I remember walking as a very young child in our small mountain village in Lebanon, and just as I passed the old movie theater that used to only play Indian tragedies, an English word popped in my head. At that time, English was quite foreign to me and my vocabulary was extremely limited, yet somehow an adult word appeared: “determined”. I never forgot that word and I only learned its meaning years later as a teenager. It was one of those strange life moments that are very difficult to explain. This little story brings me back always to ‘the way’, and for me there is a way that I know I need to follow if I listen carefully to the same nudging that introduced the word “determined” to me. And as with all good things, the way is never the easy one…
Why is it that our memories fade and blur like shadows of what has been, and only moments of passion and pain remain vivid in our minds?
Man going to work in the fields~ Yunnan~ China
At a certain point in our lives, our bodies grow to maximum capacity and from that point on, they begin to deteriorate. The only part of the human that continues to evolve is the head, the spirit and soul that drive it, and what lives in it and around it. That is the only place out of which a human can make a breakthrough, isn’t it? Humans evolve through their mental development, their art, their creativity, their revelations, their connections.. and if these are trained correctly and well invested in, then the greatest reward of all, wisdom and human development can occur. Which begs the question, why are we humans so obsessed with the outward looks of our bodies and why do we fear the signs of aging instead of looking inward as we are meant to do when we get older?
When the world quiets down, when the mind expands, when time gains elasticity, when the hands buzz and tickle, when peripheral vision activates, when a strange kind of awareness attends you, when you become so focused on the task at hand, when you are transported to a dimension you can only call ‘other’, when you feel the process of being a vehicle for art, an instrument of art, when ‘you’ step out of the way for ‘it’ to do its work… then perhaps you are living the state of the artist.
photo taken: a man sketching in the very busy yu gradens in shanghai totally unaware of the chaos around him.
It’s a funny thing our perception of size. When we are young we perceive our parents to be bigger than life, our homes and gardens to be a large domain where we build our memories and our planet to be out of this world huge. Then we grow up, and we go back to visit our old homes, schools, gardens and we scream, “who shrank my world?”! Our perceptions have changed!
And knowing this, I made up a technique that I called ‘zoom out’ while growing up that each time I had to face a problem, an issue that felt so big it almost crushed me. I would mentally ‘zoom out’ and pretend to view myself in my home, in my village or city, in my country, on my planet, in my solar system, in my galaxy, spinning at enormous speeds, and suddenly, as if by magic, my problem would shrink down to insignificance and it would no longer be threatening to me in ‘perspective’.
This particular and ancient truth has been quite upfront lately in world affairs. Somehow this ancient lesson is being applied and demonstrated repeatedly in the last few years from events in Iran, to Egypt, to Yemen, and to most recently the current events in Syria. I am normally not someone who is drawn to writing, commenting or thinking too much about politics, but I do look at this issue in terms of trends happening in the world. And this recent phenomenon of people coming together and protesting a valid cause, an injustice or an oppressive regime, is becoming the way these nations forcing their way into reformation.
And this concept works just the same within our minds. One of the biggest enemy of our personal development is dispersion and conflicting thoughts. Somehow a magnetic force is needed to align our thoughts to all face in one direction, towards our purpose and away from our past patterns. Only then are we able to draw on enough inner strength to overcome hurdles and obstacles in our way and to reform our old ways of going on.
photo: potpourri twigs tied in a bundle from Ikea 🙂