Listening for your Answers. Seeing your Miracles

I need to begin this post by stating that I do not believe in God. Having said that I also need to state that I don’t not believe in God. I think of myself as a born again, radical, fundamentalist Agnostic; I don’t know and if you’re honest, you don’t either.
That’s not to say that I’m closed mined about the whole situation. In fact, on the rare occasions that  I discuss the subject, I always say that I am the world’s most reluctant Agnostic. You will never meet anyone more interested in and eager to discover ‘something else’ but, I simply haven’t found any compelling evidence to push me one way or the other. Until recently.
The Zen have a saying, “When the student is ready, the Master will appear.” Having been a student of Eastern philosophy and practitioner of Zen for well over 40 years, I have met ‘masters’ at the most unexpected times and learned so much from them.
I thought that I was open minded and open to discovery, but I recently had several experiences that showed me that my mental attitude of hardcore skepticism was blocking me from seeing and experiencing wonderful phenomena all around me.
Over the past few months I have come across several essays and books that point out that meditation and prayer can be viewed as one side of a conversation. The problem is that the person frequently only concentrates on their side of the conversation and doesn’t take the time to ‘wake up’ and look and listen for the other side of the conversation. That struck a nerve, so I made it at point to try to suspend my skepticism and really maintain an open and peaceful mind to be ready to hear or see if there was another side of the conversation. I was amazed at the results.
A few weeks ago I was waiting to get my hair cut and struck up a conversation with a woman who was waiting for her child to finish his haircut. She asked me what I do for a living, and I gave her the short version and just said that I was a mental health therapist and clinical hypnotherapist. She got a serious look on her face and remarked that I must regularly hear accounts of terrible pain and injustice from my clients and she then asked how I maintain my own mental balance and peace of mind. I told her that I practice self-hypnosis as well as Zen and meditation.
When she heard this she broke into a beautiful smile and said, ‘How wonderful. You must experience so many miracles.” I said that I have had some experience in my life where I beat unfathomable odds to survive and I guess one could call those miracles, but other than that, I find life, people and the world wonderful gifts, but not especially miraculous.
Once again she laughed, flashed that incredibly beautiful (and white) smile and said, “That’s because you aren’t listening. You preach mindfulness and living in the moment, but the problem is that you become wrapped up in your own moment and miss the magic of all the other moments happening all around you. Miracles are happening every minute; you simply need to open your heart and mind to become aware of them.”
That blew me away! I had never seen this woman before and the chance of her recognizing me from my website or Facebook pages were infinitesimal; how could she possibly know what I advocate and my mindset?
Before I could ask her to explain, her son was finished with his haircut and they called me back for my own and I missed the opportunity to ask her to explain or to swap cards. But, she had gotten my attention and I was seriously pondering her words while I sat in the stylist’s chair and resolved to open my mind and eyes and start looking and listening for ‘answers’ to my meditations and questions.
When I got back to my car, I spent a few moments clearing my mind and developing a state of “open attentiveness.’ Started my car and pulled onto the busy street. After a block or so, I turned on the radio and very first song I heard was “I Saw God Today.”
I laughed and said, “Well, there’s a coincidence for you,” but, it did get my attention and since then I’ve made it a point to really pay attention to the people, events and the world around me. The funny thing is that I have started to notice tiny little things, little moments of peace and beauty that have always been there but, I was simply too busy or wrapped up in my own thoughts to recognize.
My meditations also changed. After developing a blank mind, I simply followed my breath and really ‘listened.’ A funny thing happened. I started to get flashes of insight into myself, my life, my clients and questions I’ve been pondering for years. I’m not saying that the clouds parted and a hand came down and tweaked me upside my head, but I was definitely noticing a level of insight and intuition that hadn’t been there (or at least I hadn’t noticed it) before.
Then yesterday morning I was just starting my one hour commute to my day job when I pulled onto the highway. For the first time in weeks, the roads were clear and dry; the traffic was light and I had plenty of time to get to the office. I took several deep, cleansing breaths and playfully though to my self, “Hey Lady, are you still there? Thanks for the push in the right direction, but I could use a little more guidance. How about throwing me a bone here?” I ‘listened’ for a few moments…to silence, then smiled and shrugged and put on my earphones and turned on the text-to-speech feature of my Kindle to start listening to a new book.
The very first words I heard were:
Restrain your fear. God is with you. God is always with you. Do not deviate from the path. Not now. Not when you are so close. For it is not your will that matters. It is God’s will. Always God’s will.
I nearly drove off the road. I grabbed the Kindle and looked at the screen and sure enough, those were the first words of the book (an adventure, thriller). This is a book by an author I had never heard of, downloaded for free from a site that gave me the book as a promotional incentive to sign up for their service .
I’m not saying that these events were supernatural or metaphysical phenomenon. But I will also say that I very frequently tell my staff and clients, “I don’t believe in coincidence.” I will also say that since these ‘amusing’ events started happening I have been filled with an even greater sense of peace and purpose than usual. Whatever the source or meaning, if there even is a meaning, they have had a deep and positive affect on me.
So I guess my message this morning is this: Open your eyes and minds to the small and seemingly insignificant events happening around you. You may be amazed at how many ‘miracles’ you become aware of.
Here’s hoping you have and intentionally great and attentive day.
Rich
 
 

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