Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.
Astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter is the winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics. Saul heads the SuperNova Cosmology Project at the University of California at Berkley. In an interview on NPR, Perlmutter naturally talked a lot about infinity. He said, "Most folks think of the beginning of the universe as the Big Bang happening in empty space. But the empty space is the universe and the Big Bang simply projected matter into it. There are an infinite number of galaxies now sailing through the universe. There will be an infinite number of galaxies in the future - all sailing through infinity. But the space, itself, is the universe."
His interviewer responded, "My mind is boggled."
Perlmutter replied, "You have to get used to having your mind boggled. And the more you see and discover, the more boggled your mind becomes. It's my theory," he says, "the only reason you go into a field like astrophysics is because you love to have your mind boggled."
If awe and wonder are indeed the beginning of wisdom, we would all do well do allow our minds to be boggled on a regular basis. Boggled by infinity. Boggled by great music and art. Boggled by love. Boggled by belly laughs. Boggled by the fact that every moment, each of us are riding a product of the Big Bang through the universe. Through the infinite universe. So many ways to be boggled; so little time.
When your mind is boggled, you tend to spend less time worrying over your VISA card or wishing you had a bigger TV or wondering how you're going to ditch that extra 10 pounds before swim-suit time. Boggling reminds you that you don't know it all. And never will. Boggling has a way of shaking you loose - so loose that giggles, delight, awe and astonishment are able to seep in and grace the face of your soul with a big juicy grin.
Howard lives with 14 other folks in a gorgeous 1890 Victorian home called "Hanger Hall." Ida Jolly Crawley, an artist who lived in the house from 1919-46, called it "The House of Pan" because it seemed to attract The Muses of Art and Music. Howard recently had dying tree taken down in his front yard and has asked a wood-carving friend to carve a life-sized stature of Pan from the 12-foot stump. Howard is very pumped about the prospect and eager for Pan and the Muses to bring even more joy and creativity to Hanger Hall.