We hear the term "miracle" used in a variety of contexts, mostly religious, spiritual or new thought. We often think of "miracles" as the "impossible" or the "unbelievable" or extremely "unlikely". But I believe and know, that when one is truly present, when we are free of (or can see between the cracks of) the layers of protection and numbness that's accumulated since we were children, that miracles exist all day, every day, and that true perception includes the awareness and experience of the miraculous with every breath, and every step, in every moment.
In the last year or two something unexpected has happened to me. A change in my awareness, in the way that I perceive and experience my life has been consistently and sometimes not so subtly unfolding. Most of it is based on (and seems to get amplified in) my experience of the Natural World or Nature. I just read today that Eckhart Tolle often says that "nature is a portal to presence". I couldn't agree more!!! I feel like I'm learning to experience life, my environment, nature, with an added "sense" that I haven't had before. A sense that has more to do with being in intimate relationship with the larger natural world and Universe. It sometimes feels like a kind of "download" from a greater reality. A download that can't really be perceived by the mind, but instead experienced by my entire being in way that my mind isn't capable of comprehending. It's like a full body, full sensory state of being that includes my mind but is centered in my heart or my soul. The experience is not linear or dualistic, and it's not thought driven or rationally explainable.
What I'm trying to convey cannot be created by the mind and cannot take place while the mind is operating in a "thinking" and "reasoning" capacity. So being able to calm or bypass the mind is a valuable tool. Meditation and Nature can help with this a great deal. I'm not new to this path. For several decades I've been exploring various tools, resources and practices to clear my self of old "baggage", connect to my essential self and get "present". Nature is a living, thriving energy with "no mind", purely essence and expression of presence. And when I'm in nature, especially some place that I love, it's easier for me sense to what degree I am being present and then use my mind (and heart and body) to help me evaluate and release what is keeping me from being more fully present. I KNOW what it feels like to be fully present in nature, therefore I can tell when I'm not. And when I'm not, there's always some thought, feeling, obstacle, unclarity, blocked emotion, limiting thought, perception or fear, that is keeping me from a full experience of the present moment.
I've always had a strong bond and appreciation for nature's beauty, peace and healing powers. But these new experiences are so much more than this. It's as if a veil of numbness or blindness is being lifted and I'm becoming more aware of how amazing and unexplainable "existence" is. My initial openings seemed to be connected to the sun and clouds. I literally felt called to the sunsets, to go to the oceans edge and gaze at the sun quietly with my full attention. At first it was surprising. I'd be driving and look over at the sunset and then I'd look again, and there it was, the sun was "calling" me. I felt like it was actually "seeing" me. There was mutual recognition (as crazy as that may sound). It totally felt like it was reaching out to me, giving me energy and nurturance and even imparting some kind of non-linear, non-mind information. Then the clouds started to seem so much more rich and full and "present" as well. I could perceive and experience their form and mass in a total way, like I was having a physical experience in my body of the clouds size, density and movement. They started to become "alive" and again, like the sun . . . communicative in a way that I had never experienced before. In placing my full attention on all the layers of clouds in the sky and watch their movements in various directions at once and dissolving and manifesting I felt like I was learning something unexplainable. Like I was resetting my perception to include all directions at once with multiple layers and depth, comparing it to linear and dualistic perception is like watching black & white television rather than looking out at real life. I started going to the beach about a half hour before the sunset. My excitement began to build. I realized that sometimes it took me a while to let go of my more limited reality and experience the larger, "real" world I had just discovered. So, I started heading to the beach about an hour or more before the sunset, then started lingering longer afterwards into the dark night sky and stars and moon. Then I started doing it in the mornings as well. I wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 everyday and prepare for my morning encounter with the miraculous. Now I spend 2 - 3 hours a day sitting at the oceans edge, sometimes in meditation and sometimes just being present with all that I see and feel.
