Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Everyday Miracles

"A Sacred Moment"
- in my meditation garden -

I sat quietly yesterday, tucked away into a little corner of a restaurant eating my lunch.  As I read a book on my Kindle, oblivious to the outside world, a little girl with twinkling eyes and clothed in a flowered dress stood directly in front of me, staring and smiling. I’m not sure why, but little children often stop and stare at me (my wife says it’s because they think I look like Santa Claus); but whatever the reason, I always find such encounters to be sacred moments, little miracles in my ordinary day.

I used to think that a miracle was some kind of supernatural occurrence, something well out of the ordinary.  Someone is cured of cancer and that’s a miracle, Jesus turns water into wine and that’s a miracle, Moses parts the Red Sea and that’s a miracle. I have now come to believe that miracles are nothing like that.

As I see it, a miracle is a little doorway that often opens to us, a window into our everyday life allowing us to look into the “really-real” world of our ordinary routine, showing us that we all live in a world of extraordinary beauty and wonder every minute of every day.

The sun rises in the desert skies - and that’s a miracle. Two fiends embrace, enemies are reconciled - and that’s a miracle. An innocent child with a flowered dress stands before me and smiles with twinkling eyes - and that’s a miracle.

I am reminded of a wisdom saying attributed to the Buddha:

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly,
our whole life would change.

I find a profound truth in this one simple sentence. Over and over again I have discovered that, whenever I am roused out of my distractions in life and pay attention to the miraculous revelations of the moment, my life changes - always.

Yesterday, a few-second gaze of a sweet little child was, like any miracle, life-changing for me.  No, I didn’t go home and sell all I have to feed the poor, but because of the miracle of that single moment I became a bit more “enlightened,”  a bit more aware of my connectedness to the world outside my own self-centered ego, a bit more gentle and little more kind.

So today I will try to be more aware of the ordinary miracles of my everyday life, more attuned to the doors of revelation that are always opening to me and more willing to walk through those opened doors.

An ancient Zen master once said this of his everyday life:

When happy, I go alone into the mountains, such joy.
I walk until the water ends and sit waiting for the hour when the clouds rise.
If I happen to meet an old woodcutter, I chat with him,
laughing and lost to time.

Such a wonderful “miracle” story.

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