There are many doors in our house, but the best of all doors is the one inside me, the one that, each moment, opens to the miracles prepared just for me. What’s really wonderful about this is the door inside me is always brand new, and always opens to a totally new view. Today, each moment will present a door I have never seen before, a door devotedly decorated by the timeless universe, beckoning me to turn the knob and know the stunning truth that waits behind it. I might call each moment my personal doorman, graciously waiting for my signal to open the door and wave me through with a bow and a smile. Does this mean that there are thousands of doors waiting for me today? Not really. There is only one door, the door that is here and now, and the joy of this day is that I get to open that door and see the spectacular creations the cosmos has prepared for me, right now, and again and again and again.
The word ‘animate’ comes from the Latin word ‘anima’, which means ‘soul’ or ‘life’, and this animais constantly lighting a soft and lovely fire under me and everything. I sometimes see and feel this refreshing flame, but only when I stay still, and look and listen. Each moment is prepared to fully enliven me. It’s like a superpower breathes new life into me every single moment, over and over, with cheer and good-heartedness, all day and all night long. Right now, as I’m typing these words, everything I see around me is being energized just by being here, right now. The old pens and pencils in the jar on my desk are actually brand new in this new moment, standing in a way they’ve never stood before. Our couch with its blue cushions seems to be cheered-up simply by being present, and the windows in the dining room show scenes outside that are, in some ways, brand new, scenes I have never seen before in all my 81 years. My old, faithful lungs are constantly rousing me up by bringing me approximately 26 sextillion molecules of air each moment, and my heart gives my body a buzz by moving blood cells at the rate of 3 feet per second, rolling roughly 83 gallons of blood zestfully through me every hour! And then there are thoughts and feelings, which somehow blossom inside me by the thousands, unfolding fresh and boundless light hour after hour
For certain, the anima, the soul and life of what is called ‘me’, is firing-up itself, second after second, stirring up endless newness, and with absolutely no help from this separate so-called ‘me’!
The life I am taking part in in my 81st year is, above all, a copious one. Every single moment is abundant with choices and chances and roads to travel and stunning personal mountains to ascend. Of course, moments can also be plentiful with fears and disappointments, but right in the midst, each of those moments is also overflowing with opportunities for grace and wisdom. And of course, how wonderfully profuse are the thoughts that come to me by the thousands, hour after hour, flying from who-knows-where to take part in my life for a few moments or hours. Like all of us, I’m alwaysoverflowing with thoughts, just as the sky is abounding with stars every night, and I have the pleasure and freedom to choose from this amazing mental abundance. I also have a copious amount of choices presented to me all day long. They flutter like butterflies in front of me moment by moment, each choice – even the bad ones, even the seemingly disastrous ones – offering numerous blessings of countless kinds. And think of nature and all her teeming miracles – the dust in the air making limitless fairylike circles and swirls, the inexhaustible oxygen atoms softly flowing into lungs around the world, the immeasurable rays of the sun spreading and shining in innumerable ways.
I and all of us are surely involved in an exceedingly copious universe. Just writing about it today stuns me with a vast sense of astonishment and thankfulness.
Businesses love to advertise, and the best business I know of is the business called life. It publicizes itself to me moment after moment, making known its powers and promises and gifts. Life constantly advertises its beauties: its fresh new sights to see, its sounds that sweep around and through me always, its feelings that find a way to influence my hours and days. Life is always posting commercials: Turn and see the marvelous sight out the window! Look at how this moment is shining! Buy yourself some peacefulness just by staying and appreciating what’s right here! I get announcements about new products all the time. Life announces that my next thought could be a prize winner, that where I am right now is paradise, and that my hands being able to easily fold together is a major miracle. Truly, living my life is like watching an astonishing television show, where beautiful bargains are announced every moment: A new breath is coming! A thought you’ve never had before is arriving! A sight you have never seen before is right in front of you, right now! I am grateful that life is a successful advertiser. I hope I can buy all of its billions of products – and the good news is … I don’t have to pay a cent!
Today, I hope to just stay more often. Instead of constantly turning toward something else, something supposedly more interesting, I’d like to stay, always, spot-on in the present moment. Usually, I’m wandering off in my thoughts to something that seems more stimulating than what’s here and now, but today could be different. Today I could consider myself the privileged guest of each present moment, and, being received so warmly, why would I not want to spend some quality time here, in this good-hearted and generous here-and-now? Staying put, right where I am at any moment, could open the fairy-tale doors of a kingdom called The Present. I get free room-and-board here, in every moment, forever, so why not bow in thankfulness and enjoy my endless visit?
