Let There Be Light
I wake in a room with high ceilings, large sun-filled windows and air that felt as if I were under pine trees in a morning where birds have been collecting breakfast for hours. Where I was, nothing stirred, but awakening an dog and a cat. My living room has become my bedroom years before. Allocating my writing room and my spiritual yoga room to the only two other rooms in the house that did not have a tub and a sink in them has been an amazing blessing.
Soothing light from windows beckon me to open the blinds, but I do not want to challenge the moment with action. I want to do the Zen thing, whatever that is. Stay in the moment. Don’t run away. Allow myself to fully absorb all that each second had to offer and be with that deliciousness for as long as possible.
Total peace. No kidding. Quiet, sun-rays streaming through the high windows like a celestial chorus– designed to enter between my bones and circle in swirls around my body until it warms inside of me like a cuddling kitten held between palms. Bathing in all those forgotten nighttime dreams where I have worked out those conflicts that otherwise might bring me down from my natural high in awakened life–conscious life.
Sometimes I dream of hawks and eagles, other times I am on a boat in lapping water on shore, with a beautiful man who adores me in every way, and behind us are mountains and trees with glimmering shadows. Sometimes, I dream of fairies and sprites who guide me along with pip-squeaks and streaks of slowly disappearing light. There are darker dreams too. Dreams where I work out my own lack of awareness in awakened life, because I can only understand a bit of reality at one time.
I have discovered ways to bring the light in. I sit outside under sky and trees to feel the sun’s rays and heat if it is warm, and the caressing wind if it feels so inclined to seek me out. To me the wind is a caressing mother. But to you she/he could be anyone/anything of tremendous comfort. Use your inner guide. Let your imagination surface. Wind is often a visitor to my awareness. I am always grateful. If there is great noise about like traffic, I use ear plugs and allow my eyesight to take over as if I were blind and my eyes were the chorus of my lifesong for that moment. Sometimes, I imagine the traffic is a great herd of caribou migrating to the Etherlands southward to find food and shelter among the great boulders of the mountains. Nature connects me to everything and for her voice I am eternally grateful.
When I can’t sit, I walk. Often I hope for passersby to look at me so that I can nod and smile or move my lips in a soft hello. I am not sure who is getting the most blessing out of this equation, but I want to be ready to acknowledge another being who can be receptive. I find it especially rewarding to be open to serving others. Once I sat to eat lunch at a Gazebo in a cemetery and after eating half of my meal, I saw a cell phone sitting on the bench. Goodness, someone must be frantic. After some time of feeling their pain, their grief of this loss, it occurred to me to pick up the phone and see if there was an identification. The user had been texting and I texted that I wanted to return the phone. Was there a way? I provided my phone number. After 5 minutes, the reply came and I handed the phone to his friend. I was thrilled. I was very happy.
Awareness is also both a blessing and a challenge. Life awareness makes itself known incrementally. So as to enter through the back door when I am not paying attention. Awareness wants its own space. Pushing out popular idioms or twitching inner muscles made inflamed by cultural fear, awareness tries to move beyond culture. I have prayed for wisdom and understanding my whole life. Still, as I respond to the physical world, I both regret and take responsibility for my actions.
I have deliberately killed one thing in my life. No three actually. My TV and a hostile sparrow. The TV poured in bullshit. Space-age make-believe that power-mongers use to manipulate the masses and beat listeners into submission to the point that even when they know they are being fed bullshit, we still listen—because now the struggle to imagine our whole lives creatively, not as extensions of the masses is challenged, sometimes to the point of no return. That is why it is so important for us to bring in the light and ask for healing and growth.
The other killing was for mercy-a sparrow will aggressively kill bluebirds and the couple’s eggs and young to get a hostile takeover of the nesting box. So, I felt that I had to do something to protect nature from this hostile species takeover. I admit this is playing Gaia.
I saw this with my own eyes as well as read about it on all the blue-bird sites. Fighting to lay her egg on a nest that she and her baby-blue husband had created in their love, she tried and tried to get into the nest but failed. The sparrow would try to destroy her while sitting on the nest, this much she knew and her mate fought for her with all of his strength. Flying in and out of the box, all around, each species trying to sit atop the box to say this is mine, the drama played itself out before my very eyes. Finally, the mother dropped her egg to the ground while trying to fly into her nest to lay it. I rushed over and shook my fists at the sparrow. Broken egg between my fingers, I vowed to do something.
I bought a BB gun but could not hit the sparrow, and indeed risked hitting the blues. I put the BB gun down, looked on line and bought a sparrow trap, installed it the next day and covertly waited. It had to be checked every thirty minutes since a native bird could die inside if left alone! The trap’s signal was a bright orange circle that covered the hole. A few hours later, when the orange become visible, I covered the whole trap with a netted laundry bag, opened the box, and out came the sparrow.
We are begged not to release these non-native destroyers into another neighborhood. Once a pest, always a pest. There are no available sparrow-redemption programs for which this sparrow could be enrolled. No schools, no medicine to straighten out his hostile-takeover thinking, and no half-way sparrow houses that were available. There is only one right thing to do. And it is legal to do it, in case you are wondering.
