This evening I came across this National Geographic video about Glen Canyon Dam featuring a woman who had walked Glen Canyon naked in the 1950s. She is now in her 90s, and remains incredibly luminous. Her comments in the film about how alive she felt, with colors seeming brighter, sounds intensified and a simple (yet unforgettable) joy in her soul led me to think about the sacredness of the here and now. Could it be that what she experienced was a result of intense mindful attention to the present moment that just occurred naturally because of the space she was in, devoid of distraction, and in the company of a couple of close friends with whom she could be wholly and unapologetically herself? The simple action of paying attention to what is here right in front of us right now often results in a more vivid lived experience.
Our entire culture revolves around distracting ourselves from the Gollum quality of our souls, yet our grasping, wanting Little Me selves with all the antics are not our true selves. Our true selves are the deeper, observing still presence that resides within all of us and connects us to our Source (and each other), yet so often we forget it, listening instead to our Gollum, and continuing to believe that we are separate and alone. When you see your ego for what it is – a mess of mind stories that masquerade as a “self” – and sense the immeasurably deep presence underlying it, you can’t help but smile. Seeing the truth is liberating, and allows unconditional love to flourish; the more you see it in yourself, the more easily you can see the true nature in others, shining below the surface behaviors and posturing and chameleoning that frequently goes hand in hand with an age devoted to personal branding. The peace from recognizing that we are not separate or alone is immeasurable, particularly when we find ourselves physically separated from loved ones through geography or other circumstance (such as death).
The underlying presence is difficult to describe in words, suffice to say that when you see it, your heart will leap with joy, a burden will lift from your shoulders, and you will likely laugh with the compassionate recognition of simply how much delusion is wrapped up in your ego. I believe this essence is what is described by Buddhists as Buddha Nature, and perhaps in Christianity as the Christ energy or Holy Spirit (though having only recently reconnecting to my Christian roots, I’m still pondering that one.)
So what to do with this new found realization? It comes with an obligation to be kind in your recognition of true nature in others and seeing their egoic behaviors; they, too, struggle just as we all do. It comes with the need to remain humble, for we inevitably slip in and out of our remembrance of our true nature, too. Kindness, compassion, humility are where it’s at. What can you do today to honor those values?