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Summer – Old and New..

Suddenly the summer sun shines on a day I cannot miss – like the Prince waking his Princess with a long-awaited kiss!

I’ve seen a fair few summers now, but Mother Nature has a way of heralding the seasons so that we view them with fresh eyes or at least appreciate them anew. Mornings now are bright, so bright we feel excited to get up. At 4.30 the other morning I had to rise and grab my camera to take pictures of the beautiful sunrise because each sunrise is unique and this one was spectacular.

As the poet Rumi says:

‘The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you – Don’t go back to sleep! You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep! People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep!

Perhaps Rumi is telling us here that right from morning time, we can break out of our habitual tendencies and become present. We don’t need to fall back into the same old routines. (Something I need to remind myself!). What does it mean when Rumi tells us to ask for what we really want? It can be interpreted in many ways but for me the ‘you’ asking is the one who wants to create a story of a fairer world and a unification of culture. The long summer hours help us fit more into our days and perhaps we have more time to ask for what we really want. Rumi reminds us how moments of awareness and choice are very subtle. We touch the ability to change, to go ‘back and forth across the doorsill’ – the doorsill is there and is open. We may ask what the ‘doorsill’ is? I interpret it as the way through to enlightenment. It is not just about changing ourselves necessarily, it is about hoping for a peaceful world. Awareness helps us work through new challenges and moral dilemmas.

A new summer can throw new light on what is around us. Or in front of us and our brothers and sisters. My heart goes out to those who face a summer being sent to a foreign land because we supposedly don’t have the resources to care for them here, and also to those whose country is torn apart through conflict.

I don’t however, feel the doorsill is just about moving forward, it is also about looking back too. Being aware of where we are from and acknowledging our past. Reaching out and feeling the love of days long gone. Summer days can be particularly evocative. The smell of newly mown grass, the fragrance of the first bunch of sweet peas or the blowsy bunch of roses will all catapult me back to childhood days. The summers seemed to last forever, and there was time for picnics and tree-climbing, swimming in the local brook and collecting tadpoles. I remember the loving arms of my parents and grandparents, the security of family.

How lucky I am to be able to stop and revisit the places I have grown up in. How will it be for those who are displaced to find their way to some peace this summer? For those who will only look back with sadness and feelings of loss.

I hope there will be a chance for those who wish for life to be just as it was, to find their way home.

‘Don’t go back to sleep’. Of course we will metaphorically. It’s human nature to forget there can be a wonderful, calm simplicity in this life and close our eyes to it; to forget how much love and care there is in this world when we look for it. But when we do awaken, life becomes a blessing.

Sometimes it takes a reminder like this to put us into a place of awareness where we can cross the doorsill, see hope and make change.

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Climbing the Hill to Enlightenment

Climbing the Hill to Enlightenment…

 

Or if at first you don’t succeed…..

Have you ever had times when you get disillusioned or feel that you can’t get where you want to be? You aren’t alone – I know there are times when I think I’ve ‘cracked it’, and have found my way – but then – wham, down I come to earth. But I guess if we had life all fathomed out we could become complacent or even a little smug. There is a reason why there are so many self- help books out there. People are always searching to find a new way of dealing with life; a new angle that might just make everything become clear. It’s a big industry, but I’m not knocking it. I have found several books and audio tapes over the years that have helped me through rough times, and are still helpful today. I’ve followed some inspiring gurus too. ( I loved to listen to the late motivational speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer, who always sounded warm and friendly and came across as a lovely man when I attended some of his seminars.) Sometimes just reading or hearing one illuminating story can offer up a ‘light bulb ‘ moment that gives us the answer we have been looking for.

Here is a story of one man’s quest for enlightenment…..

There was once a man who wanted to find the meaning of life. He spent many years listening to all sorts of gurus, and read many ‘self-help’ books. He tried yoga classes and quite enjoyed them and soon learned how to ‘Salute the Sun’. He learned how to meditate, and once he had stopped his busy mind wandering off and thinking about what to eat for his supper, he more or less got the hang of it. He ate an amazingly healthy diet with only a few slips-ups (he had rather a liking for donuts). He took plenty of exercise and breathed in the invigorating fresh air in the woods behind his cottage. He gave up his stressful job and decided to live simply and he put on sandals.

But with all this to help him there were still times when he felt he hadn’t quite ‘got it’.

So the man went up to the top of a mountain, made himself a simple camp, and stayed there for five years. He contemplated his life. He relaxed and completely ‘chilled out’. He prayed for peace in the world. He felt at one with the universe. Occasionally, the odd climber or two came up the mountain and he smiled at them most benignly, bestowing calmness upon them. That felt good.

One day he woke up and thought ‘I’m ready to go back and face the world and nothing will phase me now.’ Gleefully, he set off down the mountain. But he had forgotten how steep it was and by the time he got to the bottom, his feet were a bit sore and he was thirsty and tired. He walked into the café at the bottom of the mountain and asked for a bottle of water. No one heard him. He asked again but the staff were busy and ignored him. After five more minutes he felt the anger boil up inside him and banged his fist on the counter, and demanded to be served. A waitress rushed over and nervously placed a bottle of water in front of him mumbling an apology. He grabbed the water and drank it down without a word. From a table in the corner and old friend spotted the man and walked over to him. He asked him how he was getting on with his quest for enlightenment. Without a word the man turned and walked out of the café. He headed back up the mountain.

This is just a reminder that we can all fail from time to time no matter how far we think we have come. But it is okay. It happens to us all and it is never too late to try again. The man was just human like we all are. And remember – nothing good is ever lost.

‘Today is a new day; there is no need to focus on yesterday’s mistakes. Just as the pathway will sparkle again in the sunlight, so will you sparkle again too’.
Lyn Halvorsen

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