8 minutes

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The distance of the sun from the Earth is between 146 and 152 million kilometres -give or take a few million, and depending of course on the time of the year. This means that light, racing through space at about 300,000 km/sec will take an average of about 8 minutes to reach the Earth. Think about this for a minute: The Sun, the life giver, the star that holds us together and nourishes us, what gives us hope in the morning, what makes us daydream at sunset, that huge star that can hold about a million earths inside it without even blinking, the largest object in the universe for the next 23 TRILLION miles (!!) and its light takes 8 whole minutes to reach our planet, our home. This means that if theoretically the sun were to be switched off suddenly it would take eight full minutes for people on the earth to realise anything has happened. Now try and put that in perspective: What can you do in eight minutes?? Lose a race, make love, miss a flight, miss a train, fall in love, get very angry, apologise, -forgive.

Next time you want to tell someone you will love them forever say “I promise i will love you for the next eight minutes and we will then look at our relationship again in a whole “new light” ”
And if you’ve been hurt or you are angry you can say “I am extremely angry with you for the next eight minutes, i will re-examine the situation after that in a new light..”

If you enjoy getting up with the first light every morning maybe you should get up eight minutes earlier, because that’s when the first light that reaches your bedroom had left the sun, eight minutes earlier. Never before have eight minutes been so important. If you think your life is pretty much predictable and nothing extraordinary is about to happen any time soon, think of how everything can change in a split second -and you may not even know it for the next eight whole minutes. Next time you are stuck in traffic for what seems like forever, think of how even light takes eight full minutes to reach earth, -even without any traffic. Next time you want to make a very important decision, wait a while -about eight minutes- and then think it through again. If you call as many people as you can within the next eight minutes and just say hi you will have talked to a lot of your friends within the time it takes for a single ray of light to reach earth.

If you divide a 24 hour day by the time required for light to reach us from the sun you will see that during a whole day light from the sun can cover the distance to the earth only about 180 times. Of course this process is continuous and not discreet so it seems that there is sunlight always, without any breaks in between.

Give yourself eight minutes today, set a timer, close your eyes and pretend you are a pulse of light that has just left the sun and imagine yourself racing with light speed through the universe, passing the planets closer to the sun and heading towards the earth -eight full minutes. Don’t open your eyes, don’t move until you hear the timer. See how long eight minutes really is.

Next time someone asks you how soon you can meet them somewhere answer in multiples of eight: 8 minutes, 16 minutes, 24 minutes and leave them wandering. If someone says they want to see you to talk about something very important tell them they have exactly eight minutes, the same time the light from the sun takes to reach the earth. And that’s also very important.

Eight minutes.

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