The dew was thick and mist steamed from the pastures, blending into the bleached white pre-dawn sky, when the dogs and I went walking on this chilly, exquisite morning. Once the sun did begin to rise, it made the dew drops, which clung to grass, wire fences, branches and spider webs, glow a sparkly red-gold. Oh yeah, the world is a temple.
It's the season for spiders, and I've been watching their webdoms expand around my house, in the vegetation throughout the yard, forcing me to pay attention to where I'm going, rather than bullishly charge on through. But that's OK, because isn't it all about being aware, so as to avoid sticky entanglements, thoughtless destruction? In some places, camphor leaves and ironwood needles have been caught in single strands that descend straight down from the trees and there they dangle, dancing and spinning joyously in the breeze, like the Hare Krishna lady on the street corner in Kapaa.
I saw her, btw, in Anahola the other day, and she same to me with a smile and a loving hug and a wish of Merry Christmas, though that day was past, and I reflected upon how lucky I am, with my work, to have the freedom to approach total strangers and probe into their lives and share those gleanings with readers so that they might understand others, especially the “odd others,” and so perhaps themselves, just a little bit better. Because though each of is unique, we're really not that different.
I've been spending some time in the garden, which feels to be waking from its slumber, or maybe I've roused it with my attention, now that we've passed the winter solstice and the days are growing longer, imperceptibly to me, though I'm sure the plants notice, since they're far more attuned to such important things. I had completed several hours of digging and planting and weeding and tending when a friend dropped by, just as the pink-orange wisps of sunset were gathering over the naked summit of Waialeale and the waxing moon and Jupiter, all cozied up, were starting to gleam.
“The garden always seems so much happier when I've spent time in it,” I said, looking out over the neat beds carved from guinea grass, a slowly expanding study in shades of green and brown.
“That's because soil absorbs all your negative ions, which changes your perspective and makes you view things more positively,” he responded.
Or maybe, I thought, by working in the garden, close to the plants, attentive only to their needs, it changes me so that I'm better able to perceive their happiness.
Who knows? But of this I am certain: it's all about perception. As Robert Wicks noted on a recent New Dimensions broadcast:
It's the perception that we have that shapes things. We can make a heaven of hell or a hell of heaven.
I've spent a lot of time probing the heights of heaven and the depths of hell, both my own and society's — not that there is any real difference — and in the process I've come to believe that we can't do much to change the world until we first, or simultaneously, change ourselves, an idea that I find exhilarating because it gives each of us the power.
We don't have to wait for the next election, or pass the job off to others. We don't have to wait until we have all the answers, or the perfect solution. We can just keep chipping away at the illusions, the false beliefs, the limitations, the fear.
As a friend said, when I asked if he made New Year's resolutions: “No. I just tell myself, OK, do everything a little bit better.”
Or to borrow a phrase that Stephanie Azaria used when talking about what we need to know to thrive in 2012:
Step into your role of creator. Step into your higher self.