The rumbling sound of suitcases rolling across the airport floor competes with continuous announcements echoing throughout the building. The buzz of human voices filling the gaps of others’ pauses, rushingly urges me to the first prayer room I can find. Thank god, it is empty. I know it is reserved for followers of the Islam religion, which I don’t practice, however I’m grateful for the quiet.
I’m traveling, with several connecting flights, from my home in Arizona to South Africa where it is uncertain whether my father, a leader in the protestant church, would make it through the night.
He had been hospitalized with pancreatitis and at his time, already spent a good month or two in ICU (intensive care unit). I was sent for to come home, with the instructions to meditate for him.
So thankful for the airport room away from the bustle, I focus my mind until a sense of calm arrives with the understanding that everything is okay. With the acceptance of everything as it is, there is no rush, no tension. Everything is okay, as it is. Nothing is without meaning, allow it.
I am not quite sure what my father’s understanding of meditation was, and what caused the sudden wish or desire for it. However, arriving just as my dying father had rebuked my siblings’ ridicule towards my esoteric practices, made an impact. I’ve often though about it after the shock and adjustment to the inevitable had settled.
Meditation is not some wonder power that can can suddenly change the outcome of life events when all else is tried and failed, yet it is true that meditation does hold some kind of miracle to it. The miracle of presence may sound mundane, boring and I’m sure you’ve heard it before – perhaps too many times. Without the practice, it can be difficult to imagine how the exact same circumstance can be experienced as heaven or hell, in various degrees.
It is Albert Einstein who said that: “There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle.”
He also said that: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
In a similar way, we cannot heal the body or the mind from the same place it became ill, and we cannot expect the miracle of health, when we don’t live as if life itself is a miracle.
I recently listened to a talk by Yuval Noah Harari, predicting that AI is directing us to a life where everything is controlled, predetermined and free from the miraculous input of the unseen, something he seem to think of as unreliable and inconvenient. I think that Mr. Harari is in for a big surprise.
In many ways, modern life is adapting to, that of capitalism and power, training our bahaviors towards optimum financial gain through strategic popularity and optimized use of our waking hours, which leaves very little room for contemplation and the breathing space to consider life as a miracle. In the chase to survive through competition, most of us are left behind in a race we can not get ahead of and anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-ADHD; concentration, digestion and blood pressure medications become ordinary coping mechanisms, despite harmful long- and short term side effects.
- An estimated 31.9% of adolescents had any anxiety disorder. (National Institute of Mental Health 2018)
- An estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults had any anxiety disorder in the past year. (National Institute of Mental Health 2018)
- 1 in 6 Americans take antidepressants (NBC news,)
So what does Einstein refer to when he says that we cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it? Does he imply that there is an alternate, perspective from where the problem, the illness, the anxiety, depression, nervousness, agitation, discomfort, sadness, depression, inadequacies can be viewed from? Does he refer to AI?
Perhaps he refers to the space we access through meditation, where progressive relaxation and mindful concentration, can prevent, manage and sometimes cure conditions mentioned above. I believe that he refers to a point of distance in time and space as solution to a desired outcome. By projecting our minds in this space, we gain understanding from our soul’s perspective, and that perspective is inclusive, perfect and grateful.
As we follow our own breath in and out, and prioritize our attention on only that, the tapestry, the puzzle, the order, and the design of life becomes apparent. Every detail of life appears as a miracle. It is only by stepping out of the details with which we identify with so closely, that we can see the mastery of the design. Just imagine yourself to be a speckle of paint of a watercolor piece portraying its hues in depth. The only way to see your definitive purpose in the painting – beautiful piece of art, is by stepping away from it, gaining perspective with a little distance to appreciate it as a whole.
Slower and slower and slower, each breath slows down, as an iridescent white light opens up to the door of that which on earth is unknown to us. Do you panic and breathe a sigh, or do you travel with the light, ride the breath, too subtle to feel, and glide in the realm where words don’t exist?
Will it be on your deathbed, too, where the doorway of consciousness greets you as miracle of life? Or will you open up to it today?
Consciousness, miracles, it shines through the tops of trees in the forest. It sways you into a slow twist in the warm desert wind, it skips a beat of your heart under the sparkling display of a meteorite shower. It sprinkles your skin with the mist of an ocean wave and we get reminded, that we are more than what we see, we touch, we hear. Thus, close your eyes and practice the art of breathing, dying, and living mindfully by concentrating into meditation.