Most of us are like that. Perhaps external weather conditions don’t challenge us, but when our lives get socked in by metaphoric dark clouds, we too narrow our focus. The screen of our awareness shrinks so that our discomfort entirely fills it. Discontent is all we see.
While there may be truth in our misery, we deceive ourselves when we fixate on that misery at the exclusion of all else. There is always more.
The fact that we are not aware of the wonder that lies outside the confines of our meager vision does not render that immensity non-existent. Just like the sun shining on the far side of the clouds, beauty and peace exist whether or not we perceive them in a given moment.
Remaining cognizant of the vast reservoir of life is the task of evolving consciousness. Choosing our focus wisely, particularly in times of difficulty, is a skill we must cultivate.
The Gospel of Thomas is one of the ancient texts unearthed in Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945. Echoing Christ’s statement in Luke 17:20-21 that “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you,” Thomas too cites Jesus urging his disciples to recognize heaven on earth. In Thomas 113 and 3 respectively, Jesus says, “…the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it,” and “…the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you.”
How do we learn to recognize heaven here amid earthly concerns? Answers to this question are provided by many spiritual traditions, a multitude of methods offered for every temperament and situation. These are the things that work for me.
- I begin each day with a period of silence. I orient myself to a larger vision and set my intention to honor that perspective throughout my day.
- As the hours unfold, I try to notice and respond promptly and effectively when my screen contracts. When my vision is consumed with a petty annoyance, for example, I consciously enlarge my view.
- When I encounter true pain in myself or others, I strive to bear loving witness rather than collapse into despair or rush into attempts to force a change. I try to broaden my sight, reminding myself that there is much, so much, that lies beyond the largest vision I can ever hope to attain.
- I bring my awareness to the present moment periodically. Whether washing my hands or walking down the street, I breathe with the fullest presence possible to me.
- I invite peace into my life through the activities I engage in and the attitude with which I enter them. I consciously seek and open to joy.
And life is infinitely patient with me, taking me by the hand each time I fall and raising me up once again.
There is a great vibrating pulse that thrums through us and around us. Just because it is so often outside our awareness does not make it any less real.
The kingdom is spread upon the earth. It is for us to develop eyes to see.
Have a lovely couple of weeks!
PS. For a delightful little book that makes clear the importance of our perspective, you might enjoy Zoom, but Istvan Banyai