Become like a Child

Yesterday I went for a bike ride to the seaside. It was a blue-sky day and the sun was giving off gorgeous heat. The wind was up and whenever I turned east I had to ride hard against it. I’m living near Dover, in the UK, and the coastline is made up of the famous White Cliffs, which jut out of the sea with magnificent sharpness, their top-edges carpeted with soft, green grass.

As you come inland the topography continues to undulate making for hilly roads. I was beginning to get hot riding up and down the steep streets and I noticed my mind had jumped ahead to my arrival at the beach, my ride home and the refreshments I would have when I got back. My trip to the sea was over before it had begun. Everything in front of me now, the cheek-by-jowl housing typical of English towns, the leaves flashing silver as they danced in the breeze, the puffs of white cloud drifting over Dover Castle in the distance, was invisible. I was missing it all.

The good news is this: I noticed.

I actually became aware that I wasn’t where I was. I realized I was not in reality and had bought in to the fantasy in my head and been seduced by it. With this awareness I could change.

Bringing myself back to the present I felt my body riding the bike. I remembered suddenly what it felt like to be a kid riding my bicycle on a hot summer day. Would I have been thinking about the future when I was seven years old? Maybe. More likely I would have been seeing the world around me, being with it as it happened.

I passed a sleeping white cat curled up on a concrete block. It looked so warm and so content I could actually feel its interior pleasure. If a cat is allowed to curl up and sleep away the afternoon why aren’t we, too?

I rode on, feeling the breath in my lungs and my heart working hard as pedaled. I sensed the wind kissing my face cooling the sweat on my forehead. I heard the rocks pop under the tires as I neared the the sea.

The beach was empty save for two young fisherman and a couple playing in the waves. I found my spot and parked the bike marveling at the way the sun was hitting the cliffs making them glimmer the brightest white imaginable. I lay down and curled up like a cat. Deep rest. Body settling into smooth stones heated warm from the late-summer day. Diamonds on the water. France at the other side. Whispers of prayer to give thanks.

Inspiring Message of the Day: When I realize that I have engaged with my thoughts so as to disappear from the reality before me I will remember what it feels like to be a child and experience the wonder of my existence as it unfolds.

Pray Tell

Dearest Readers,

Tired? Grumpy? Lethargic? Despairing? Anxious? Overwhelmed? All of the above? You’re not alone. On any given day I can experience any number of these fear symptoms. Lately, my number one solution has been simply to pray.

Get quiet, ask for Direction, listen. All of these actions constitute prayer and with them comes the exquisite sensation of simply dwelling in the Presence of God.

I heard someone recently say that for her God was a person. That works for her so that’s great. For me, God is not a person. God is the Spirit of Unity Back of All Things. God is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, the Condition of Possibility of any entity whatsoever.

Neither of those definitions are mine, by the way. They came to me and I grabbed on to them. They make sense to me. They back up my experience. And that is how I have come to know this God. Through experience. Not because someone told me what to believe. The experience of this Power is why I have I faith in its existence.

But despite my faith I am still self-reliant. And my self-reliance causes me to suffer. I overwork, I future-trip, I judge, I worry, I sabotage myself. I operate on Old BS (belief systems) instead of trusting Higher Guidance. And then I end up in chaos of one kind or another, whether it’s just a wee little bit or full-blown doesn’t matter. I still find myself there. Sigh.

It is at these times of inner crisis that I remember to pray. Not just pray like I do everyday, sorta kinda doing it because I gotta. But praying deeply. Taking the time to BE. Be with God. Not wonder, not question, not say a few deferential words. But connect. Rest. Dwell in the Great Presence.

When I embrace the Sacred I am so embraced. The Divine enters and fear disappears. I remember who I am.

Inspiring Message of the Day: Today I will take time to pray deeply. Shedding all thoughts but One.

Six…

Dearest Readers,

What was the happiest moment of your life?

An easy question to answer? Not for me. The question was put to me this morning and I found myself thinking back to one of my favourite comic strips in which Charlie Brown asks Lucy to to name one thing she likes about him and she says something along the lines of, “Wow. Gee. That’s a stumper. That’s a real poser all right. That’s a puzzle. That’s a real tough one…”

She uses just about every synonym for “difficult question” that there is. I could find lots of things I like about poor good old, wishy washy Charlie Brown but I happen to feel the same way Lucy does about the question “What was the happiest moment of your life?” I can certainly think of lots of happy moments but the happiest? The pinnacle moment, the moment that surpasses all other things?┬áThat one really is a stumper.

When I got accepted into the National Theatre School of Canada I was pretty happy. I’d been rejected twice before and I’ll never forget the phone call that came saying, “You’re in.” I was ecstatic. But could I call it the happiest moment of my life? I don’t know.

Then there was the phone call asking me to write a play for the Stratford Festival of Canada. Again, I was over the moon. But I’m not sure the moment deserves the title of “happiest”.

I’ve heard a number of women describe the birth of their first child as the happiest moment. I could certainly see that being true but I don’t happen to have a kid. I got to witness the birth of my older sister’s first baby this year and no doubt it will top her happiest list. I was extremely happy for her but it wasn’t the happiest moment of my life.

If I took the time I could probably create a list of the happiest moments. There have been lots of them. Falling in love, receiving certain kinds of recognition, getting off the booze and the dope, climbing mountains, performing on stage, helping other people on the Healing Path. All moments, all happy. But the happiest? Like I said, this one is a true puzzler.

Maybe my resistance is coming from a place of cynicism. What followed all of these happy moments was not necessarily all happiness. It was life. Challenges ensued. Lessons were learned. Growth took place. All of these elements didn’t take away from the happy moment itself but nevertheless preclude the “happiest” definition taking root.

Perhaps I haven’t had my happiest moment yet. I like that idea. It’s kind of exciting to think that the happiest moment of my life hasn’t actually happened. Something to look forward to, yes?

That Charlie Brown strip ended with Lucy walking off in the last panel with the synonyms for “impossible question to answer” trailing behind her. Picture me in the same way, still thinking, still wondering, still searching…

Inspiring Message of the Day: To be happy means to be Present. When I am here, now, in my body, grounded in my life as it happens, there is no other happiness. What if the happiest moment of my life could occur over and over again throughout the day, each and every day because I am practicing True Presence? I will do my best to stay here today, in the happiness of Now.