Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and righting,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
I am a woman of rituals. My daily life is punctuated by ordinary moments consecrated in sacred and simple ways. In contrast to routines, which are performed habitually and usually with a specific outcome in mind, rituals provide a space for something bigger to enter us and meet us in the moment--wherever we may find ourselves.
This year I have begun each morning with a little ritual where I greet the new day by stepping outside as the sun is rising and I take a few deep breaths to offer my thanks to Gaia, our beautiful Earth Mother, for all that she provides. I light incense and place it next to a special rock in my front flower beds. Some days I pray; other days I stretch or sit quietly for a minute or two. This spot has become a favorite corner for my kids and I to place objects such as flowers, shells and feathers. It is our collective outdoor altar where we can be reminded to "Believe" that anything is possible. I have chosen to believe in miracles. I know it may sound silly to some. Honestly, at a certain stage in my life, I snubbed the idea because it seemed new-agey and intellectually immature. Just as evolving is a genuinely humbling process, it's also wonderfully surprising to see the ways in which we can view something in an entirely new light as our perspective shifts. That is precisely what A Course in Miracles calls a miracle: a shift in thinking from fear to love. In this way, miracles aren't just metaphysical occurrences defined by inexplicable events. Miracles can and should be a part of the lexicon of ordinary, everyday life as well.
Our brains look for patterns and we create meaning based on what we see and repeat daily over the course of our lives. Just as each day follows the pattern of morning, afternoon and evening or a story has a beginning, middle and end, our minds need a certain framework to function optimally. Our routines serve us by providing a certain context for our lives to unfold with some predictability and certainty. Without the appropriate and necessary structure to our days, we can easily feel anxious and overwhelmed. However, if we become too consumed by the familiar patterns, we easily close off to the possibility of miracles.
I define the miraculous as the opening of our mind-heart to "the field" Rumi writes of as the place of infinite possibilities. Modern science calls this the "quantum field." Consider for a moment as you look around you, all that you see and "know" as a result. Bookcase, tree, water bottle, lamp. I know this is my house, my books, backyard, neighborhood, etc. In some ways, this itself is a miracle. Just being alive to see, touch, taste and experience this world is a mind-blowing phenomenon! Now take a moment to contemplate all that you cannot yet see or the "unknown." Imagine this field of infinite potential as part of your experience in the present moment. I think Rumi offers us a secret key in his poem that invites us to cross the threshold between known and unknown, beyond duality, and to lie down in the grass-- shift our perspective--in order to let the field meet us right now. In this way, every moment becomes the doorway into the infinite field.
Rituals simultaneously contain their own logic or mental pattern and order as well as magic or a supernatural force and mystery. They serve as vital threshold places between habit and holy, familiar and foreign, conscious and unconscious. It is the fertile field in which we can plant the seeds of any dream or longing that our heart yearns to experience. We need to practice returning to this remembrance often so that we train ourselves to awaken again and again to possibility. One of my teachers, Chameli Ardagh, speaks of this remembrance as a powerful sadhana or spiritual practice. She says: "Keep reminding yourself, this is what I can see right now, but my perspective is limited. Your brain will keep looking for the familiar and try to limit your possibilities. Let your mind be open like a flower. Practice to stay in wonder." Our ritual practices can support us in developing this kind of fluidity of awareness.
What rituals or remembrances keep you poised on the threshold of wonder? How do you practice entering "the field" and shifting your perspective to include a wider scope of reality? Finally, what would feel like a miracle for you right now? Write it down. And then write it again in the present tense, as if it is happening now. Keep returning to the heart of possibility. Discover the ways to believe again when your mind circles back to its familiar pathways of limitation and doubt.
Stay open, devote yourself to the discipline of seeing possibility everywhere, and take a few moments each day to let your soul rest in the infinite field. . .
I'll meet you there.
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