the surface of the moon, the stars and space.  But as it turns out, seeing the moon and stars up close was only half the reason to go.

For everyone watching – from the astronauts to the TV audience – seeing the Earth from a distance, dangling in space was perhaps the most important, monumental collective event that humanity had experienced.

This short film by Planetary Collective documents astronauts’ life-changing stories of seeing the Earth from the outside – a perspective-altering experience often described as the “Overview Effect.”

When you see our planet from a distance, just hanging there in space, that changes your perspective completely. The earth is one system, and you realize that we are all part of that system, and that there is a unity or coherence to it all.

The Overview Effect, first described by author Frank White in 1987, is an experience that transforms astronauts’ perspective of the planet and mankind’s place upon it. Common features of the experience are a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.

Edgar Mitchell, one of the Apollo 14 astronauts appears in the film.  Because of his profound experience in going to space, he founded the The Institute of Noetic Sciences and has dedicated his life to “supporting individual and collective transformation… through consciousness research, and engaging a global learning community in the realization of our human potential.”

Watch full screen here :  OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.


We’ll leave you with two striking thoughts:

First, many wisdom traditions, from the Mayans to Native Americans and early Christianity have pointed to this interconnectedness (here called “overview effect”)  the unity, this oneness of all life was the way of life.  Today, we operate from a sense or feeling of separation in Western cultures. Yet this modern thinking is the exception.  In other cultures from the past and even in modern Eastern cultures, it has always been realized that the individual self, and the species as a whole, and all of life on this planet, are completely interconnected.

And lastly, seeing the Earth’s atmosphere from space reminds us that the fragility of our planet is supremely striking. This is an epic moment for our species to be reminded that we live on the most incredible, interconnected, pulsating, living, breathing planet – Earth; and we must take care of her.


It’s a basic understanding of who we are that is at stake.


This short film is a true gift for our time. Do you agree?


About: ‘Overview’ is a short film that explores this phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect. The film also features insights from commentators and thinkers on the wider implications and importance of this understanding for society, and our relationship to the environment. ‘Overview’ is a stand-alone short film, but also serves a prelude to Planetary Collective’s forthcoming feature documentary ‘Continuum’, due for release in 2013.


If you loved this as much as us, you’ll also enjoy this animated tribute to Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot.”


This article is dedicated to David Freeman, friend, neighbor, author and true alchemist who would have celebrated 52 trips around the sun today. Dave, let’s talk about this.

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Life Doesn’t Get Better by Chance: It Gets Better by Change

Accepting change requires letting go of how we think things should be, embracing what we have, and trusting that we will understand why change happens. Start by learning to accept the things we cannot change, changing the things we can, and having the wisdom to know the difference. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

We can all use more serenity in our lives, whether we pray for it or seek ways to create it from the inside out. Acceptance lightens us up by shifting those all too familiar and pesky heart-heavy feelings of resistance, and transmuting them into clarity and direction, time and time again.

Change isn’t all bad though. If you’re unemployed, and a job you’ve wanted becomes yours then change is more than welcome, isn’t it? Accepting change also triggers a series of realizations that one might not have been able to grasp without first accepting change, or life as it may be. If you’re wondering, how do we know when we are resisting change? Check in with your heart. Just as the heart sends good vibes and lets us know when we’re right on track, feelings of resistance weighs like a pressurized knot in the heart.

Vibrational cues are sent throughout our body to let us know whether consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously there are misaligned energies to pay attention to and release. If you are in a constant state of physical, mental or emotional dis-ease then you need to LISTEN UP. Your body never lies, but at times the mind can either be misleading or unable to grasp the actual energies, or undercurrent of energies, at work, so always check-in with your internal compass, your center, your heart, for the truth.

Practicing acceptance is a mindful exercise, and depending on what needs to be accepted or let go of, it can be downright elusive when we want to accept change the most. These six steps can help with accepting change peacefully:

1. Pause. Accept. Now, Be in the Moment.

It’s true, we’ve all thought about how we could’ve made different choices leading up to those tough times – but we had to have been operating altogether with a different awareness in order to do so. This means the frequency from which we were functioning in that moment had to be different. Knowing this now, do you feel more accepting of your past and present? If you notice a heightened shift in perspective, then the energy of your thoughts is shifting, opening your heart, subsiding your negative ego (while strengthening your positive ego) and tapping into a higher consciousness where acceptance and better choices are more accessible right in this very moment. Stick with it.

