Have you ever gazed up into the infinity of space on a clear night, awestruck by the absolute stillness and vastness of it? Presence is needed to become aware of the beauty, the majesty, the sacredness of nature. The mind needs to be still. Otherwise, you will see but not see, hear but not hear. ~Eckhart Tolle
Often times when I teach my university students who are studying to be teachers themselves, I ask them if they can stand behind what they are teaching. Which is to say, do they believe the curriculum is good? Do kids need to learn this stuff? Why?
I invite them to consider that it's kind of funny that we think we know what's best to teach and learn when we don't even know what we're doing here. On planet Earth.
It's a way of opening up to the mystery of life and inviting it to be there, something I don't think most of us do very often, never mind in schools.
For me, I find that cosmic events like eclipses really connect me to the mystery and sacredness of life. I mean, c'mon: the sun, moon, and earth have to line up just so and they 'happen' to be the exact distance needed from one another and the exact diameter such that the moon (solar) or earth (lunar) eclipses out the sun.
It's magnificent. I love it when they happen. I have them marked on my calendar for the year ahead.
I tease people who don't believe in a 'higher intelligence' of some kind, saying they must be right, it's just a random coincidence that something like an eclipse exists.
When we're children, we're naturally in touch with life's amazingness. Young children find everything amazing. You did too. Gradually, as we grow up, we lose touch with this. Why? Because our consciousness becomes consumed by thought.
We've been taught to think (literally) that thinking is where it's at. That it contains the solution to all of our problems. I've heard Byron Katie say that the mind gets things right, but backwards. In this case, it would mean that thinking cannot contain the solutions.
"But what else is there?!?" asks the mind.
Ah, the secret that every child knows (but don't know they know) ... PRESENCE. No thought. Pure consciousness.
You may have heard the quote that is often attributed to Einstein (there's no proof it's his, but he certainly spoke and wrote about this and understood the true nature of mind and consciousness):
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
Losing touch with the mystery of life is to lose touch with ourselves.
That's the thing.
When we devote ourselves to thinking (which we do by default) then we experience discontent, frustration, stress, anxiety, depression ... and on it goes.
Years ago, when I engaged in a deep spiritual process called The Enlightenment Intensive (please see my About Me page for a link to Russell Scott and the process he now calls "Coming Home"), at one point I became aware of exactly what the mind is. It showed itself to me in 2 different images (you can read all about my various awakening experiences in my book):
The first was an endless filing cabinet and I knew immediately that I was seeing how our minds store as memory every single thing we encounter so that when we go through life we pull any related files and approach the situation with those memories in hand. The problem with this is that, as Krishnamurti puts it, we never see life anew. We never meet life as it actually is. We see it through a veil of what we think it is.
The other image I saw of the mind was as a young schoolboy, in his uniform, sitting at a desk and I hand him E=mc[squared]. And he eagerly took the problem and set to work trying to solve it. His only desire was to try to do my bidding. He just wanted to please. He was like a puppy.
He was six.
It wasn't going to happen.
So I saw here what we do: we give to the mind tasks it was never meant to solve! It was never meant to show us our soul purpose/career work, to help us find happiness, to let us understand life. We are meant to do that. The intelligence we are beyond the thinking mind. Katie calls it "the heart." Eckhart calls it. "awareness."
I usually just call it intuition.
But how, for the love of God and all things holy, do we access it?!?!
That's the issue, isn't it? Well, the thing that has worked the best for me has been self-inquiry. I use a form of it called The Work of Byron Katie. It seems hyperbole to say so, but it really has changed my life completely.
That awe you felt as a kid? You get it back. That openness to possibility and excitedly anticipating what could be coming next while also managing to stay in the present moment. No small feat for us now, but we did it effortlessly as kids. It's why kids find joy everywhere they go. Their capacity for it is massive.
I'd love to support you in learning self-inquiry as a tool to re-connect with the mystery of life, with the mystery of yourself, and to see both in all their glory. Use code Light30 for $30 off your first session.