Last night I witnessed the most magical thing; the summer night sky twinkling with the light of what felt like thousands of fireflies. It filled me with such wonder and awe. A short, but booming thunderstorm had passed through the area earlier in the evening and now it was dark. I went out to get something from the car, happened to look up and found the sky glimmering in and out of existence. I stood silently observing for a little while, drinking in the beauty, until the list of “things to do” came crashing through my brain again. But I went inside retaining a little bit of that expansiveness that I had just a moment ago touched.
How many miracles do we miss each day simply because we are not present to receive them?
It felt to me like I chanced upon another dimension of existence. I was transported beyond myself. Yet how many other nights had I missed those very same fireflies? The fireflies sparkled many nights before, but I never saw them.
Because we are caught in our heads much of the time, we forget to relax back into ourselves. We forget who we are. Our connection with divine becomes obscured. There is so much beauty to behold. There is so much for which to be grateful. The beauty in the world is almost overwhelming. It is literally everywhere. One just needs to open up to it. You can take anything and if you "try" to give it love, try to see its beauty you will open to "each other" in profound ways. In reality, you are just reclaiming a piece of yourself that you had perhaps overlooked or forgotten. The world exists as a mirror to show you your own beauty. If something is ugly to you do you find yourself opening or contracting? What does it say to about you? Could there be "ugliness" within you? Are you seeing clearly? Are you able to be the space for whatever shows up? Take anything, a rock, a shovel, a chair, a piece of art, a red light, a spider, your toilet. It literally can be anything because everything is worth loving and you are love. Love includes all. It excludes nothing. We think that some things are worth loving and other things are not. But is that true? Examine it for yourself? When you give something love, you expand. Try it for yourself? People think that when they love someone or something, that it is the other thing that they love. And that is true to some extent. What they often do not realize is that the love is within themselves the whole time. We resonate with the outward flow of love through us. It is the contraction of love that often hurts. It is the closing down which is painful. When we surrender to the flow of love, when "we" disappear and only love is present, the divine is experienced. It is but the flow of the essence of ourselves towards another part of ourselves. Lila. The enlightened "know" that to reject anything, to resist anything, is to create suffering. It is to essentially to cut off the flow.
Experiment: Sit quietly for a few minutes. Pay attention to your breath or a candle or the sounds of where you are. After you have settled in for a few minutes, take any object in your surroundings and give it love. It can be something you love dearly like your favorite pair of blue jeans or something neutral like a stool, or something you don't like, like smoke. "Try" to give it love for a few minutes. What does that mean? Well, let your heart decide exactly what that means. As you give it love, observe your thoughts about that object as you bring love to it? Observe your own emotions. Try to bring your attention to your own awareness. Do you find yourself judging the exercise? Did it feel mechanical at first? Did it feel the same at the end of the exercise as it did in the beginning? Do YOU feel the same at the end of the exercise as at the beginning? Did nothing happen?
Again, as always, there are no right or wrong answers, only inquiry and observation.
Another way to open to the beauty of the world is through our bodies, through our senses. We have been given these extraordinary bodies which are capable of so much. So often our senses are employed passively. So often we do not bring our awareness to the richness of truly experiencing the world through these modalities. Instead, we remain lost in our heads. We touch things but do we really feel them? We eat things but do we really savor them? We see things but do we really even look at them? What is the experience of truly being with something? What happens to you? Appreciation, love and gratitude appear when you start using your senses. You can quickly short circuit your thinking mind by attending to any sense with your whole being. In fact, bring your whole self to anything you are doing and see what happens.
Currently I find myself thinking of the lyrics of the soundtrack to a favorite movie when I was a child, Born Free. It always made me cry. It always touched my soul. In particular, the second verse "Born Free and beauty surrounds you, the world still astounds" you is resonating as I again watch the fireflies majestically take their place in the sky tonight.
What was the last thing that took your breath away?