If you do not already know of Mark Nepo, I am excited to introduce you to him. I saw Mark interviewed years ago and was moved to buy his "THE BOOK OF AWAKENINGS".
I have since bought and given out close to 40 copies of it to others. The book is one amazing, wise, spiritual passage after another. It always seems to be just what I need, for each day of the year. I always say, "all of us have just 2 minutes to be enlightened." I am now thrilled to have a forum to share some of these Awakenings with all of you. Around my house we say "Mark Rocks!"
At the Pace of Creation
The first breath is always life giving
Slowing how we think and feel and take in the world is directly related to being centered. The wisdom traditions all have some form of meditation or prayer that is aimed at slowing us into this center, where the very pace of creation breathes. In their own way, all spiritual practices help us re-claim this centeredness, because being centered in this way plunges us, again and again, into that unseeable stream in which life is continually vital and refreshed.
At the pace of creation, all things breathe the same way. So, when we slow and open and center ourselves, we breathe in unison with all of life, and breathing this way we draw strength from all of life. When we slow down and breathe, we reach like trees into everything open, and whole skies of cloud drift in unison with the dreams of an entire people. If we can slow to the pace of creation, truth will sweep like a flock of birds from the mountains we climb. At the pace of creation, the beginning enters us and we are new.
When courageous enough to relax our soul open, the pace at which our mind thinks slows to the pace at which our heart feels, and , amazingly, together, they unfold the rhythm with which our eyes can see the miracle waiting in all that is ordinary.
The Taste of Sky
Of magic doors there is this, you do not see them even though you are passing through.
Often as we are being transformed, we cannot tell what is happening. For a while in the midst of staying afloat, it is next to impossible to see the ocean we are being carried into. While struggling with the pain of change, it is often impossible to see the new self we are becoming. While freeing our hand pried loose by experience, we seldom can imagine what will fill it once it is opened. As the days rinse our heart, we can feel something unseeable scour us through, though we can't imagine how much fresher milk and sky and laughter will taste once we are returned to the feel of being new.
We Share the Same River
The river’s now in me...
I was traveling in South Africa and felt very tender one morning, when my friend Kim came upon me as I was weeping. She asked if I was okay. I told her it was only the waters of life splashing up my shore. Later that day, I found her near tears and checked in with her. She said, “The river’s now in me.”
We looked into each other and realized that we all share the same river. It flows beneath us and through us, from one dry heart to the next. We share the same river. It makes the Earth on living thing.
The whole of life has a power to soften and open us against our will, to irrigate our spirits, and in those moments, we discover that tears, the water from within, are a common blood, mysterious and clear. We may speak different languages and live very different lives, but when that deep water swells to the surface, it pulls us to each other.
We share the same river, and where it enters, we lose our stubbornness the way fists wear open when held under in the stream of love.
All the buried seeds crack open in the dark the instant they surrender to a process they can’t see.
What a powerful lesson is the beginning of spring. All around us, everything small and buried surrenders to the process that none of the buried parts can see. And this innate surrender allows everything edible and fragrant to break ground into a life of light that we call spring.
By nature, we are all quietly given countless models of how to give ourselves over to what appears dark and hopeless, but which ultimately is an awakening that is beyond all imagining. This moving through the dark into blossom is the threshold to God.
As a seed buried into the earth cannot imagine itself as an orchid or hyacinth, neither can a heart packed with hurt imagine itself loved or at peace. The courage of the seed is that once cracking, it cracks all the way.
"So what does it mean to be a spiritual warrior? It is far from being a soldier, but more the sincerity with which a soul faces itself in a daily way. It is the courage to be authentic that keeps us strong enough to withstand the heartbreak through which enlightenment can occur. And it is by honoring how life comes through us that we get the most out of living, not by keeping ourselves out of the way. The goal is to mix our hands in the earth, not to stay clean."
“Seeing into darkness is clarity. This seeing is called practicing eternity.” La-Tzu
Fear gets its power from our not looking, at either the fear or what we’re afraid of. Remember that attic or closet door which something terrifying waited, and the longer we didn’t look, the harder it was to open that door?
As a boy, this obsessed me until I would avoid that part of the house. But, finally, when no one was home, I felt compelled to face the unknown. I stood before the attic door for the longest time, my heart pounding. It took all my small inner boy strength to open it.
I waited at the threshold, and nothing happened. I inched my way in and stood in the dark, even longer, until my breathing slowed and to my surprise, my eyes grew accustomed to the dark. Pretty soon, I was able to explore the old musty boxes and found some pictures of my grandmother, my father’s father, the only one in the family that I am like. Seeing those pictures opened me to aspects of my spirit.
It seems whatever the door, whatever our fear – be it love or truth or even the prospect of death – we all have this choice, again and again; avoiding that part of our house, or opening the door and finding out more about ourselves by waiting until what is dark becomes seeable.