I am increasingly liking the person I have become these days!
The journey to being able to even notice who i am has taken many lifetimes. Certainly the majority of this one! Recently I believe I have found what I call the ‘pearl of great price, which is worth giving all else up for’. It has come in the form of the teachings known as the Diamond Way, by one A.L. Almaas, and it involves a simple yet profound process of ‘self-inquiry’. I have finally discovered that IAM not alone or separate, as life on this planet would have me believe, and that Life not only shows up in me all the time as an on-going process, but that I have the power (which I believe is called free will) to choose whether or not to ease into alignment with it. That, or remain in the peripheral of life’s externals where the Oneness is drowned out by noise, busyness and maya. All of my life I have known instinctively that my master teacher, Jesus Christ, was right about much. The one I have never managed to experience, however, was the bit about being ‘one with the father’ that He wished for us, his followers.
Through the truths of Almaas and others, I have recently come to know this Oneness, which I do believe is that pearl of great price. And more than that, I have come to really love the One which IAM.
About three years ago shortly after I had started doing Transcendental Meditation (TM), I heard Maharishi (the founder) say that peace is a choice. Every time one chooses to sit quietly with the intention of being in ease or coherence, one is in fact making choosing peace. That choice for me, was followed by some mighty turbulent events like being scapegoated by the NGO I was running and after some really abusive behaviour toward me by staff and management, I was eventually fired! At the time, I was shattered and it has taken me all of the following year and a bit, to get to release from the myriad of consequences including the gifts, of that phase in my life.
I love my life as it is now. I love having the time to think, and pray, and rest. I love it that i have slowed right down to deep peacefulness. I have come to abhor busyness and find increasingly that I prefer being on my own to being with people. I have become a bit of a recluse! An illustration of how great my life has become, is perhaps best shown by an incident that happened earlier today. An incident that most would have overlooked in their busy rush to serve Mammon, and just over a year ago, this would have included me.
This morning I went to the Woodstock Hospital to get my monthly medications. I am grateful for this service which saves me about R2000 every month, and keeps me alive and in a fine quality of health. Although I don’t have medical aid, I do have medical aide. Ultimately I know that I am in the hands of God and that, like the birds of the air and the lillies of the field, I too am ‘counted’.
Because the Pharmacy was running behind, I decided to take a walk into the Main Road of Woodstock. I was looking for a clock for my car, which got stolen when I forgot to lock my car earlier this week, and a pair of shoes. After finding a clock made in China and a fruitless search for shoes that I liked, in my size, and price range, I started home. The pavements in Woodstock are notoriously uneven and I remember how my mother used to have to walk carefully looking at every step of her journey. I find myself doing the same. It was perhaps by no chance then, that as I glanced down, amid the dirt and debris of a gutter clogged up from the recent rain showers, I saw a small dove cowering up against the wall of a shop window. I knew she had been injured.
Without much thought I bent down and lifted the little creature into my lap. It was very much alive but clearly traumatised, its wing broken and unable to walk or fly. Nestling her in my jersey, I stood up. Three men lounging against the shop window stared at me in puzzlement. “All of these are also God’s creatures,” I said. They nodded in agreement, maybe wondering why they hadn’t thought of that. They picked up perhaps, on something of the deep honour I was feeling, at having the chance to be so up close and personal with one of God’s great handiworks, a pigeon. I had watched a National Geographic recently, a show on The Mighty Pigeon, where it said that the pigeon is a truly a great miracle of nature. I am feeling this way about many things these days. Sometimes I stare at my cat and simply marvel at the exquisite design and functioning of that tiny body with its spirit of life and love very much alive in it. How can such a tiny thing, I sometime think, play such a significant role in my life and be responsible for such great love?
So nestling the pigeon in my jersey, I started up the hill toward my house. I hadn’t gone far when a stranger stopped me, “What do you have there” he enquired? I looked into a pair of beautiful, kind, hazel eyes.
“It’s a little pigeon,” I replied. “She has been injured”.
He smiled knowingly as I walked on not wanting to delay my little friend’s suffering.
I wondered what I should do with the bird. I could not bring her home where I have a cat. Tinks would not kill her, I thought, she is too tame to do that, but she would stalk the bird and frighten it even more.
The only place I could think of was the large untended garden in the Woodstock Hospital grounds across the road from where I live. So I walked through the gate and said to the security guard, “I have an injured bird.”
“Take it to the reception,” he said somewhat dismissively.
I made my way carefully through the tall grass around to the back of the building where an old swimming pool in a walled garden provides refuge for many fury and feathered creatures. A black cat stirred in the grass and blinked up at me. Its large green eyes picking up my energy and not showing any signs of concern.
The dove was quiet. I realised that minimal intervention from me would be best. So I stroked her head ever so lightly and continued to just radiate love toward her. Now and then I said softly, “Im not going to hurt you little one, don’t be afraid.”
Behind the wall, under a bush I found some plastic sheeting where water had collected. I gently placed her down. She took a step but I saw that she had a bad limp. I wondered what had happened to her. Both her right wing and leg were broken.
Suddenly, the pain of this world got to me. I felt the tears well up as I realized the vulnerability of Gods creatures in this world of ours. Through my tears, I prayed. “Well, God”, I said, “You said that even the hairs on our heads are numbered. So Into your hands, now, Father, I commend this, your little creature. Please keep her safe or take her life swiftly and painlessly.”
I sometimes think that this world is the Devil’s Playground and without our choices, decisions and intentions to the contrary, it can be a very painful and unhappy place. I experienced the power of prayer recently after my mother had a stroke. I had been deeply seeking answers to the pre-destination vis free will conundrum as she lay suffering. Many were saying that it is all in God’s timing and in God’s hands. This led me to question then, what our role is? I was shown that it is our role as shown by the great Master, that if we have the conviction, we can indeed ‘move mountains’. I had prayed with all my might that the suffering ended for my mother. Two nights later she died.
In the process of writing this blog, I burned the toast! This is not new behaviour with me, I often do it. The difference today, I notice, is that I am not in the slightest bit stressed about it. When I was working last year, in my frenetic job of ‘saving the world’, I experienced a great deal of anger, irritation and impatience with myself when I did things like leave the stove on or burn the toast. Today, it’s just a simple smile, and briefest passing thought, Oh, I burned the toast, what else can I eat. No stress!
Of course I do still experience stress from time to time, but it’s nothing like the life I lived before. I am still of course, subjected to every demand and requirement of the world, and I have seen a real way to be in in it but not of it. I am thankful for that.
So what will happen to the bird? I don’t know1 And once again, I when I notice myself and my choices this morning. I sed that my heart is more open to Life and that love these days, which flows through me to many of God’s creatures. I noticed that , quite spontaneously this morning, I said to the woman at the Woodstock pharmacy window, that she had such a lovely smile and how much of a positive difference her sweet attitude makes to those of us queuing up at the window. She was pleased that I said that.
So many will never see the small wounded bird on the street, or notice the spirit of the person behind the window, and many more will never read the great works of AH Almaas, or get fired from their job, and do TM.
But perhaps some will burn the toast or lose their keys, and probably get down on themselves for not being able to keep up with the insane dehumanising demands of this world. Like I was, they too will choose to spend most of their energy on the things of this world like food and shelter. And it is perhaps for these, birds of another kind, with broken wings and broken legs, wounded by Life’s demands, that I write these words today. That I extend the love in my heart and with deep gratitude and thankfulness I say, ‘Father, into thy hands, I commit my friends and family.”