When worries and fears come my way – and it happens often – nothing comforts me more than the realization that I have a warmhearted and durable relationship with everything in the universe – everything. I am an eternal member of the boundless association called Life. All of the hundred trillion cells that make up my body have a kinship with the most ancient stars, and thus so do I, and all the atoms of oxygen I’m breathing in right now connect me with all the places they have visited in their billions of years of existence. The Universe is an alliance of endless numbers of ‘friends’, all as interconnected as my fingers are to each other and to my hands – and I am a vital and everlasting member of that alliance. The same words I speak today are being spoken even now around the world among numberless people, and all the feelings I will have today have been – and will be – felt by countless other people forever and ever. There’s no way I can avoid or break the relationship that exists between seemingly small and separate ‘me’ and the vast universe. We – meaning every person, squirrel, drop of water, and star above – are all members, forever, of the eternal partnership called Life. Fears and worries have very little power in the presence of such an authoritative and friendly confederation!
Delycia and I welcome people into our home every so often for tea or dinner, and I am realizing that I should be more welcoming to the thoughts that move through the home of my mind. A steady line of thoughts constantly passes through my life, and I want to learn to welcome them all, even those filled with fear or dismay or discouragement. What I am slowly understanding is that my thoughts are not me, but fairly frail and short-lived whispers that will slip smoothly away if I just stand aside, observe them in a welcoming way, and then let them quietly leave. I could welcome thoughts of fear, for instance – politely listen to them, let them take their time passing through, and then see them to the door and down the road. I’m learning that thoughts are as harmless as I allow them to be – simply evanescent voices that will soon disappear if I stand by with something like a smile.
Below are scenes from our wonderful walk on Sunday with Aaron on Mt. Ascutney (NH) …
More and more, it seems to me that true happiness comes only when I live with the spirit of allowing – when I’m willing to permit more than prevent. I’ve spent far too many years trying to keep things from happening – trying to fence my small self in so that I won’t be hurt by the countless enemies I seem to see around me, enemies like mistakes and misfortunes and fears. This kind of fencing-in and fending off and turning aside can be exhausting, and now, at 79, I’m tired of being tired, and so I’m doing much more allowing than preventing. I’m reveling in the joy of simply stepping back and giving life the permission to carry on as it wishes to. After all, life is a generous patron, an infinite, bountiful giver, and all I have to do is stand aside and welcome its bighearted contributions. Daily life’s gifts come in many forms – joys, disappointments, successes, failures, understanding, ignorance – all containing wonderful wisdom wrapped in various ways. My task – my opportunity – is to simply allow. I need to stand aside with a smile and enable life to flow through me with its thoroughness and astuteness. I need to bow and give my blessing to worries and pleasures and troubles and triumphs, for they are all consummate gifts from the grandest of all givers.
WE CAN ALWAYS COME HOME
We can always come home again to life
by simply opening this moment now
and seeing that the problems and the strife
of all our days can actually allow
the light of truth to silently unfold
for us. This quiet, steady, loyal light
is even inside sorrow and the cold
discomfort of defeat, and just the sight
of it can help us know that we are still
at home, inside the simpleness of now.
Each moment is a door that can fulfill
our hopes. We simply have to smile and bow
and truly welcome anything that’s there,
for everything brings light that clears the air.
WORDS LIKE LIGHT
July 9, 2021
In the gospel of John, after some friends of Jesus have spent an entire night fishing from one side of their boat and catching nothing, Jesus simply tells them to throw their net on the ‘right’ side, and when they do it, they catch an overwhelming number of fish, so many that they can’t pull the net into the boat. Today, I can also make a similar easy choice. Moment after moment, I can consciously choose to cast the ‘net’ of my awareness on the ‘right’ side – the side where the inestimable, measureless gifts of the present moment are always waiting to be ‘caught’. It’s really as simple as that. I only have to turn away from the side of the boat where nothing but empty materialistic hopes and illusory fears seem to be thrashing around, and turn toward the side where the boundless power of patience and kindness and peace is always ready to be welcomed aboard. I hope to be a wise, observant fisherman today.