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A little time in Heaven — waiting in a medical clinic

toweringpineI was thinking about life this morning while waiting for a doctor’s appointment. Actually, I wasn't thinking about it, I was experiencing it. Life as it truly is, endless, boundless, source of all beauty and all form. If I can find the right words, I'll share my experience with you.

Eckhart Tolle, author of  ground-breaking book, The Power of Now, www.eckharttolle.com, likes to talk about the tremendous benefits that accrue when we stop thinking so much. He's absolutely right. We discover peace. We discover wisdom. We discover who we truly are.  We discover Heaven in the here and now.

In any case, I had this wonderful experience of deliberately putting thoughts to one side for a little while, something I enjoy doing more and more in my life. I could have thought about something if I had wanted to, but I didn’t want to.

I was still conscious. I was quite alert enough to hear when the receptionist called my name. But for a precious interlude, maybe 20 or 30 minutes, sitting in the large medical clinic with a lot of sick people all around me -- I surrendered to bliss. It wasn't a bliss I had to manufacture somehow. It was a bliss that already existed.

My body and mind and heart were set free to simply commune for a little while with being. My own timeless being. With God, dare I say. With the beauty and glory of life as it truly is.

I can’t think of any greater joy in this world than being consciously aware of the balm of our own being.

Perhaps the frenetic drive we see in the world to experience more and more excitement, more and more sex, more and more pleasure, more and more of something or other, simply reflects the emptiness that is in us. The awful anger, violence, and division are driven by the fact that we do not know ourselves as we truly are.

When we give ourselves the opportunity to be still, there is space for beautiful, creative thoughts to arise, and there is also space to become aware of  useless, repetitive, or negative thoughts when they arise, so that they no longer shape our existence. 

Who said we have to roll over and accept the status quo which the egoic mind of this world and our own egoic mind continually try to force upon us?

Freedom is knocking at your door and my door every moment in these tumultuous days. We have the priceless opportunity while we yet live to discover for ourselves the true nature of life -- our own true nature.

We have the opportunity to discover who we truly are beyond name or form. Not the caricature we may have created in our own minds – not the caricature others may have created about us -- but an eternal, loving presence beyond words to describe.

We will never understand life intellectually. But we can experience it. We can know it. And when we do experience it, miracles happen.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Baran July 30, 2009 at 11:53 am

Hi Chris,
Thanks so much for this post. Since I’m reading it during lunch at work, it helps me remember to spend a little time in Heaven, even in the midst of a busy rehab clinic. I’m in awe that you are able to do this for 20 or 30 minutes. I have to use clever cognitive therapy tricks to stop my “monkey mind” sometimes.

This morning I was swimming at 5:30. No one else was in the pool and it was gloriously quiet. I still had to consciously stop myself from thinking about the work day by using a breathing and counting technique I learned a few years ago. When I simply tried to lay aside an intruding thought, another one quickly came to take its place. My thoughts sometimes remind me of the tale of Bartholomew and the 1000 Hats. In this tale, a king rides through his kingdom and everyone he passes must remove their hat. The penalty for failing to do so is beheading. Bartholomew, a young man in the crowd, removes his hat, only to find another hat in its place. He removes that hat, and another one appears. This strange process continues throughout his arrest. As he marches up the stairs to the gallows, he frantically removes one hat after another. When he reaches the top of the gallows, he removes one last hat and beneath it is a crown. The executioner must now remove his own hat, because Bartholomew is a king.

I guess this is a good metaphor for my useless thoughts. I have thousands of them and am not free to express my royal state until I set them all aside.

Linda Baran

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Christopher Foster August 2, 2009 at 10:16 am

Thanks so much for this great comment Linda. I wasn’t familiar with the story of Bartholomew. It’s a powerful story. I’m sure a lot of people could empathize with how ‘when I simply tried to lay aside an intruding thought, another one quickly came to take its place’. Personally, I’ve found a bit of a paradox here. I need to be aware of what’s going on with my thoughts and feelings. But it also seems to be very important not to judge them, or resist them, but simply be present with them in the same kind of spacious way the sky is present in our lives. The bottom line, it seems to me, is that our royal state, as you so beautifully evoke it, is not disturbed by chaotic thoughts or troubled feelings, and when I am still, it gives me a chance to be aware of that royal calm no matter what is going on.

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