Why we are all nothing more than ants (and no less than God) ~ Ben Ralston

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Another Father and Son

I don’t know how old I was exactly (somewhere between 8 and 11) when my Father took me for a walk one evening. The magic of being up late in the balmy summer twilight, and that oh-so-precious time with my Dad meant that something special had to happen.

And it did.

As we walked along the street we chatted, and it was just another day. Just another moment sliding by.

Then we stopped and my Father looked up at the sky, my hand in his. I looked up too and he began to tell me, with a ‘time is not sliding by now’ tone of voice, just how big the universe is.

He explained how many planets there are in our Solar system, and how many Galaxies there are, and the distance from here to the moon, and so on. I don’t remember the details, but I do remember that as he outlined the vastness of the universe, I began to realize just how tiny and insignificant I am. By the time he finished, I felt like an ant.

But I also felt like God…

Time had stopped sliding. In fact, it had just stopped. It had expanded in every direction, and stopped. It was infinite. The Universe (space) and that moment (time) had become one. Time and space stretched away from me in every direction, and I just stood there, feeling like God.

I can’t describe that moment any better. It was a revelation. That’s all. It might have been the best thing my Father ever did for me.


20 years later I was an addict. Yeah, some of you don’t know this, but I spent 2 years of my life in a room in Swiss Cottage, London, eating nothing but baked beans and take-away Balti.

Those 2 years almost killed me…

I’m not kidding. I’m not exaggerating. I nearly destroyed myself there. I did lose friends, money, time, and health. But I’m still here. I didn’t lose my life.


You’re probably wondering what I was addicted to…


(To read the rest click through to Ben Ralston’s personal blog Grounded Spirituality, here.)

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anonymous Sep 11, 2011 9:31am

Great post. I highly recommend people read the last half. I totally relate to what you were addicted to, having been thru something very similar. Life goes on and its never easy, even in the "uncool" addictions.

    anonymous Sep 12, 2011 12:06am

    Thank you James. A recommendation from you means a lot to me.

anonymous Sep 11, 2011 9:10am

Ahhhh, Ben…..you are like an intoxicating, ever-inspiring breath of fresh air to my being! Your story of you and your Father, and the revelation he and the divine lit within you that day, is truly precious. And though I never had someone paint a visual of the vastness, intelligence, wonder and mystery of this universe, I can greatly identify with your revelation which has been a most crucial & reoccurring one in my own spiritual evolution.

You can never unlearn or unsee it once experienced, though I certainly still forget sometimes. Though even when I "forget" momentarily, I am constantly amazed by all the signs, some subtle, some practically knocking me upside the head, LOL, that come even in those moments to remind me who I truly am and am not and that I am always guided, infinitely loved and one with God and the divine wisdom, abundance, peace and joy that is within and totally accessible even in the most despairing life events. It took me a long time to really FEEL, not just carry the knowledge of, God and see myself in that light.

And as for addiction……i have endless thoughts on the subject but will save it for another day.

anonymous Sep 9, 2011 3:27pm

I already commented on your blog but I forgot to mention how lovely your son is. Is he edible? 🙂

    anonymous Sep 9, 2011 11:49pm

    Hehe, a fellow 'vampire' I see!
    He most certainly is. I take a little nibble every now and then…

      anonymous Sep 10, 2011 7:39am

      The picture alone makes me smile. He looks like a little piece of joy (if joy had a body).

      anonymous Sep 10, 2011 8:25pm

      I had the same thought…commented on the blog too but your son is beautiful, Ben. And having him in the photo is a perfect complement to the post. Babies start out so fully whole and brilliant…we forget so much of it as we grow up and have to relearn to see the world through their eyes.

anonymous Sep 9, 2011 10:16am

Great article Ben

anonymous Sep 9, 2011 9:25am

Beautiful poignant memory of you and your father. Sometimes we should definitely take a moment to be mindful and more present in the now.

    anonymous Sep 9, 2011 12:30pm

    Thank you Alis. Always – every moment 🙂

anonymous Sep 9, 2011 9:19am

Thank you Ben!

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Ben Ralston Sep 9, 2011 7:34am

Sandra Turalija inspiring and truthful 🙂

2 hours ago · Like

Tammy Foley I have read four stories or articles in the past two weeks as well as had an in depth conversation with someone about the fact that you can’t change someone. I think the universe is trying to tell me something and you are in on it. ; ) I enjoyed your post…as usual.

2 hours ago · Like

Kylie Madden I honestly believe everything happens for a reason, and most people are addicted to something….and it keeps them alive…some it kills, but some addictions keep people going. It allows them to cope with the unnecessary stresses that socie…

See more

2 hours ago · Like

Ben Ralston Thank you all.

Kylie – I agree. Imagine for a moment that on day internet connection, alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, shopping, and chocolate ( to name a few ) suddenly become unavailable all at once. A lot of people would be suffering withdrawal symptoms.

anonymous Sep 9, 2011 6:53am

Thanks for sharing this Ben. Posted to Elephant Spirituality Facebook.

anonymous Sep 9, 2011 5:54am

Thanks Ben! Often I too feel I am weaving between feeling significant and insignificant. We feel good when we are appreciated by others, and we feel bitter when we are not. Being cognizant of the ant and God and the ebb and flow between them, is helpful at putting our personal daily dramas into perspective.

    anonymous Sep 9, 2011 6:28am

    Thank you for the comment Lisa.
    I find that the key is to be present. It almost sounds like a new age cliche now doesn't it, but Being Here Now is really all there is to it. Whenever we allow our tiny ant minds (ego / brain-mind) to pull us back into the past with doubt or regret, or into the future with fear and worry, then we are all ant. When we're present, we are present to infinite beauty and magic.

anonymous Sep 9, 2011 12:29pm

Thanks John.

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Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting.
He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.