Whether or not you believe the crop circles are a paranormal communication, Glickman underscores a broader lesson in the distinction between mechanics and meaning. To know how things work is important. Yet knowing how things work is useless unless you know why things work. If you are obsessed with the details of life, you may miss the experience of life. “To receive the gift of a Rembrandt painting, you must let the painting speak to you,” Glickman suggests. “You feel it, absorb it, and live it. If you spend all your time analyzing the chemical composition of the paint, you miss the purpose of the painting.”
This lesson is brought home by the Sufi rascal-sage Nasrudin, who was traveling on a ferry boat when he was approached by a pompous intellectual. “Have you ever studied astronomy?” asked the professor.
“I can't say that I have,” answered the mystic.
“Then you have wasted much of your life. By reading the constellations, a skilled captain can navigate a ship around the entire globe.”
A few minutes later the learned one asked, “Have you ever studied meteorology?”
“No, I haven't.”
“Well, then, you have wasted most of your life,” the academician chided. “Methodically capturing the wind can propel a sailing ship at astounding speeds.”
After a while the fellow inquired, “Have you ever studied oceanography?”
“Not at all.”
“Ah! What a waste of your time! Awareness of the currents helped many ancient peoples find food and shelter.”
A few minutes later Nasrudin approached the scholar and asked, “Have you ever studied swimming?”
“Haven’t had the time,” the professor haughtily responded.
“Then you have wasted all of your life — the boat is sinking.”
Considering the challenges facing humanity, one might wonder if it’s time to put less emphasis on activity and more emphasis on awakening. Less what and more why. The form of life is the chalice through which we drink the essence of life.
In the classic film To Sir with Love, a high school student develops a crush on her English teacher. Eventually she gathers the courage to send him a love letter. A few days later she is thrilled to receive a response from him. When she opens the envelope, however, she finds that he has simply corrected the spelling and grammar of her letter, the paper filled with red marks. He made no response to her communication. He analyzed the form, but missed the message.
A Course in Miracles defines a miracle as “a shift in perception.” Miracles don’t always change the facts of life, but they do change the viewing point of life. It’s possible to live in a miraculous universe, but not know it because you are looking elsewhere. C.S. Lewis declared, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”
Our culture is saturated with mechanics while starving for meaning, filled with the mundane while famished for miracles. While the crop circles offer us signs in fields of wheat, the universe is offering us signs in the fields of our lives. One message on both fields might be to get our heads out from under the hood and catch a glimpse of the widening highway before us.
Alan Cohen is the author of many popular inspirational books, including the new-released Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment. Join Alan for Metaphysics and Miracles, May 30 – June 3 at the Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. For more information about this program and Alan’s other books and free daily inspirational quotes via email, visit www.alancohen.com, email email@example.com, or phone 1808572-0001.