In 1977 I took a geological tour of the Grand Canyon. On the fourth day of the eleven-day trip, the geologist sat us down on a smooth ledge of black rock next to the river.
The geologist explained that we were sitting on a slab of Vishnu Schist, which is the foundation rock of the Grand Canyon.
I picked up a loose piece of the cool black rock. It was smooth and had a dull shine in the light of the crescent moon and the blanket of sparkling stars that were shining above.
I sat in awe as the geologist explained that I was holding a piece of the oldest rock on the earth. It was formed in the Paleolithic era some 17 billion years ago.
The world out their is much bigger and more powerful than human beings, either individually or collectively. I realized that my life or death will not effect the bigger cycles of the universe. I felt as insignificant as a grain of sand yet as significant as if I encompassed the entire universe in my being.
I felt a profound sense of humility. I realized that I was standing ever so briefly on a tiny speck of a vast universe.