BE MINDFUL OF NOW.

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(taken from my hand-written journal April 16, 2000)

Today I took a walk.

I went out into the field to my “sacred place.” I call it the Valley of the Crows, because they always gather there. It’s really just a dip in a neighbor’s field with a creek nearby and trees all around.

I sat on the grass then lay back, letting the sun kiss my face. I heard a fly buzz close by me. I heard a cardinal calling, “purdy, purdy, purdy.” Other birds flew about with different calls. I could hear the rustle of small things in the bushes and trees.

There is an old tree that overlooks my “valley.” I imagined that it was a guardian, maybe Moses, with the law in his arms, maybe a mother holding her baby, but then, finally, it took shape and I saw a brave, a warrior, ageless and fearless, immortalized in that oddly shaped tree, standing guard over the one time home of his people, standing guard over me.

At that moment there was only then, no past, no future, just the moment. I lost track of time, sitting, standing, and lying there between heaven and earth, listening to the sounds of birds, feeling the sun and the breezes, imagining trees were warrior spirits and communicating with a divine being that defies all our expectations and goes beyond all our understandings.

I didn’t have to be in control and it felt good. All I had to do is trust the Creator and enjoy the moment for all its beauty without comparing it to the past or even to the future. When we compare a moment to a past moment, we rob the present and cheapen our memories. No need to worry over tomorrow, either. I may not even be here and I will have wasted today thinking about tomorrow and miss both.

Today is today. Now is the present, the gift. Right now–that is where the treasure is to be found. Now, is when I feel the joy of things hoped for as if though they were here already. Now, is when I still my soul and give thanks for all that is good and right in my life. So, I think to myself, “Learn from the past. Don’t live there. Trust for tomorrow. Don’t live there, either. This moment is its own. See the beauty in it. There has never been another like it and there never will be another like it. Be fully in it. Enjoy it. Appreciate it. Love it. Be thankful for it.”

Oh, me,

awake with the morning

rise with the dawn.

Feel its warmth on your face.

As a butterfly

let the wind lift your wings

until your spirit soars

until it sings.

Remember, myself,

this day shall never be again.

When the sun sets

it is but a long gone friend.

The Law of COMPASSION

Just as the physical universe has laws that govern it, like the laws of gravity and thermodynamics, etc., the spiritual universe also has laws that govern it and those laws may or may not always coincide with the laws of the physical universe. However, they will always supersede them. Over the course of the next few blog posts I hope to highlight what I see as the laws of the spiritual universe.

So, here’s what I perceive as the first law of the spiritual universe: the Law of Compassion. The Dalai Lama sums it up pretty well when he says, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Compassion allows us to see beyond our side of the story or our own subjective point of view. It allows us to see the “bigger picture” of life and existence. It is both a thing and an action. It is that invisible force, connecting all things in the universe. Unless we tap into this mighty all-connecting force, we will lack the capacity to know true love.

Compassion is not merely feeling bad for someone or feeling sorry for them. That is sympathy. Compassion isn’t just putting yourself in someone else’s place or feeling what they feel. That is empathy. Compassion is greater than both and should be the end result of either. I’m reminded of several stories in the Bible where Jesus was moved with compassion for people and this compassion produced miraculous results.

Compassion is that invisible force, connecting everything in the universe. It is both a force and a feeling, but it always results in a manifestation. It is the ability to see the world for what it is rather than what our judgments make it. Compassion creates peace, healing and miracles.

It’s important to note that true compassion is never prompted by the need for a covert contract. If payback is expected for a favor or an act or a gift, then self-preservation and ultimately, fear, are at the heart of it and not compassion. Compassion does what needs to be done for the genuine good of another person and expects nothing in return, not recognition and not returned favors. Compassion feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, acts as a counselor and doesn’t keep tabs.

“Compassion is the basis of all morality.” – Arthur Schopenhauer