Life As Is

How we see life changes over time. When we are children or young adults, it stretches before us in vast waves of possibility and potential. In middle age, we become one with the waves and often forget about our own progress on the trajectory of life. Then as we begin to grow older, we may find ourselves looking more closely into the greater meaning of life and our own lives in particular. A subtle shift in language occurs: “my life” becomes “the rest of my life.” How strange that seems, both to hear and to say. That “rest” could be 30+ years or one year, no way of knowing. Of course, that is true at any time of our lives, but the longer we live, the deeper we feel that truth.

 As I look at my life, I feel both joy and sadness. Joy at the blessings that fill it, both people and experiences, and sadness at its ephemeral essence. Impermanence is the basic nature of life on Earth. Yet, full acceptance of that very impermanence is one of the greatest pieces of wisdom we can attain in our lifetime. At a certain point, we come to realize that all we are given here is rich beyond words. Language cannot fully express the wonder of living with eyes and heart wide-open on this sweet planet. The longer I live, the more profoundly I am touched by the beauty of Nature and the love of friends and family, realizing it is all fleeting and everlasting simultaneously.

Over time, I have come to surrender to life exactly as it presents itself. That is the essence of the spiritual journey I have been on for many years. Initially I was looking for a way to accept eternity, the stretch of infinity beyond my lifetime. What I found, and continue to find, is that that acceptance lies hidden in all the details of my daily life. Each tree, flower, or human soul I encounter is eternal, the entire universe held in its very beingness. When I stand in awe of that living Presence, I “hold infinity in the palm of my hand,” as William Blake wrote. Infinity, once a source of fear and suffering for me, instead becomes a source of liberation.

Humans invented time and space to try to explain the world and our lives. When we step away from that limited view, explanation is no longer necessary. We stand in eternal Presence, and within that is the meaning of life. What I have searched for most of my life is not what I thought it was. It is not an answer to a question, but rather living beyond questions and answers. This is what Ram Dass referred to as “loving awareness.” It is not something that can be explained but only experienced. And the longer you live, the deeper the experience.

Ultimately, we discover there is no end, nor any beginning. Definitions and parameters fall away, and all that is before and within me is life as is, both a miracle and a blessing. Human joy and sadness interweave within that vision. Every single experience is part of life, designed at the soul level for our expansion into awareness of the light that fills us—and everything.

Miracle Earth

Stop for a minute and consider where you are. You, along with billions of other living beings, live on a planet that rotates around a giant ball of fire at exactly the distance that allows for life to occur on it. Other planets circling the same fiery ball are not positioned so that life as we know it can be sustained. On Earth, the greens of the land and the blues of the oceans arise from the perfect blending of temperature and light. The lengths of the days and nights and the seasonal changes unfold seamlessly. That in itself is a miracle. Each day we take morning, afternoon, and night for granted. We take the warmth of the sun for granted. We take the air that we breathe for granted. Yet all of it is miraculous.

And fragile. We are repeatedly counseled to care for this Earth with tenderness, as if she were our Mother. As she is. Without her (and Father Sun), we would not exist. This small blue and green marble in the midst of millions of galaxies and universes is unique. A tiny cell in the cosmos. An expression of universal consciousness, as are each of us who live here. Is this not a miracle to keep us in awe for the rest of our days here on Earth?

Sometimes I imagine myself floating among the stars, multiverses stretching in every direction beyond my ability to even fully conceive of them. I picture myself part of an infinite tapestry of light and beingness. Eternity unleashed. Such an imagined vision used to frighten me—and at times still does. Yet, more and more, I feel the miraculous beauty of it, and I am filled with peace. Peace beyond understanding or definition. I experienced such boundless peace in the recovery room after breast cancer surgery two years ago; I felt myself held by a Presence that both calmed and comforted me.  Ever since, it seems not that far away. If I allow that awareness to arise from soul memory, then everything shines with that grace, that divine peace, that miracle. There is nothing else.

If you open your heart wide enough (or it is cracked open by circumstance), you will be gifted with your own version of the miraculous, and it will never leave you. Each one of us on this planet is destined to receive this wonder: an entire universe present in every seemingly small detail of our expansive, infinitely unfolding lives.

And you don’t have to go through surgery to experience it! Take a walk through the spring woods, look up at the starry night sky, watch the brilliant colors of a sunset, or share a sacred moment of connection with a loved one. It’s all there, right before you, 24/7. Spirit finds you at just the right moment in your life and opens the door wide. You were born on planet Earth to be part of the miracle.