This course is about the Big Picture, the Big Questions, and Living a Life That Matters. It's about discovering how we are from a cosmic perspective, how are all connected to a larger universe, and how we can discover and align ourselves with the dynamics of the cosmos in our everyday lives. We'll also tackle big topics such as life, death, and spirituality and their role in our lives.
Imagine going forward into the world each day, knowing that you are part of something much larger than yourself. Imagine how your relationships might transform if you recognized that the forces drawing you to your partner are the very same forces that shaped the galaxies, created the stars, and formed the molten Earth? Imagine what you could achieve in your life, knowing that you had 13.8 billion years of cosmic history and the forces of the universe behind you? Imagine how your life would transform once you saw yourself and your life as part of a much larger pattern of cosmic proportions and meaning?
These and other questions will be explored in this series of short but impactful and richly illustrated lectures on our place in the cosmos and our relationship to it. Each lecture will be accompanied by a downloadable transcript of the material as well as follow-up questions to consider for further reflection and insight. The course is self-paced, and participants are welcome to explore in an afternoon, or over the course of several weeks or months. Once you enroll in the course, you'll have permanent ongoing access to the course and its materials, allowing you to revisit any aspect of it when desired or needed.
Anyone interested in living a spiritually-informed life aligned with the dynamics of the evolving cosmos will find a rich experience in taking this course. Whether you take this course as an individual or as part of a study group, you'll have food for thought for years to come.
This short lecture introduces the cosmic perspective, the big picture view of the universe that we'll be working off of for the rest of the course. In this lecture we explore how we are all part of a vast universe, and one that is shaped by cosmic dynamics that also shape our individual lives.
More than anything else, we can say that the universe is made of change. Viewing change from this cosmic lens helps us to navigate the many changes we encounter in our lives and in our culture at this time. After viewing this lecture, you should have a good sense of the nature of the universe and our lives as a process, whose nature is to continually flow and change. Recognizing the nature of the world as change is also the answer to the problem of materialism, as we'll see here.
This lecture explore the idea of happiness from a cosmic perspective - what is it that truly makes us happy? We also explore the interweaving of our lives with cosmic process as well as the topic of omnicentrism, the idea that every place in the universe is the center of the universe's perspective and action. Recognizing this can empower us to see ourselves and our lives as expressions of the cosmological powers, giving us access to new sources of support, insight, and wisdom into our lives.
After viewing this lecture, we'll have a good sense of ourselves as centers of cosmic action, places where the universe seeks to deepen its experience of itself by creating unique individuals. By celebrating our uniqueness and individuality, we align ourselves with this fundamental cosmic process of centration.
Everything that is born also fades away, and so we encounter death, loss, and catastrophe in our lives as expressions of the dynamic known as cosmic dissolution. By recognizing that destruction and loss are not only prevalent throughout the universe, but also cosmically necessary, we find new resources to cope with loss and death in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.
How are we called to express the universe through us and our lives? What is our cosmic purpose on Earth? Recognizing ourselves as cosmic beings, intertwined with the dynamics of the cosmos, helps us to step forward into our true role as personal expressions of the universe's potential.
What does it mean to truly belong to something larger than oneself? What might it mean to belong to the universe? Cultivating this larger perspective in our lives helps us to learn deep trust, the knowledge that no matter what happens to us or in our lives, that there is something there for us that is absolutely trustable and reliable.
What can we trust when everything else changes and falls away? What is the deeper nature of this cosmic process called the universe? These and other questions are explored in this short illustrated lecture.
How can we live big, full, rich lives from a place of trust and wisdom, aligned with cosmic process? How can we let go and trust no matter what happens? What resources can we draw on to see us through life, death, and change?
Let's take stock of where we been in this course and summarize some of the insights and inspirations about life from a cosmic perspective.
Stephan Martin is an astronomer, educator, and writer who has taught astronomy and physics at colleges and educational centers across the U.S. for over twenty years.
Currently Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Bristol Community College in southeastern Massachusetts, he is active in exploring and promoting interdisciplinary approaches to exploring the universe. His current research and writing focuses on the transformative potential of the insights of modern science and their integration into personal experience and everyday life.
He frequently lectures and gives presentations on astronomy and the wonders of the night sky at observatories, planetariums, and other popular venues, and has published a wide variety of articles on a multitude of topics that range from technical scientific research to academic papers in philosophy and humanities to popular-level articles on science education and everyday spirituality. His latest book is Cosmic Conversations, a collection of interviews with leading scientists, spiritual teachers, and cultural creatives on the nature of the universe.