I think I began to realize while still a child that there was more to life than meets the eye when my mother would say things like, “When you hang shirts on the clothesline, don’t hang them by the shoulders…hang them by the hem.” Or when she decided that we wouldn’t be planting flowers from seeds anymore…from now on we’d buy them already blooming. Or when she would iron our bed sheets (!). Or when she would tell me and my sister Bertie not to walk around in our bare feet during a thunderstorm (even inside the house). None of it made any sense to me. It just didn’t seem to matter somehow.
I would, on warm summer evenings, lie in the cool grass in our yard and watch the millions and millions and millions of stars twinkling in the sky and think: How do they stay there, up in the sky, without falling? Where does the sky end, anyway? I would think myself into a tizzy over these metaphysical conundrums. Life itself fascinated me and I wanted to know all the whats, whys, ifs, and becauses. In comparison, the laundry, the flower seeds and the bare feet seemed awfully trivial.
Little did I imagine back then, so many, many years ago, that my whole life, in one way or another, would be an ongoing search for answers to the many questions I had about life. I read book after book on metaphysical, spiritual, and esoteric subjects. I joined various groups and organizations over the years, all the while not really making a whole lot of effort to put much of what I was learning into practice. And even when I did, I would desist after a few attempts. What I enjoyed was learning about “truth,” talking about it, thinking about it.
To make a long story short, it took me many decades before I finally realized that life itself was the truth—every piece of laundry, every flower seed, every bare foot was fraught with meaning. It all matters. Everything I’d been looking for was right under my nose—I just hadn’t been paying attention!
It’s really quite true that when the mind is occupied with thinking about things—even spiritual things—we’re not really present, so we’re missing the boat. At this late date, I’m more eager to savor what is, than to think about what it all means.