Sunday, May 23, 2010

Eternity in a Dew Drop

“The only aspect of time that is eternal is now.” A Course in Miracles. I am spending a few days at my cabin in the mountains. I sleep in a small loft on a mattress on the floor. There is a window right at my head. In the window hangs a prism that, on a sunny morning, scatters tiny rainbows on the pillows and on the sloped roof just above my head. They only last a minute or two.

Later, if I’m lucky, I can sit on the deck and watch the sun sparkle in dew drops hanging on the tips of deep green branches on the surrounding pines and firs. It looks like forest fairies have tied thousands of diamonds on the trees during the night. As the sun moves and as the breeze whispers, rainbow colors flash here and there.

What an exquisite reminder to be here now. How tempting it is to try to grasp and hold onto this beauty. As the light changes, I move my head just slightly trying to adjust the angle to prolong the brilliance. Maybe I can sustain it a few more seconds, but then it is gone.

This morning I caught myself even as I was enthralled with the display thinking about writing about it. How quick I am to start living in the shadow land of “about.” Oh, look how beautiful this is–I can write about it! And I start writing in my head instead of watching the dew diamonds dance.

Sometimes when I’m meditating, I start thinking about whatever technique I’m using. I start imagining how I would teach someone how to use it. Instead of meditating, I am thinking about meditating. Now that’s pathetic. I have to laugh and call myself back to the moment. Attend.

Once in my youthful travels, I visited Banff National Park in British Columbia. In all my travels, I cannot remember any scenery that was more breathtaking than that. I was standing on the side of a mountain looking below me at meadows filled with wildflowers. Across the valley and in the distance, snow capped peaks cut the horizon as far as I could see. Above me the sky was the clearest deepest blue you could ever imagine.

And what was I doing? Taking pictures. Suddenly I stopped and realized the futility of my efforts to keep this vista forever. No matter how skilled I was (and I wasn’t), no photo could preserve the feel or fragrance of the crisp pure air, or the totality of the scene before my eyes. Without another thought I threw my camera off the cliff! (It was a cheap camera and I was not enlightened enough at that time to think about the environmental faux pas.) I raised my hands to the sky and turned my face to the sun. I took a deep breath and smiled.

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