Obviously you don't need to live near the ocean to do this. Just to be somewhere in nature that makes you feel good and connected will do. The stronger the integrity and presence of nature the easier it is to connect. The Natural World is the most true and essential manifestation of life. From a place of presence in your being you will experience it as a miracle. From a present place within you feel the wind against your skin, or the ocean rising and falling, the earth or sand beneath your feet and the life giving energy of the sun (from 93 million miles away), all completely different elements unifying together to create "life". It IS absolutely amazing. When you become truly present everything becomes a miracle. Life is an amazing experience of movement and stillness and color and sound and form and space in a way that is truly beyond comprehension. Our breath, our hearts beating, our awareness of self and others . . . all feel miraculous when experienced free of all the thoughts, distractions, resistances and attachments. I know, it's one thing to read about it and think about, but to "drop into" the experience with your self is totally and completely awe-inspiring and life altering.
I found that my expectations and desire for this experience were actually in the way of my having one. That there was no way to "create" the experience myself or control it in any way. The only thing that would help was to be present in as deep a way possible with my Self. To really "be" with my Self. Sometimes I'd have to release the stress I was holding by acknowledging to myself that I was holding it and letting myself feel it and dissolve it. Sometimes, I'd have to be aware that my mind was just "running" me with thoughts and ideas. Good thoughts, bad thoughts, whatever. "I" was too identified with my thoughts, my day, my interpretation of people and events. Even after removing layers and layers of "stuff" I'd have to surrender to the experience of what "is". Full surrender into the moment unconditionally without any expectation or desire. Not an easy task sometimes. Sometimes I'd sit there for two hours and just "drop-in" the last 10 minutes. Sometimes not at all. And sometimes I'd be able to let go and really show up almost immediately. Certainly years of practice of various forms of self discovery and emotional processing help to work with and dissolve layers of thought or feeling that is old and keeps me from being in the moment. AND I really think that there has been a major shift in what's available to us these last few years. I really feel that the present experience of the Universe or God is more accessible, tangible and present than ever before. I've heard it said that what was once available only to a select few is now available and WILL be experienced by everyone. Or . . . perhaps I'm just losing my mind? I love the phrase about losing your mind and coming to your senses. Or references to "unreasonable happiness". It touches upon the unexplainable brilliance of the present moment.
We are raised in this culture to experience life with our minds. To make comparisons and judgements and think in a linear, logical and dualistic fashion. We learned to separate, categorize, isolate and protect. I think it's essential that we grow beyond that old paradigm of reasoning. I think it's a paradigm that isn't useful any more. Victorian concepts of society, psychology and value are only a couple hundred years old. We barely discovered electricity a few seconds ago and for some reason we think we know about life and existence. It's what we think we know that keeps us from being in the present moment. We think that because we can name "water" and know a few things about it that it is something that we understand. Or gravity, or even the seed of life. Just because we can manipulate things we try and take credit for creating them. When you look at the world, the solar system, the sun, planets moving through space with clear eyes, with eyes of innocence and presence, then none of it makes sense. It's all beautiful wonderment. None of the things that we take for granted every day of our lives makes any real sense at all. But we accept it (or live in denial of the fact that it doesn't really make sense) and go about trying to do things that we CAN control and that do make sense. But for me, I think that "unknowing" is where it's at. Maybe that's just because I'm an artist, but I don't think so. I think we can all benefit from asking ourselves . . . what do we really know?
Here we are in bodies that last for a duration of many decades that grow from a small cell into full adults. We live on a large ball that we perceive as flat that is turning at about a 1,000 miles per hour while moving through space at over 67,000 miles per hour revolving around a sun that is also moving at over a half million miles per hour around the Milky Way Galaxy which takes over 200 million years to accomplish. But we don't really perceive any of this. We drive in our cars, go to work, movies, think about our careers and relationships, what's for dinner, etc. We think it's all important stuff. And we think we know a lot about life and living etc. What I find helps me to get present is to think about the larger picture. To think about and practice true perception and awareness of what "reality" really is. What truly exists in this moment. And as a musician I am always listening. I'm listening to the sound of the moment. The voice of life that pulsates and cries out in creative presence every second. We are alive and live in this unexplainable manifestation of the creative expression of the Universe (of God). We are a manifestation of the creative expression of the Universe (of God). There's nothing casual, normal, rational or understandable about it. Really . . . . there isn't.
Yes, life IS a miracle.