Thursday, July 30, 2015

a very simple secret...

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When I was eight a thought kept coming to me. "What am I missing? What am I not seeing? What is around the corner?" A childish, nonsensical question? Maybe, but somehow I did trust there were magic gardens and another side to the moon.

As I grew I kept discovering there were various sides to life and that most were invisible to the human eye but not to the human heart. The latter seemed to have had its own intuitive powers of seeing. I also learned, if I wanted to claim life's freedoms, its sacred heart, I could not put my trust, merely in the side I could see.

In early adulthood, wanting to learn how to draw, I found a classically-trained art teacher who lived near our home. With pencil, paper and enthusiasm I arrived at his door. Ready to draw that first line, his first instruction stopped me as he said, "I am not going to teach you to draw. I am going to teach you to see. Puzzled I thought, "but I can."  As I drew and painted, I learned I had to account for the whole head, the whole tree and not just the visible part. That line under the cheek bone, for example, had to take the eye around the unseen part of the head and come out relating to the other cheek bone for it to complete its natural wholeness.

I proceeded to learn when seeing "rightly", everything natural completes a circle from visible to invisible. There is the other side of the moon, the earth and the rainbow. Winter is invisible to summer but summer will come. The sun cannot be seen nor its warmth felt through the clouds but it never falls from its orbit in the sky.

I continued learning. Another side of anger is sadness and of fear is love. Then, there is the other side of me. What does encompass my wholeness? What is beyond this one-sided self that is always in danger of poster-like living? As a writer I depend on the the next word, the next thought that comes from seemingly "nowhere". What is the other side of speaking; where do the words come from? Is there a language of the invisible? Maybe, it is our intuition, instinct, imagination and a knowing deeper than logic and reason. Maybe, the wind speaks at the exact moment of a deeper thought telling me to wake up, pay attention.

However, most times, this living is a trust walk or I might never take pen in hand. My ancient friend who was more on the invisible side than this one, used to say to my doubt-ings, "You don't need to see oxygen to know it is there." I only recognize wind exists when it moves the trees or cools my cheek. The white caps on the lake are dancing to something. When feeling moves me I know it exist and no longer have to wonder, "What comes next?" In fact, it all existed before I sat at the computer this morning. I merely have to "join the dots" from one side to the other.

Yet, I still ask "my eight year old" questions?  What am I missing? What can't I see? Where is my wholeness when drinking my morning coffee or suffering from inner and/or outer wounded-ness? Trusting only one side too often leaves me flying on less then one wing or maybe on one little feather.  Yet if I peek in, through and beyond the visible, there it is with it's palpable joy and a love force which cannot be measured but can transform one, instantly.* This magical garden where the heart beats and the rainbow points echoes through the canyons of my life.

Yes, there is a secret, a very simple secret... We are always larger than our stories. What is essential is, it's the sun's birthday,** the birthday of life, love and the invisible-visible...

photo source:
* paraphrase: Barbara de Angelis
** paraphrase: e.e. cummings

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Gift...

"This little flute of a reed (me) thou hast carried over hills and dales,
and hast breathed though it melodies eternally new.
At  the immortal touch of thy hand ... my heart loses it limits in
joy and gives birth to utterances ineffable."  Rabindranath Tagore

“My breath” I have always claimed as mine. I am healthy so I take it for granted. It moves in and out of my lungs unnoticed like a trusty old pump. Yet following my breath in meditation often leads me to a love of Presence.

Breath is a gift given to me at birth, taken from me at death. Even though, it is a life force of its own, independent of me, I think of it as merely air - lifeless and inanimate. Every living thing breathes.

A new thought startles me. What if my breath is not mine? What if breath is animate, a life force that the mystics call the Beloved. Many of the world religions connect spirit to breath. Tagore was a Hindu witnessing, “thou has breathed through {me}  melodies ever new....”  The writer of the old Christian hymn implored, “Breathe on me breath of God, Fill me with life anew....”  Both are a lover’s witness and a lover’s request.

So it is not me breathing, it is me receiving. Imagine, ordinary breathing is the breath of Presence which lives with me, acknowledges me, accompanies me and loves me unconditionally. Can it be, when I breathe in, the Spirit makes love, when I breathe out I make love?

As my fingers dance on these keys, I accept this Gift.  I draw this Breath in slowly, release it gently. I hear the bird songs which a minute ago, like my breathing, were ignored. And, I feel love.

Photo source: Lisa Teryl