2. Acknowledge That Big ‘Ol Ego.

Undesirable change can be unsettling, especially when it involves matters of the heart. However, the uneasiness needn’t last for long. Once you experience acceptance, there is an undeniable energetic shift in your heart as much as a cerebral shift in perspective. It’s natural to feel pain but we needn’t suffer through it, unless masochism is your thing (totally cool if it is, no judgment here). Just realize that any kind of emotional and mental suffering is a function of major resistance to change that only our injured ego and heart can perform so well.

But, wait…there is relief! You see, the opposite is true too. Embracing change will bring you to a state of balance and upliftment. Be mindful and learn to identify the interconnectedness of the ego, its relationship to change and how this interplay mutes or expands the heart. Identifying this releases us and gives us the internal freedom that only we can initiate and cultivate, if we choose.

3. Live Honestly. Learn to Let Go.

Let’s not kid ourselves, mastering the art of acceptance is a constant work in progress that requires an honest inventory of the current status quo and making iterative improvements to better handle life’s ups and downs with strength and grace. The beauty is, once we’ve spent some time identifying and releasing what no longer serves us, we never lose sight of what we can achieve and what we’ve learned. Consider this the “Art of Getting Unstuck”. It’s a muddy process but well worth the effort once we clean ourselves up, begin to see the forest beyond the trees and live mindfully again.

4. Give Away What You Most Want.

Acceptance can be a difficult lesson to learn, especially if we have unresolved issues from childhood, such as consistently being faced with not being accepted one way or another: either by our parents, peers, or anyone who played a meaningful and crucial role in our young lives. However, the experiences we want the most – acceptance, patience, understanding, love, etc. – are the ones we must put into practice by freely giving these acts of kindness to ourselves and then others (practice makes perfect), especially during times of adversity. Easier said than done, initially, but never impossible.

5. Allow Your Character to Prevail.

As we strive to be more authentic and accepting of ourselves, people, events or circumstances, our true caliber comes into play when faced with elements we either wish to prevail or learn to embrace. The mind is a powerful, powerful tool – don’t let it mislead you. Your (re)actions should always serve to enhance your life not drain you of vitality. Be mindful of your disposition in every situation and stand in your power. If the temptation arises to close your heart and build a great energetic wall of China around yourself (I’ve been there many times, my karmic passport can show you the stamps), opt instead for this exercise: silently repeat the word ‘acceptance.’ You’ll be amazed how it instantly shifts you right to the center of your heart, the safe zone. Take flight from there!

6. Don’t Be a Turkey, Cultivate Thanks Giving.

If you haven’t been able to accept change by giving thanks for past experiences and the people involved, then the growth or realization that is required to learn and move on (ie, detach) from those experiences has yet to fully culminate the valuable lesson it brought. This leaves within you an unidentified aspect of yourself that you either aren’t aware of, don’t like, or have yet to fully understand. Understanding comes with realizing your world is 100% a reflection of you, a mirror aspect, in order to accept the deeper truths about who you are. Who you are beyond the limitations of pain and suffering is absolutely more gorgeous than any “Photoshopped” image, more powerful than all the currency in the world and more lovable than Boo the cutest dog in the galaxy (and he’s terribly cute, it’s unreal).

Change can be welcomed or unwelcomed as any experience that we had not hoped for, planned for, or somehow requires us to alter our life as we know it. If I’ve learned anything from accepting change by now it is that my inner life has greatly improved following change. If you’re seeing the same manure on different days, then freedom comes when we, at very least, recognize that patterns of self-defeating behavior do indeed repeat for our enlightenment until the message clicks and we move on.

Often times, we break patterns through repetition to align us with our true or empowered self and the life we’re meant to live. Change also serves as an exercise to make us resilient – not resistant – to it. So, the next time someone asks, “Got change?”, say ”Yes” and give them change with the consciousness that what you are gifting will indeed initiate positive change in both of your lives. If you can remember to do this consciously, then on some level you’ve accepted change as a multifaceted opportunity to create even more freedom and deeper happiness in all areas of your life. Wishing you peace of mind and heart on your journey!

