Today, I hope I can perform the wonderful work of recognizing – of seeing, once again, the wonderful nature of every single moment – of learning, for the zillionth time, the truth about the radiance of right here and now. Hopefully, I will have an awestruck look on my face all day long, like a toddler as he waddles around in a daze in his brand new world. ‘Oh yes,’ I might often say, ‘here again is the absolute newness of each moment!’, and ‘oh yes, I recall now how glorious every single feeling is!’ Perhaps today will be as if life has come back to me after hours of sleep, and yes! I recognize it in all its vastness and splendor!
More and more each day, I see that life can seem to be countless things that it is not. It can seem to be a burden I have to carry, when in truth, it’s as light as a few friendly and helpful feathers. Life can appear to be big and strong and a bully, when really, it’s as light and pleasant as miles and miles of air. Every day can seem like a confusing and scary maze, when actually, a day is a dear friend that wants to find and help me. Some moments can seem like steep mountains to climb, when really, all of them are made of grace and easiness, and wish me all the best.
What is it that governs me today? For most of my life, I might have answered that material things are my rulers – things like my body and the weather and the strength of my investments – but now, at the settled and satisfied age of 80, I see that I am presided over by a far superior power. There’s a force inside and surrounding me today – a force that flows from nowhere to everywhere – that decides the direction each and every moment will take. What I need to do is simply concede to that force and follow its considerate and invincible leadings. I can be an old and lucky leaf today, drifting in a brand-new, everlasting wind.
Today, I hope I can be aware of the tranquility that is always inside and all around me. I truly cannot escape from the calmness that is everywhere, so I may as well relax and enjoy it. Of course, tranquility does not seem to be everywhere, since unrest and anxiety make such a stormy show of themselves, but when I put on my mind’s microscope or binoculars, I see so clearly that behind all the turbulence is a vast and peaceful sky. When I look very, very carefully, any disorder slowly dissolves like mist in morning sunshine. Yes, there is definitely turmoil in the world, and in my life, but it’s like clouds passing across the sky. I need to accept the fact of the clouds’ existence, but I hope I can silently study them – the disturbances – and begin to see, again, the tranquility of the boundless sky behind and above them. I can definitely work to change a situation – to help the clouds pass away, you might say – but the restful, immeasurable sky of reality is always there, waiting to be seen.
Below is a slide show of scenes from our recent walks. Can you see two of my beloved stone cairns on the rocks?
Today, my life – and all of life – will start fresh every moment. Everything will constantly be beginning again. My breath will be brand new, over and over again, and the sights I see will be seen in the latest, freshest ways. If the present moment is the only moment that exists, and it is, then each moment today will arrive like a new-born wonder. Each thought will come into being with brightness, and every feeling will be fresh and new-fashioned. At any time in the day, if I’m feeling dull and dismal, I can instantly start fresh, because that’s what life is always doing anyway, so I may as well join the fun.
Below are some scenes from our good walk this morning in the Denison Pequotsepos Preserve …
I am fortunate to always be able to watch and appreciate the countless workers in the carefree factory of this universe of ours. All day long, my lungs labor with ease and pleasure to bring me fresh breaths, and my eyes, like true craftsmen, constantly bring sights into my consciousness in the most creative and comfortable ways. The amazing artisan called Thinking is always hard at work, mysteriously making and sending thoughts by the thousands swinging through my mind, and each Moment, in fact, is an artistic toiler in the making of brand-new miracles.
Strangely, the seemingly separate person called ‘me’ is more of a watcher than a worker. My job is to watch and welcome and understand and love what the workers of the universe are quietly accomplishing, moment after moment. How lucky can an 80-year-old dude get?
Today, all day long, I will be soaking in the splendid peacefulness of life, even though I may be totally unaware of it. I may be faraway in my head that’s often full of worries and wonderings and what-ifs, but the boundless life that I’m part of will always be bathing me in the undisturbed endlessness of the present moment. Whether I realize it or not, I’ll be immersed in restfulness all day, because that’s where the universe always is, and I am one of its lucky partners. Hopefully, I can occasionally come out of my reveries and feel the marvelous soaking and rinsing in serenity that is always – always – happening.
Movement is everywhere, always. Life is in endless motion, swirling and rolling and tumbling in its countless ways. As a participant in life, I, too, am always moving. No moment in my life ever stays still, but is constantly customizing and enhancing itself, and me along with it. Like rivers that are always rolling along, if ever so slightly, I am always being carried by the good currents of the universe. Nothing is ever still inside me, or in starlight, or in the swaying of oceans.
I guess I should always be ‘marveling’ at life, because it is, for sure, totally marvelous. Even these words appearing now on my computer screen as I tap on the keyboard is a stunning marvel, and the fact that thoughts somehow arose inside me and started me typing these words is a bewildering wonder. Today, I should probably stare and gape all day long as new moments burst open in their uniqueness, for nothing will be ordinary and everything will be marvelous. Even disappointments or sorrows could, if I’m watchful, be spectacular in their ability to bring me truth and understanding, and fears could open new and wonderful doors. Whatever happens today – high winds or sunshine or worries or simple words between two best friends – I should sometimes just stand in awe.
The older I get, the deeper life seems. I sometimes feel like a diver who’s diving, just for fun, in a bottomless ocean. I know now that life extends farther down than I had ever imagined – a cavernous wilderness full of a good kind of craziness and an enthusiastic freedom. My adventures, each moment, are immeasurable, although I rarely realize it. Life may sometimes seem shallow to me, but in truth, it’s an unfathomable miracle, an unplumbed sea of wonders.
Here’s my question for today: Where does understanding come from? When a thought suddenly fills my life with clearness, where did it originate? The easy answer, of course, is that it came from my brain, but where did that answer come from? More and more, as my 80 years have passed, I realize that true understanding is not made of matter, is not a piece of ‘stuff’ that can be measured and dissected. Real understanding, when it comes, spreads out inside us like sunrise, and who can measure and appraise a sunrise? When I need to know the way to go, sometimes, if I stay silent and accessible, discernment somehow starts shining inside and all around me, like a sky of stars stretching out. If I ask where this understanding came from, I just shake my head in peaceful incomprehension.
Life is always giving. I guess it could be called ‘the great gift-giver’, because its generosity never stops. Each moment is made as a special, handsomely wrapped present. Every sight I see is life’s new contribution to my understanding, every sound comes from the generosity of the universe, all thoughts arrive as freshly wrapped surprises, and my feelings unfold like wonder-filled gifts unwrapping themselves.
So … I guess I just need to relax and enjoy the never-ending, big-hearted party!
Delycia and I occasionally take our car in for service, and it’s comforting to know that our lives, too, are carefully serviced, actually overhauled, on a regular basis – in fact, every single moment. We take care of our car, and I guess it could be said that life takes care of itself. As unbelievable as it seems, life continually rebuilds itself, moment by refreshing moment. At each split second, our cells are overhauled, our blood is renovated, and our breath is made brand new. Plus, this thorough refurbishing is occurring everywhere, to everything, and always. The boundlessly generous Universe maintains a 24-hour repair shop where newness is the only purpose, and in which my life, and all of life, right now, is being beautifully revamped and refitted. Lucky life, lucky us!