The universe is expanding. What have you been up to lately?


By Tim Schuster

The scientists say the universe is expanding. Billions of years ago a ball of gas exploded. It’s been expanding ever since.

We just got to the party. If the existence of universe was one year, we are showing up on the last minutes of the 12th month. But, here we are.  

The universe is expanding. It’s doing its job. The purpose of the universe is to grow wider. To spread, flourish, grow, and seek depth. The universe does not know how not to expand. It’s baked into its identity: Don’t mind me, just over here expanding... for billions of years.

It does what it does because of what it is.  

Which raises a question, what have you been up to lately?

What I found compelling is that the times we feel the most alive are the times when we feel expanded. Our intellect expands with new perspectives and insights - sometimes years in the making, and at other times, moments from which we can’t turn back. Our hearts grow wide and minds gain freedom, and we live with joy (which, by now, you know is much different than happiness).  

These moments are not when we are most pampered. Getting a spontaneous massage while at a beach resort is not an interesting story. 

We feel most alive when we engage in a worthwhile struggle to expand: to learn a new skill, start an organization, host a treasure swap (someone very close to me does this and I love watching her come alive in these moments), find an exercise we actually love, get therapy, or read a book about leadership.  

What I notice is that this expansion is intimately connected to generosity. But I'm not talking about the kind of generosity that is giving something away. I'm talking about the kind of generosity of going through great pain to learn, grow, and develop in such a way that ultimately benefits others.  

But I’m not talking about the kind of generosity that is giving something away. I’m talking about the kind of generosity of going through great pain to learn, grow, and develop in such a way that it will ultimately benefit others.


That’s why you want to start a non-profit, or help kids gain worthwhile employment experience, or pitch to investors, or paint the basement bathroom there is something more profound at work than just the activity at hand.  

It’s like every molecule in our bodies are in sync and aligned with the energies of the universe. When we align our reality with the reality of the universe, amazing things happen.

Some people call this design. Millennials call is authenticity. Accountants call it balanced. Architects talk about a symmetry. Others call it work. The ancient Hebrews called it shalom. Most of us think of it is being fully alive in our humanity.   

We’re not here to rent space. To put in our dues and fly away when it’s all said and done. That expanding, universal energy? It’s in you. And you are in it. We are part of it, every molecule and every particle and every atom. Every minute of every day, expanding and growing and changing and seeking depth. When people talk about the universe, do you immediately say to yourself, “That includes me!”?

In other words, the universe is on our side.

And that thing you want to start? That person you want to reach out to? The habit you want to change? The hard thing you know you want to do but know it will take courage, curiosity, and perseverance to accomplish? When we are in sync with these universal, divine and sacred energies that are bringing it all toward redemption and restoration, the universe may just be conspiring to help us.

We are caught up in something bigger, more profound than we can imagine. It changes you. And it changes the universe.  

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