These are some excellent tools to help accept change and manage stress with ease:

  • Meditation
  • Truth and Higher Teachings
  • Open Mindset: Positive, realistic and honest with an attitude of gratitude.
  • Breathing: correct and conscious.
  • Learning and Reading: Educate and entertain the ego through insight from “out there” [hello article]; eventually the insight gained will facilitate a shift at the core of who you are making you rely more on your inner wisdom.
  • Physical Activity and Music: separate or together, depending on how you feel!


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We Are All Made of Stars

Check out this mind-blowing, heart-bursting, video of the beauty of the Earth and our Universe as you’ve never seen it.

Every image in this video comes from picture frames taken by the International Space Station, courtesy of NASA.  It shows the immensity of the universe, and the utter magic of connectedness in everything. It would be easy to look at this and feel that we are but a speck lost in space . After all, our sun is just one of 50 billion stars in the galaxy and there are billions of galaxies.  Still,  rather than feeling separation, the video brings an absurdly wonderful sense of celebration and a feeling of kinship:  Because stars exist, we exist. The processes that created those billions of unimaginably distant galaxies also created us.


The Earth as You’ve Never Seen it Before: Atmosphere, Airglow and Aurora from AJRCLIPS on Vimeo.

You and I are not merely separated from the galaxies by unimaginable immensities of space, we are connected to them by unimaginable immensities of time. We are literally made from stars. We are their descendants. The only difference between us and stars is time.  The scientific fact is that the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our bodies, as well as atoms of all other heavy elements, were created in previous generations of stars over 4.5 billion years ago.  Because humans and every other animal — as well as most of the matter on Earth — contain these elements, we are literally made of star stuff.

From Physics Central:
Every element in the periodic table (aside from hydrogen) is essentially stardust…but how much of our body is made up of this stardust? Since stardust atoms are the heavier elements, the percentage of star mass in our body is much more impressive. Most of the hydrogen in our body floats around in the form of water. The human body is about 60% water and hydrogen only accounts for 11% of that water mass. Even though water consists of two hydrogen atoms for every oxygen, hydrogen has much less mass. So, we can conclude that 93% of the mass in our body is stardust.

You know this, right?  It’s been popularized in the media, but in case you’ve missed it, here are our three favorite references:

1) At Woodstock, Joni Mitchell famously sang about this in a song aptly titled “We are stardust.”

     ”Billion year old carbon.
     We are golden..
     Caught in the devil’s bargain
     And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

2) In 2002, music artist Moby released “We Are All Made of Stars,” explaining during a press interview that his lyrics were inspired by quantum physics. “On a basic quantum level, all the matter in the universe is essentially made up of stardust,” he said.

3) In the early 1980s, astronomer Carl Sagan hosted and narrated a 13-part television series called “Cosmos” that aired on PBS. On the show Sagan, thoroughly explained many science-related topics, including Earth’s history, evolution, the origin of life and the solar system.

“We are a way for the universe to know itself. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff,” Sagan famously stated in one episode.

Just think, long ago someone may have wished upon a star that you are made of.

How does this video make you feel? Did we miss any popular references to this theory? Tell us!



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Sunburst Online


You are invited to be a part of the Sunburst experience! Nurture your body, mind and spirit with soul-awakening teachings. Enjoy meditation services, workshops, retreats and events at Sunburst Sanctuary, set amidst abundant natural beauty and cared for by a cooperative community.

May it support your quest for a deeper sense of connectedness and fulfillment in your life.

Sunburst is dedicated to personal and planetary awakening and transformation through spiritual practice, conscious living and sustainable Earth stewardship. Our purpose is to nurture each seeker’s direct experience of the divine. This is Self-realization! We are cooperative communities of men, women and children and a global intentional fellowship. Our endeavors include organic gardening and farming and a Sanctuary dedicated to higher learning and conscious living. Founded in 1969, our universal teachings are based upon the message of founder Norman Paulsen and his teacher Paramahansa Yogananda. Explore our site – discover soul-awakening teachings. Visit Sunburst Sanctuary, set amidst abundant natural beauty and cared for by a cooperative community. Enjoy the friendship of like-minded souls; partake in meditation services, retreats, workshops and events. Welcome!

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