Except for a sick bird who had been mortally wounded by an unknown foe, I have never deliberately took the life of another creature. It took prayers, seeking forgiveness, (especially to the sparrow), and seeing for myself the destructive violence that the sparrow perpetrated before I could actually see my responsibility to help nature by removing this non-native species. The hell of it is, I have always loved sparrows because they were so common and plentiful.
For years, I have been trying to see what I am responsible for on this earth. To live a quiet beautiful life without harming others, wasn’t that the way? To live by example? Do people really even notice me anyway? Aren’t I invisible? What about when certain individuals treat me horribly, (they may not even realize that they are treating me horribly—that is their own blindness and ignorance). When I take steps to protect myself–they in turn can cyclically become a self-protector too. They then can gather against me as their own protective behaviors surface. A clique is formed and gossip spread and damage is done. But do I want to be seen as a doormat? Seen as ineffectual, as someone who does not present motivating or growth-stimulating actions? Can I really change anyone’s perception of me anyway? Does not their perception have more to do with their awareness than my actual reality?
The bible teaches if someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also, to give your tunic when your cloak is asked for and to love your enemies. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be the sons of God (I read that as sons and daughters, by the way) says the good book. I see that the challenge of being human is to forgive, forgive, and forgive. Forgiveness provides room to grow up. Forgiving ourselves is important. Reaction and retaliation suppresses us down into a darkness that vacuums us into an even darker place. Some people live there in varying degrees and don’t even know it. Certainly, I have lived in that place of darkness too.
But this morning I remember how rampant total destruction is occurring on my earth because of the human “sparrows” who possess an insatiable appetite for their own needs. Forests being burned illegally to make room for beef cattle who will be slaughtered for people who are rich enough to pay for meat and who do not see the value in a simple cow’s love for life. Habitat destruction for building and development is the cancer that wildlife must now endure and perish from. And perish it will, all of it, not because we are turning the other cheek, but because we are becoming the sparrows too. We have assimilated into the enemy of life and life is dying all around us.
I did not start this blog to write depressing stories, really. But there is a terrific need to protect our nesting boxes and our houses from real violence. Multi-generational violence is being done under our very noses and a BB gun will not cure the hate of it. Neither will swinging our enemy against a wall cure what we have (inadvertently) allowed by turning the other cheek or more succinctly assimilated with the enemy. I’ve done it too, no doubt by sinking into a salary and acquiescing when I would rather speak up instead by doing what I need to keep my job or to keep the peace. Conflict is necessary to growth but so is peace and the balancing of the two is the real challenge we face.
“When someone asks what there is to do, light the candle in his hand.” Rumi writes. Today is Sunday. I have always loved Sundays. There is sunshine and fresh air and light from above and as soon as it grows warmer outside, maybe this afternoon after lunch I am going outside to soak it in. Sunday’s rebalance me but only in the presence of nature. How dreadful our grandchildren’s lives will be without nature! How dreadful to only experience an otter’s antics in water through an old film or on a tee-shirt! Outside eight feeders bring in cardinals, titmice, blackbirds, juncos, woodpeckers, finches, and sometimes hawks. For thirty years I have fed the birds. Possums come for the scraps I throw out, and raccoons come when I plant corn. Lizards make their acrobatics a fluid motion on the brick wall. Swallowtail butterflies slurp long before the Monarchs arrive, though last year (2016) the Monarchs showed a horrifying decline. Mockingbirds, wrens, and blue jays eat the suet, and squirrels beg my dogs to chase them up a tree. There is so much I do not know and can’t see with my cloudy human vision. But I see a lot too.
Hope stands out as the single most important experience I have had. Hope got me to here. No elaboration needed in this blog post, just know that the light is there if you will search for it. It will be there for you. Pouring from windows, from the voice of someone who loves you be it dog, river, bird, human, tree, or the whole of Ghia: light overwhelms dark with life. We all feed from the sun: every being feeds from our bright benefactor. Therefore, we ought to remember we are all equal as one.
I write about the sun while Wordsworth writes about the moon; orbs of light and love in their own illumination, trading places like dutiful sentries, never failing to serve us with their light, and their always, never-ending inspiration.
“A Night Piece”, William Wordsworth (1815) Lyrical Ballads.
–The sky is overcast,
With a continuous cloud of texture close,
Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon,
Which through that veil is indistinctly seen,
A dull contracted circle, yielding light
So feebly spread, that not a shadow falls,
Chequering the ground–from rock, plant, tree, or tower.
At length a pleasant instantaneous gleam
Startles the pensive traveler while he treads
His lonesome path, with unobserving eye
Bent earthwards; he looks up–the clouds are split
Asunder,–and above his head he sees
The clear Moon, and the glory of the heavens.
There, in a black-blue vault she sails along,
Followed by multitudes of stars, that, small
And sharp and bright, along the dark abyss
Drive as she drives: how fast they wheel away
Yet vanish not!–the wind is in the tree,
But they are silent;–still they roll along.
Immeasurably distant; and the vault,
Built round by those white clouds, enormous clouds,
Still deepens it unfathomable depth.
At length the Vision closes; and the mind,
Not undisturbed by the delights it feels,
Which slowly settles into peaceful calm,
Is left to muse upon the solemn scene.