One dictionary defines ‘panorama’ as an unbroken view of the whole region surrounding an observer, and my daily wish is to constantly enjoy a wonderful panorama of life. I am so often lost in the stagnant cave of my own thoughts, seeing only the mist and fogginess of fears and self-centeredness, and what I need is to get up to the high mountains of awareness and see the scenic view it affords. When seen from the peaks of true wakefulness, life is boundless and breathtaking, far too multifaceted and mysterious to be captured by my little and helpless ego-mind. Each moment and every moment, I can be witness to a view of life – the true view – that is picturesque and limitless and simply astounding, if I step up to the high peaks of awareness. They’re right here, right now, always – these beautiful bird’s eye views of reality. All I have to do is stop, stay still, and look – and be astonished.
Sometimes my good luck seems unbelievable. I’m neither wealthy nor well-known nor uncommonly gifted, but good fortune seems to follow me everywhere. I often, for instance, can’t believe the simple fact that I’m alive on an astonishing planet in an implausibly beautiful universe – that somehow this person called “Ham’ has been given hundreds of millions of minutes of this thing called life. The whole mystery of my life seems totally improbable, as if a magician somewhere in the everlasting cosmos made some swirls with her wand and, presto, here’s Hamilton Salsich. And my incredible good fortune continues to follow me in a round-the-clock way – my heart somehow holding its rhythm 100,000 times each day, my blood reliably rolling through my body hour after hour, my lungs lifting and falling in a steadfast way. All this, to me, seems so far-fetched – so deserving of awe – that it almost requires a down-on-my-knees, lost-for-words reverence.
Below, scenes from our walk this morning on the Beebe Pond trail …
Like most people, I greatly value what is called ‘the environment’ – the hills and rivers and sky and animals and people with which I live on this earth – but I treasure even more the much vaster environment, the endless domain of spirit. The truth is that we all live in a mental territory much more than in a physical one. Our world is the world of the present moment – of spirit, the inner and limitless land of awareness. When I think about taking care of the environment, I do think about maintaining the purity of our seas and skies, but I also think, even more seriously, about preserving the purity of the central lifeforce of everything, which is, in fact, the pervasive and boundless present moment. I, and all of us and everything, actually dwell in ‘a natural world’ – the present moment – that has no boundaries, no beginnings or endings, and no imperfections. It is what it is, and this ‘is-ness’ is wider than the never-ending sky. This is the habitat that I most want to help, and I can do that best by simply always residing, with full awareness, right here and right now, because that’s where the only dependable and pure paradise is.
A poem from a few years back …
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
Monday, August 9, 2021
I hope to stay truly awake – and aware –today. I want to be totally conscious of each arising moment, the way I might be conscious of an amazing sunrise. I want to get quietly acquainted with the sights and sounds of today – the whisper of raindrops, the bubbling of water on the stove, the click of keyboard keys. Today could be a day to begin to get deeply familiar with life, like it’s a newfound, wonderful friend. I hope to be mindful of the miracle of my breathing, of the graceful flow of my feelings, of the thoughts that will softly throw themselves around in the limitless realm called my mind. I want to stay alive to the gifts I’ll be getting moment after moment today, always aware of the breathtaking life I am lucky to be living.
a man named Jimmy Jones
went to the Social Security office
and said to a person named Nancy
that he wished to change his name to
He said he finally saw,
what a large yield life had produced for him,
that quite a bountiful crop lay spread around
and inside him,
and he needed to start gathering it in.
There was goodness in great fields,
and patience was spread from east to west,
and wisdom lay out as wide
as winter and summer together -
and it was time to garner and glean.
So, Jimmy said,
don't you think my name should be
something like Jimmy Harvest?
Nancy stared at him,
and then something shined from her eyes,
and then she stared some more.