I haven’t been living the sacred enough lately. Sometimes I forget how sacred life is, become caught up in the mundane, the day-to-day of existing in a corporeal world, in the meanness that can be everyday life. I stop, for a while, living a life that is sacred.
I’m often aware that I’m doing it. Sometimes it takes a while to gather myself up again, find the energy to re-energise, re-discover the alignments in my daily practices that connect me with the beauties and perfections I can find even in the most mundane-seeming events of the day. Something as simple as a neat and tidy home, a smile on a friend’s face, the way the wind ruffles the leaves of the quaking aspen in the front yard and the soothing sound of that ruffling.
When I’m living a life that is sacred, there is beauty in almost everything I see, touch, smell, experience. Not just the most mundane, but even those elements I might usually see as dark, or negative — ugly.
To a practitioner of Tendai [Buddhism]
Everything is wonderful.
When you realize how perfect everything is
You will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.
~ Anonymous (not Buddha)
When Saiko or Buddha or Lao Tse say such things, they’re not talking metaphorically, not talking about “in the grand scheme of things” life is wonderful and perfect. They mean Everything. The darkest aspects of ourselves, the ugliest of things, the worst tragedies of life, of living, of existence.
Days go by when this way of seeing is impossible for me to fathom. How could these masters possibly mean everything!? But there are other days, at times weeks and months, when I am connected to the beauty in this world, the perfection of things, when I see the smiles rather than the scowls, see the art rather than the artifice, experience people’s love rather than their meanness. When I’m deeply ensconsed in such sacred days, I begin even to see the beauty in a scowl, in the results of artifice, in the selfish, stingy acts.
Maybe it’s a little like love. When you’re in the throes of a deep romantic love for someone, you love everything about them, even the habits which so annoying when displayed by anyone else, even the physical traits which might set you looking for someone else, if you were still looking for someone to love. When I’m living a life that’s sacred, I’m so in love with life — not just my life, but all life, all existence — that I can’t help but love all that existence offers. I can’t say that I’ve ever felt so unequivocal about it as Buddha, or Saiko, but there have been days and weeks in my life when I could sense how the world and everything in it could seem wonderful, perfect — the idea of wonderful perfection made perfect sense.
Being that way, it’s not an act, it’s not something I can dress up and pretend to be, tell myself I’m living sacredly, set my mind to. Living sacredly is an action, not an act, until it becomes a habit, that becomes my nature, my way of being. I’ve already written about observing the sacraments of a sacred life, but sometimes these observations require a state of mind — no, of being — which I just haven’t attained, or maintained, or find a little too disconnected to experience. I need a kickstart, a touch of something truly sacred.
Today it’s this song, Lotus Feet. There’s an easy, perfect peace and beauty in it. I don’t know how to describe the affect it has on me, other than to say that all concerns, worries and fears melt away as it washes over me. Its rhythm and vibe harmonise with some sense of perfection that flows from within. As the song resonates within me, I begin to resonate with life, and sense again divinity.
A couple years ago, Lotus Feet accompanied me and my bicycle on a spiritual awakening, a transformation. When I think back on those days, I realise that the song and I found each other before the bicycle rides that were so much a part of my healing.
A single piece of music isn’t the path back to seizing the day, to finding the divinity of life again, but all journeys begin with a single step. Listening to it again, maybe I can’t quite laugh — except at myself — but I can tilt my head back and chuckle at the sky.
Is there something like a Lotus Feet in your life? Is there something so beautiful, so divine, that it wakes the divine in you everytime you listen to it, something you can call up whenever you need it, can experience at any time?