Sunday, September 11, 2011

the path full of signs and further reading

The Path

I know the path: it is straight and narrow.
It is like the edge of a sword.
I rejoice to walk on it.
I weep when I slip.
God's word is:
"He who strives never perishes."
I have implicit faith in that promise.
Though, therefore, from my weakness
I fail a thousand times,
I shall not loose faith.

--Mahatma Ghandi
(From Timeless Wisdom by Eknath Easwaran)

I believe that there are no coincidences. That there is a reason for everything. That despite how much things don't turn out as we hoped or planned, that there is a greater plan out there for us that we can't even begin to imagine, we just can't think big enough!

So I choose to believe that my desire to step into Wheeler Hall (Today, I was in Berkeley--which will need a more extensive article altogether), where many of my English classes where held, must have some higher purpose.

There at the lobby, I'd accidentally stepped into a 9-11 peace conference being run by the Berkeley Meta Center for Non-Violence. I could not join the talks, but was drawn anyway to a booth with books. Most were titles dealing with peace and non-violence. But some jumped out at me instantly. First, books by Eknath Easwaran, one about Ghandi and another called Timeless Wisdom, a collection of sage sayings and stories.

Lawrence, the volunteer at the booth, asked how I came to the conference. I explained to him that I was an old Berkeley grad simply having a nostalgic walk about campus, struck by a sudden desire to enter the building. He looked at me and commented that I went to Berkeley didn't explain why I would be familiar with Eknath Easwaran. So I explained that I also teach yoga and studied his translation of the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. We talked briefly about yoga. And he suggested Easwaran's Passage Meditation to accompany Timeless Wisdom.

Just the night before, Reggie and Randan (my lovely friends and hosts in Oakland) were talking about how much meditation has helped them, which reminded me of how much it had been helping me these last couple of weeks.

Recently, I've been very sensitive to signs. My intuition seems keener than before. Or perhaps my ability to translate these odd feelings is simply more refined. Whatever the case, I'm trying to be more attentive to the world around me, to the little messages it might be sending me. And heck, I'll be happy for any help the universe might be throwing my way. I'll be the first to admit, I need help.

So, perhaps, the message is to meditate. Here, have some tools. They're right here in front of you.

The third book I was attracted to is a book by James O'Dea, called Creative Stress, a path for evolving souls living through personal and planetary upheaval. Now, I have an aversion to self help-sounding books though I find myself guiltily being drawn to that category more and more recently, but as I turned the book around, the first review was from Marianne Williamson saying the "book delivers the medicine for our modern times."

A friend recently sent me a quote from Williamson that resonated so much I shared it on facebook: "And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” I love that because it is true. So, I felt rather inclined toward trusting what she thought and opened up the book to find passages that seemed to intelligently verbalize the process I've so recently been through.

In his introduction, he writes: "Stress either opens us up or closes us off. When it causes us to open, life does not get easier, it gets deeper, more creatively engaged and spiritually fulfilling. Overcoming our tendency to close is our most essential work, even when life throws boulders in our path..."

I may have left Wheeler Hall with a bag heavier than when I arrived, but I was more weightless myself. Thank you, Universe. I appreciate the guidance/literature. Its nice to know you still have my back!

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