Below is a poem about a make-believe guy in the make-believe town of Blessings, CT, USA:
Today – like all days – will be a day of elegance. There will be style in the smallest actions – in our cat’s suave meowing, in the swanky sounds from the humidifier, in the fashionable sway of tree limbs in passing winds. Each brand-new moment will have a graceful neatness in it that is perfect for that singular moment – and all the moments will have an opulence that will flow over and through me with poise. Even if sadness arrives, I hope I’ll be aware of the kindness that will also be arriving, from within and outside me, to help me work with the sadness in a gentle but brave way. Even if tragedy somehow comes, the vast dignity of skies and sunsets and sunrises will be shining around and inside me to show me the way to healing and peace. Whatever happens, good or bad, all day long my breath will fashionably come and go, my old fingers will bend with elderly flair, and thoughts will grandly promenade through me. And all of this through no effort of my own. Our universe is a swanky and affectionate dancer. It lives each moment with sumptuousness and polish, and thus, so do I – though I sometimes have no awareness of it. I get lost, now and then, in a feeling of the messiness and confusion of life, but I’m hoping I will participate today with panache in the tender and sophisticated whirls and twirls of each elegant moment.
I sometimes think the greatest questions in life concern wisdom: Where does it come from? How is understanding made? Where do I go to find new ideas? Thoughts seem to be constantly pouring into me, but how? and where from? What I often realize, now in my 80’s, is that I should simply love these glorious questions without worrying about answers. What’s important is that wisdom is waiting for me, always and everywhere. Like a gracious, all-loving wizard, insight welcomes me in every new instant. Fresh thoughts seem to continuously follow me, moment after moment, ready to completely enliven my life. From my kindergarten days, I have wanted to be a ‘smart’ guy, and now, in my refreshing old age, I see that ‘smartness’ moves through the universe like winds through trees – with ease and solemnity and sovereignty – and that I am actually a part of this boundless wind. The amazing truth is that I don’t have to ‘find’ wisdom, because it’s always sailing inside me, and I inside it. All of us – all humans and mountains and squirrels and skies – are breezes within the wind of wisdom. We don’t have to find it, but just see it and be it.
It’s fun to come back, now and then, to the amazing truth that life – including me and all of us and everything – is incredibly and beautifully elaborate. The word derives from old Latin words meaning ‘to work out’, and indeed, the life everything is living is carefully and exquisitely worked out, moment after startling new moment. Each instant is an intricate, inextricable creation of an infinite wizard called The Universe, and I, like all of us, am precisely at the center of this handiwork. Unfortunately, I sometimes am unable to see the radiance of the design, and thus I get lost in what seems to be nothing but puzzlement and disarray. The truth is, though, that at each moment, the virtuoso Universe is embellishing a lovely life for us, including me, and I simply need to see myself as part of this everlastingly fresh and elaborate work of art. When I visit an art museum, I am sometimes lost in amazement at the beauty of the creations, and maybe I should be more often spellbound by the elegant patterns in each commonplace, magnificent moment of life.
I used to think the word ‘glory’ applied only to things like sunsets and distant mountains and misty rainbows, but as my 81 years have passed, I’ve slowly come to see glory everywhere, and in everything. What is more glorious than the softly glowing computer screen on which the words I’m typing now are stepping along in unison? And what deserves more praise than my elderly fingers dancing in their trusty, free-and-easy ways on the computer keyboard, or the soft and splendid music the furnace is making below me in the cellar? I see grandeur beside me in a small glass full of pens and pencils, sitting silently and shining in the lamplight, and there’s a strangely wondrous splendor in the sounds from the washer softly cleansing our clothes down the hall. And nothing should be honored more than this simple but stunning moment, right here and now – a spectacle that never ends, is always with us – this precise moment, right now, in its dazzling light. I look again, and here it is, even now, the present, right here, in all its pomp and beauty. I say let us praise the glory of the ever-present present moment, which is everywhere and everything!
The wise scholars who saw a strange solitary star in the sky and sought to follow it are somewhat similar to this still somewhat unwise senior citizen who tries his best to see before him the solitary star called ‘the present moment’. It’s always there, shining with a sunniness that can’t be equaled – the single moment in my life, right here and now, that lights all things with the power of the universe, and prepares a perfect way for me to live, if only I would notice it. Other lights are also there, of course – the worries that flash and flicker for my attention – but the single light of this present moment has the power to make all other lights soften and disperse. It’s all there is, really. It rises before me second after surprising second, day after day, and brings with it all the satisfaction I could possibly need. I live my life in unceasing starlight, the constant sparkle of the present moment. Sadly, I’m afraid I miss most of it.