Sitting on an airplane in flight, I was listening to an inspiring audio seminar on my iPod. Then the in-flight movie came on. Since I was in a bulkhead seat and the projection screen was just a few feet from me at eye level, it was almost impossible not to watch the movie. So I kept listening to the audio seminar with my ears and my mind, while the movie paraded before my eyes.
The film, a predictable teenage romantic comedy, was easy to figure out even without sound. So while I was primarily focused on the lecture, a lesser part of my attention was tracking the film. Halfway through the movie I realized I was participating in a seminar that transcended the one I was listening to. I was learning how to remain established in a higher consciousness even while the drama of the world unfolded before me — the formula spiritual masters prescribe for a successful life.
We live in a multi-dimensional universe in which an infinite number of parallel realities exist simultaneously. Some of the realities are wonderful, others horrible; some exhilarating, others annoying; some fascinating, others boring. The reality you live in is determined by what you give your attention to. On one dimension a mindless movie drags on, while on another dimension impeccable wisdom is broadcasting. You get to choose which story you will participate in.
Live as if you already know.As I was walking to breakfast at a retreat center, a woman sitting beside the path asked me, "Do you know what time it is?" Not having a watch, I guessed, "I think it's about 9:15."
"I don't think so," she said quickly. "It was 9:15 about half an hour ago."
"Then why did you ask me?" I asked her.
"I guess I was looking for confirmation," she replied.
A Zen story tells of a man who came home one evening and found a thief tossing his possessions into a sack. In Zen fashion, the homeowner decided to just sit outside the door and meditate. At some point the thief saw the man and dashed out of the house. In the commotion the homeowner opened his eyes and saw that the thief had dropped a bowl from his sack.
“Wait, you forgot something!” called the homeowner as he picked up the bowl and tried to catch the crook. But the thief was running fast and soon disappeared into the night.
The owner stopped and took a breath. He looked up into the sky and noticed the night was illuminated by a stunning full moon. “I wish I could give you the moon,” he whispered with a sigh.
It's not who you know that counts;it's who you are.A voice message from my friend Kinnie, who works as a massage therapist at a luxury hotel said: "Call me--I have to tell you about my brush with greatness."
I phoned Kinnie and she said, "I massaged Dustin Hoffman today."
Well, that was cool. Yet something bothered me about her phraseology, "My brush with greatness."
I recently painted a deck on my house. I enjoy painting, a meditation in being present that doesn’t require much thought but lots of attention. If you tend to live in your head, paint something. Your hands may get dirty but your mind will stay clean.
With just a few planks left to color I noticed I was almost out of paint. Looking back and forth between the paint can and the unfinished boards I wondered if I would have enough paint to finish the job. I dipped my brush in the remaining paint and made sure I didn’t drip any unnecessarily. I repeated the process until I was swirling the brush around the inner sides of the paint can to make sure I absorbed every ounce of liquid. After several minutes I was amazed at how much paint I had “squeezed” out of the remaining supply. By the time I finished, the inside of the can was completely dry.
During an overnight airplane flight I perused the entertainment selections and discovered the audio book Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte. I liked what I heard and found Ms. LaPorte to be an articulate, poetic exponent of living a juicy, authentic life. She had my attention.
One of the ways to recognize your talent and passion, LaPorte suggests, is to consider what other people have criticized you for. I had heard, “What you thought was wrong with you may be what’s right with you,” but the idea of using criticism as a compass to greatness takes the lesson to a whole new level.