Moon, Sky and Trees, Glorieta, New Mexico 2004
With the coming of spring, I happened on a copy of a newsletter that I used to send out. The newsletter was called “Reflections from Awareness” and here is an excerpt from the Spring 2004 issue that I’d like to share with you, as an offering to the rebirth that is happening all around us. Blessings from the edge of the northern New Mexico wilderness 🙂
Grace. To walk in grace means to walk in Awareness. Awareness of the presence of love, affirmation and light. Awareness of the presence of spirit, of the great Whole of which you are a part. To experience grace is to enter into the flow of energy all around you. To experience grace is to experience oneness with all that is. You cannot fall from grace, but you can forget. You can feel separated, alone, under the control of old forces. To enter into a state of grace is to remember that which you know deep inside yourself: You are one. You are whole. The very fabric of the universe is the ground of your being. You can never be separated from that. Just as the stars shine in the night sky, your being is the light that emerges from the great source, the great void. People forget and so they need reminders. You can experience grace in the presence of a great teacher who radiates that presence. You can experience that grace in the presence of a tree, a rock, the sky. You can experience a state of grace by taking a breath and feeling the wonder and miracle of your own breath, in a moment of silence. Take a moment now to experience it. With the closing of the eyes and the intake of breath, a sudden stillness, an inner knowing: “I am one with all that is.
Now, dear friends, I’d like to share with you some of the wisdom and grace of the place where I live. From my house, I see no other houses. I see trees, pinon, juniper, and ponderosa pine, earth and rock. I have learned that if you live in a place long enough, and you pay attention, the spirits of the land and sky speak to you, and the place teaches you. I have lived here for many years. I haven’t always been a willing student. I miss town and people and I get tired of mud and silence. And yet, with great patience and wisdom, this valley teaches me about life in this world. A different kind of life, with a different rhythm, than the one I lived in town. The qualities I have learned here, though, are ones I need every day, in whatever city or town or country I find myself in. The valley teaches me about humor and patience. The valley teaches me to recognize and honor the presence of spirit everywhere, in everything.
Humor: How can we live without it? In the southwestern Native American tradition, the spirit of Coyote is called the Trickster. We hear the coyotes at night, all around the house. Coyote the Trickster teaches me to lighten up. Coyote says, you humans take yourselves so seriously, you are so self-important. Coyote is there always laughing at me, laughing with me, reminding me I can laugh at myself. At the dances and ceremonies of the Native American people here, there are sacred clowns. Even in the midst of important spiritual rituals, the clowns bring humor and poke fun. It’s as easy to get self-important about our spiritual path as anything else. Coyote teaches me to laugh at myself when I sit down and write big words about living with love and awareness and then ”¦get irritated that I have to get up and put on my boots to go outside to get wood for the fire or it will get really cold in the house. Then Coyote teaches me to laugh at myself for still wanting to not get irritated; after all, I’m no saint. Look how she still wants to be such a good girl, Coyote says.
Patience: This valley teaches me patience, the sky teaches, the earth teaches. Acceptance is another word for patience, acceptance of what is. Again, we humans think our agendas are so important. Here I learn that the beetle making its way slowly across the floor, the jay pecking at crumbs out my door, the wind whistling through the hills and raising the dust, all have agendas just as important as mine. I have to make way for the greater agenda. I learn to adapt myself to what is happening rather than trying to make what is happening adapt to me. So many people I know, including myself, have control issues. Of course we do. We come from a heritage, a culture, that teaches us to control, to go out and have dominion over the world. We look around now and we can see where that approach to life has gotten us. So here I begin to really learn a different way of being in the world. The land and the spirits teach me this way, and it is the basis for all the native traditions of the world, to live in harmony with all the relations. It is the foundation of the Native American way of being. It is there in the long ago roots of my own heritage, in ancient Celtic spirituality. We all have that heritage of living in harmony. Here I begin to remember it and learn how to integrate it into my modern life.
Honoring the presence of spirit: I realize more and more how blessed I am to have the experience of the presence of spirit on a daily basis. I continue to look for ways to share that with people. Here it is easy. Everything is lit with that spirit, vibrates with it. What do I mean by spirit? There are spirit beings, you can call them devas or angels or whatever you like, who are connected with the trees, the rocks, the sky and wind, with everything. I could say that spirit is the divine intelligence pervading all that is, so that when I communicate with the spirit of the water, I am communicating with the divine intelligence of the water, the essence of the water. I can call spirit the light in everything, that can be felt, or seen, or simply known. It is there in a certain of glimmer of light, a moment of stillness, a soft inhalation and exhalation of breath. It is there in a moment of awareness. It is there when I stop and feel the pulse, the rhythm, of the silence around me. The experience of spirit is the experience of grace. I use those words interchangeably.
I sit down, close my eyes, and invite the presence of Awareness. I sit with that Awareness quietly, breathing in and breathing out, aware of my breath. Then from that place of Awareness I invite the presence of spirit to reveal itself to me. What wishes to communicate today? Images, insights, feelings, knowings may arise. Or I may simply continue to sit in silence, aware of my breath, aware of my thoughts. The important thing is to make some space for the connection or communication to take place. Maybe that night I have a dream, or the next day someone says something to me that goes straight to my heart, or later in the same day I notice a sudden shift in my consciousness, a heightened awareness of a tree or a bird or a cloud. This is my way to connect with sprit, and I share it you from my heart, and from this valley, and hope that it may be of some help. I have learned also that spirit comes when you talk about it, when people share their stories of spirit, so may these words carry its presence.
Finally this, for those of you who live in busy cities and think, well, it is fine for her, she lives in this beautiful place, but how do I experience that grace? One of my most intense experiences of it came one morning at the Zurich Hauptbahnhof (main train station). It was early, and the light came through the glass roof in a certain glimmering way. There were hundreds of people coming and going, the board with the destinations and times was constantly turning, the trains were pulling in and pulling out. I stood there and felt the flow of energy swirling around me, and the ineffable presence of light, just as I feel it here in my canyon. Grace comes unexpectedly, on city streets, in crowded places. It’s there, when we stop and take a breath, and notice, everywhere, always. We need that experience more than ever, to carry us forward, to encourage us, to help us find our way. May it come to you wherever you are, today, tomorrow, the next day, always. Love to you this spring, time of rebirth and renewal”¦.
Angel of the Zurich Main Station, created by Niki de Saint Phalle
©2004 Donna Thomson