The sun is just disappearing behind the mountains, and the orange light is reflected on the revered river as the mothers with their children, the sadhus and the cows walk past. What wonders...how did I get here?
At one level one could say, "Well, I got into an airplane, had a meal or two, watched a movie or two, slept some and then somehow a few hours later I ended up halfway around the world."
That is miracle enough in itself, and I don't ever want to take that for granted. We fly through the skies with a confidence unimaginable to our grandfathers. We arrive, set up shop in a place that looks completely different from the place we left. We sit for hours in front of a small electronic box that is a wonder world in itself: if we want to write blogs and send them out to people on every continent, it says "okay;" if we want to speak to anyone in the world who has their own small electronic box at no charge, it says "no problem, would you like to see them live on the screen too?;" if we want to create worlds of print, picture or film, it says "step right up." Things that were science fiction only 15 years ago are now commonplace. How did we get to that?
But as stunning as computers, Internet technology and global air travel are, that is not really the main subject of my wonderment here today. It is something much nearer and dearer than these things. The awe, the glory, the absolute thrill that have prompted this message are about something that can never be taken from us.
What possible phrase could I use to communicate this precious gift: awareness? consciousness? God? the peace that passes all understanding? the here-and-now? What?
When all things have settled and the mind is at complete rest and there is nothing to be accomplished and nothing to be feared, what is that? When death comes, and nothing changes, what is that?
But maybe these ideas are too big and too distant and not in the realm of the everyday for all of us. At a very simple level we can be with it: we feel in our hearts at times that we can be at ease with everything that appears, because we have done it before; we are able to remain unafraid, even when fear is very near; we can look at people and we don't see them as being our ideas about them or their ideas about themselves; we look out at a world that is for us new at every glance; we sense that wherever we go, there we are; we recognize that what's looking never changes — even if the face in the mirror ages over decades, what's looking never moves. So, what name is there for this?
Death can come at any second, at any second, at any second, and surely it will come. Life seems to be lived around a vague present that swiftly passes from past into future and then suddenly ends; but is it so?
The whole parade of life and death happens only RIGHT NOW. Nothing is ever outside of the here and now. It is that which I so want to cherish just now, thank you so much...this dear and precious instant of life that has no shape or measure. Ever new, ever unfolding, without limit. Joyfully, I want no other.