In his book, ”Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home”, Richard Foster tells of an old sage who asked his disciples,
“How can we know when the darkness is leaving and the dawn is coming?”
“When we can see a tree in the distance and know that it is an elm and not a juniper,” one student responded.
“When we can see an animal and know it is a fox and not a wolf,” replied another.
“No,” said the teacher.
Puzzled, the students asked for an answer.
The sage replied,
“We know the darkness is leaving and dawn is coming when we can see another person and know that it is our brother or sister; otherwise, no matter what time it is, it’s still dark.”
Imagine what would happen in our lives if, in our meditations, we visualized the following:
…we truly see that everyone is our brother or our sister.
…we greet each one feeling, “Wow, wow! How wonderful to see you! Thank you for appearing in this form.”
…we imagine embracing soul to soul…one Consciousness peering out of two sets of eyes, recognizing itself and bowing.
Nothing is more commendable than to live lyrically, to make our lives a continuous song of experience. Depending on how we choose, the vibrations of music can calm us, stir us, and inspire us. Certain music, like frequencies of light, can also be very healing, permeating and affecting every cell through which it passes.
Touching the music of the soul, your feet begin to tap, and your lips start to quiver. When the rhythm infects you, you must dance, and when the melody catches you, you must sing. This is the law of living musically.
To let go into the music, to dance, to spin and sway as the sounds resound in your bones. To feel your feet grow lighthearted as they sweep you along to the rhythm of the music, is to touch in to the harmonies of the soul.
Vincent van Gogh said it so well…
“In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism and skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically.”
Oh, but why wait till the end? The music won’t allow it. The time to dance and sing is NOW. There will be plenty of odd days when your feet won’t budge, your lips won’t open, and any amount of music will leave you flat.
So be sure to sing and dance – though it is only in your soul – on the even days.
Laughter can actuate our total being and recharge the whole system. It stirs up the blood, clears away the cobwebs from the brain, and gives the whole system a cleansing. Laughing at our human faults takes away their sting, reducing them to minor annoyances, the kind that are easily forgotten when we have developed a healthier perspective.
One temptation that besets many of us is that we take ourselves so seriously that we begin to attach great weight to unimportant matters. Laughter is a wonderful tool for shaping us back down to size. It’s a gift of the human spirit, and sometimes it is the only weapon we have against official absurdity.
Instead of always taking the rational approach, with humor we can tap in to an inner well of spontaneous delight. We can choose to see that we live in a world a many illusions and that much of human belief and behavior is conditioned nonsense.
Laughter flips the world upside down and backward until everything becomes perfectly clear.
It is our true nature to have an open heart, as much as it is the true nature of a flower to open up in the sunlight. An open heart can deliver us and heal us in ways our minds can scarcely imagine.
When the mind sinks into the heart, and vice versa, there is healing. And when we heal on this deeper, more enduring level, we will radically impact the heart of the world. It’s time to seek and enjoy that sense of union, to fall in love once again with the soulfulness of one another.
There is a preciousness about life that we’ve lost and desperately need to recapture. We cannot spend hours living in our brains, tied to technology, deadlines, and schedules and ignore our heart’s cry to reconnect to flesh, bone, soil, grass, and the joy of loving one another and the earth.
No matter how sophisticated or technological we become, this truth never changes. No matter how old or wise we become, we never lose our deep, basic need to connect with the soulfulness of one another’s heart.
It’s time we shower life with unconditional love and grace. It’s time to plead the case for compassion. We’ve done our head work, now let’s address our heart work.
What if we decided to meet life unreservedly and nakedly? How would our life change?
The freshness of life would open up to us and a sense of abundance would emerge in what has already been given. When we enclose life too closely, we experience it as continuously scarce.
The awakened moment is an unprotected meeting with “what is”, a full contact sport. The journey of practice is located right in the middle of life, and our true calling is to find out what it is to be a human being.
The quest is about transformation rather than perfection. No moment is unwanted and, thus, our awakening is possible right where we are. We are invited to be intimate with the world and experience the bones and breath of each precious moment.
The news today is filled with accounts of terror and violence. Nothing gets our attention quite like loss and tragedy. Hurt stretches us, pushes us to grow, to develop new levels of ourselves. We have many lessons to learn in life, and each one is generally punctuated with an experience of pain.
What we find, however, as we look deeper within, is that our rage, our fears do not stay forever. Rage turns into sorrow, sorrow turns into tears, tears that may fall for a long time, but then the sun comes out. The armoring around our pain gradually softens, and in the midst of our grieving the pain finally finds release. It is at this point that we discover that our hearts can grow strong in the broken places.
In our issue-oriented world, we think the enemy is outside, and we must struggle against those who are outside our group, our party. When we seek to strike back and blame, we distract ourselves from an exquisite opportunity to pay attention, to see, even in the pain, a place of grace, a moment of spiritual promise and healing.
Finally, we are called to seek wholeness inside ourselves and to be agents for peace. When we are growing toward wholeness, we will be a source of life for the world around us. Perhaps a deeper understanding of this is what we came here to discover.
…If you’re obsessive/compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.
…If you’re co-dependent, have someone else press 2 for you.
…If you have a multiple personality disorder, press 3, 4, and 5.
…If you’re schizophrenic, let the little voices tell you what number to choose.
…If you’re manic depressive, hang up. We don’t want to talk to you and no one will answer anyway.
…If you’re paranoid, stay on the line. We know why you’re calling and what you want, and we’re tracking the call.