Mindful Universe: a journey through the inner and outer cosmos
The Mindful Universe explores the scientific workings of the Universe, its awe-inspiring nature and how it can be partnered with mindfulness to bring meaning to our lives. Part of the Mindfulness series, this book looks at science through the lens of mindfulness and spirituality, bringing together two seemingly opposed beliefs through topics such as:
• The journey of a photon
• Our chemical origins from the birth of stars
• The nature of time
• The limits to our senses
• The beauty of nebulae
• Non-duality and quantum theory
• ... and much more
Mark Westmoquette takes you on a fascinating journey through space, time, our mind and the mysteries of the cosmos in this lovingly-written book. Through practical meditations, facts and anecdote, he points the reader to a life-affirming realisation: that when we start to observe things mindfully, just as they really are, we start to find the secrets of the Universe revealing themselves before our very eyes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Westmoquette is an astronomer, ordained ex-Zen monk and pilgrimage walker. He regularly teaches courses and workshops in mindfulness, meditation and yoga. Mark was a scientist researching astronomy at the European Southern Observatory in Munich and at UCL in London. He regularly blogs at www.youruniverseyoga.co.uk about the mindful journey of the outer universe to the inner universe. He is the author of Mindful Thoughts for Stargazers, Stars and The Mindful Universe.
What is mindfulness.
The start of my personal story.
What this book is about.
Chapter One: Paying Attention: to the Sun and beyond 16-31
Establishing concentration and focus, foundations of mindfulness. Focusing on a leaf leads to thinking about photosynthesis and a photon's journey through space from the Sun, to considering the deep interconnected nature of Universe.
Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness of the breath and focus on a leaf.
Chapter Two: Feet on the Earth 32-49
What is grounding, times when we don't feel grounded, how mindfulness can help, feeling grounded leads to consideration of planet, solar system, and exoplanets.
Mindfulness practice: sensing the ground
Chapter Three: We Are All Stardust 50-67
Reasoned thinking vs. intuitive feeling.
Becoming more sensitive to the body and feelings.
Feeling body leads to consideration of origin of chemicals (we are all stardust), life cycle of stars, and the galaxy evolution.
Mindfulness practice: body scan.
Chapter Four: Wandering Through The Universe 68-87
Notice how easily your mind wanders off, consideration of past and future (in truth, there is only the present moment), considering what is time.
What came before big bang? What's beyond the universe?
Mindfulness practice: dealing with distractions.
Chapter Five: Creating Reality 88-107
Perception is influenced by desires, expectations and our past experiences.
Suffering = difference between actual reality and desired reality.
Humans are restricted to sensing just a tiny proportion of reality leading to consideration of EM spectrum, dark matter, and dark energy.
Mindfulness practice: Beginners mind-sensing everything anew and open presence-letting things be as they are.
Chapter Six: Passion and Awe 108-121
When we look inside we find a mess of jumbled thoughts and emotions.
Sometimes unpleasant or painful.
Mindfulness = turning towards all experiences with presence and non-judgement = compassion.
Leading to considering beauty of universe.
Science isn't automatically non-spiritual, the incredible wondrousness of being.
Mindfulness practice: Investigating suffering and just being.
Chapter Seven: Melt Into The Universe 122-141
Subject/object perspective (duality, suffering) vs non-duality.
Consideration of quantum physics perspectives, wave/particle.
Ultimately language becomes too limiting to describe Universe as it is.
Only option is to be it, experience it, melt into it.
Mindfulness practice: melting into the universe.
Endmatter: Index, further reading & acknowledgments 142-144