Thursday, April 21, 2016

Surrounded by Miracles

"A Single Flower"
- At the Desert Retreat House-

Yesterday, while having lunch at a local restaurant with our family and our baby grandson here visiting us, I noticed that whenever a waitress or folks at nearby table caught sight of our beautiful little baby boy with his big bright smile, their faces would break out into a joyous look that made it almost look like they were shining. I must admit that I am somewhat biased when it comes to our grandson, but he does have a type of an infectious smile that babies can often give you almost forcing you to smile back.

Yesterday It struck me how that one bright little smile from a little baby shining his light on the people in that restaurant was a sacred moment, a little miracle in an ordinary day, a “bright spot” in the lives of all the people who encountered him in a very ordinary place.

I used to think that a miracle was some kind of extraordinary supernatural occurrence,  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 far more than that.

As I see it, a miracle is a window into our everyday life that opens up 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 friends embrace, enemies are reconciled - and that’s a miracle. An innocent child smiles with twinkling eyes and everyone’s face “lights up” - and that’s a miracle.

Every day we are surrounded by miracles if we are just awake enough to be aware of them.

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

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly,
our while 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 a little pebble thrown into a pond that ripples and ripples. An infectious little smile lit up the faces of those people in a restaurant and perhaps they, in turn, went out and were just a bit nicer and a bit more kind, perhaps a bit more “enlightened” than they otherwise might have been were it not for the miracle of a baby’s smile.

Our grandson is with us all week long- I wonder what other miracles he may have in store for us.

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.


  1. Paul, your sentence 'when I am roused out of my distraction' really struck me. Because that's it isn't it. We have to again and again be aware that we are distracted and find ways to come back to the here and now and then POW! this whole, big, beautiful, dancing, amazing world floods right in! Where we see the everyday miracles that are strewn with abandon everywhere we look. It is like taking off the veil and seeing clearly the jewels and treasures that are shining in each and every moment. I make it my purpose to remove that veil as often as I can, even when it is so thick and heavy that I can only lift a corner, because 'to rouse myself from distractions' is when I breathe in a world that swells my heart. xxx

    1. I love the image of breathing in that swells up the heart.