Nope, this is not yet another conspiracy theory on secret alien moon bases, fake moon landings and other fairy tales. This is real.
This is about an essential discovery that involves and concerns us all.
And, just like the astronauts who went into outer space, it may not be what you expect.
The astronauts, when they went to the moon and looked back at that tiny blue sphere we call planet Earth, were shocked.
The discovery of heaven
It wasn’t just the sight of this amazingly beautiful blue oasis out in the middle of nothingness that struck them with awe.
Sure, looking out of their small spaceship windows gazing upon our planet from space they realized how delicate and vulnerable our planet is. This feeling however went beyond esthetics and appreciation.
What truly struck them is the realization of the miracle that our heavenly spot in this cold, dark, vast universe is.
They felt a sense of oneness with Earth, with the universe. A feeling of unity with all of Earth’s life. A feeling of transcending time, space and other limitations.
It was an intense, life altering, and deeply humbling experience that transformed their perspective of the planet and mankind’s relation to it.
According to Wubbo Ockels, the first Dutch astronaut, there’s a huge difference between seeing a picture or actually being out there and seeing Earth from outer space.
He said it’s a shock, you realize you are outside where it is black, where you can’t live, because it is too cold, there’s no oxygen, no life, no history, only emptyness.
” our total focus was on the moon, we weren’t thinking about looking back at the earth but now that we’ve done it, that may very well have been the most important reason we went.”
Wubbo Ockels once had a near death experience after his heart stopped beating for several minutes. Afterwards he told how he didn’t see a bright light at the end of the tunnel or experience anything special. He concluded that what’s celestial is here. Loosely interpreted he suggested that heaven is here on Earth.
The Overview Effect
This cognitive shift in awareness is called The Overview Effect. It’s the ultimate form of taking a step back and seeing things from another perspective. It’s an out-of-body experience. A change of temporal spatial orientation.
As a result, wisdom ensues.
The effect involves an overwhelming sense of unity, compassion, the manifestation of our shared home, our connection to it without boundaries between nations or species.
It is sort of a meditative effect.
Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell searched for a name to accurately describe what it felt like to see the earth from space:
“When they came back to me a few weeks later, they said, “Well, in the ancient literature we found a description called ‘savikalpa samadhi’. That means that you see things as you see them with your eyes, but you experience them emotionally and viscerally, as with ecstasy, and a sense of total unity and oneness.”
Often, in this context, is spoken of letting go of the ego and becoming aware of Spirit beyond creation. Which may sound woolly but in fact is far from it.
In yoga certain techniques are intented to attain an ecstasy state called samādhi.
The Overview Effect is similar to religious ecstasy
Religious ecstasy too is a type of an altered state of consciousness. It is characterized by greatly reduced external awareness and expanded interior mental and spiritual awareness.
This effect is sometimes referred to as enlightenment. Your perception of time, space, and the self change or even disappear. Also visions and emotional (and sometimes physical) euphoria are reported during such altered states of awareness.
If you have ever taken magic mushrooms or another type of consciousness altering substances you may have experienced at first hand how it is to lose the concept of time or feel this connectedness.
The psilocybin experience often involves a sense of oneness with others and the universe, a feeling of transcending time, space and other limitations, coupled with a sense of sacredness and holiness.
The similarities between taking hallucinogenic drugs and being in outer space
Shamans, healers specializing in medicinal herbs and potions, induced by hallucinogenic drugs, were able to grasp concepts, to gain insights others had to go into orbit for. Or meditate in a monastery for months.
In the end the results are similar. All methods are used to reach an altered state of consciousness or, as some like to say, to provide a doorway to higher intelligence. To take steps back from normal day to day life in order to contemplate and reach an altered state.
Some biologists as well as Terence McKenna and stand up comedian Bill Hicks think psychedelics have given us an evolutionary advantage.
“Man must rise above the Earth —to the top of the atmosphere and beyond—for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives.” Plato
According to psychedelic guru Terence McKenna, by dissolving boundaries, psychedelic drugs promote a larger sense of the world than the values of capitalism, competitiveness, object fetisjism, property aquisition, and power. They make you realize everything you learned is learned and not necessarily true.
“As secular people we rarely experience religious awe, especially the uncontrollable sort. I believe that what makes the psychedelic experience so central is that it is a connection into a larger modality of organization of modality on the planet. Which is a fancy way of saying that it connects you up with the mind of nature itself.”
On a side note,
Bill Hicks cynically pointed out how “coincidental” it is that the two drugs that grow naturally on our planet, marihuana and shrooms, drugs that open your eyes up to make you realize how you are being fucked every day of your life, are against the law.
Unity and oneness
The common denominator in being in orbit, achieving religious ecstasy or taking hallucinogenic drugs is the sense of unity and oneness.
This sense of unity and oneness is nothing new. It is from all times. The ancients, from the Sumerians to the Egyptians to the Sanskrit peoples already knew about this notion and have pointed to the Overview Effect.
Alone = All One
We often think of a heaven outside of our worldly borders or about extraterrestial realms in outer space but the astronauts suddenly knew it is the exact opposite. Those who experienced The Overview Effect, had the deeply imbued sense of humanity, nature and Earth as an inseparable entity.
Carl Sagan eloquently showed forth perpective when he talked about the pale blue dot:
We tend to think in terms of separateness. Different nationalities, races, skin colors, countries, species. The distinction between human and nature. Between rock and concrete, between iron ore and car.
But there’s no distinction. We are all stardust. There’s one system, and we are part of that system. Our true nature is spirit not body. We are all one. It’s not a coincidence the word alone literally is “all one“.
There are no boundaries
What’s emblematic for this notion is that the American flags planted on the moon during the Apollo missions eventually turned white. It makes a nice metaphor for the fact that our boundaries and differences only exist on Earth. And then only in our minds. Almost as if the universe is telling us these differences are imaginary. We are all global citizens.
The differences don’t matter. We would be so much better off if we would set aside our perceived differences. Us human beings, as ants on a log, are almost incapable of taking the steps back the astronauts, shamans, psychedelics, saints, yogis, and meditators do.
Which is a pity since this kind of reflection may be essential in our quickly changing world with all its challenges. It allows us to look inwards to decide what kind of people we want to be. What kind of society we want. How we want to proceed as a species. Luckily things are changing for the better. Biosphere consciousness, as Jeremy Rifkin calls it, is growing.
It’s like Charlie Chaplin said in his epic speech: “let us all unite”.
“Overview’ is a short film that explores this phenomenon through interviews with five astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect.”
UpsilonAndromedae: Creative Commons.
The Ecstacy of St. Francis Wikimedia Commons.
Satellite photo Barcelona, Spain: Daily Overview