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On the good state (continued)


.....  triggers: the cabin pressure or the lighting or the lack of sleep or the fussy neighbour or the duration of these assaults or perhaps all of the above. I don’t list crying babies because I enjoy that I am not in charge of the unhappy child, and that a diligent parent is taking care of it.

   The fear and the pain are gone now. Well kind of because I have to recreate the solution all the time, but this is how it started: in the closing lecture at a two-week retreat in New Zealand, Yuan Tze asked us to be grateful to all the people and things that had made this event possible. When he also included the buildings in his list, it felt like a lazy slap on my face to wake me up.  What? Buildings? Really? How does one thank buildings?  I had mentioned on my own website that, based on the definition of Qi, rocks were also alive but apparently it hadn’t occurred to me that this was for real.

   The confusion stayed with me through the hours that followed and when the next day I caught my flight back to Canada, I decided on a whim to feel grateful to the plane for taking me home so fast and safely and comfortably. I also thought of all the people involved in designing, building, maintaining and flying this magnificent invention. My feeling was genuine: I liked the sound of the engines, I liked the seat and I liked the humming of voices.  I felt happy and thoroughly enjoyed myself. No migraine, no pain, not even boredom. It was incredibly good.

   Now that I know (for real) that the experience is up to me when I find that circumstances are difficult, I keep practicing this. A later experience I had of this shift of consciousness, was of a kind that is perhaps more difficult to share, but I will try.


Part II: The wedding picture






The Ren Xue retreat in Wonder Valley is on grounds used for weddings. The hallway is covered with photographs of couples in a white gazebo, the masterpiece of a generous garden of the kind California can afford and Canada cannot. Harsh winters are so clearly absent from the landscape. The portraits are all taken from across an artificial lake with a high-reaching fountain.  Even the sound is beautiful.

   Once upon a lunch time, I was sitting across the lake from the gazebo. Some trees framed my view of the lake and shaded me, making it an idyllic spot in the harsh midday sun. Yuan Tze had given us a deep lecture about the healthy consciousness that morning. I got from it that it was the essence of the essence of healing. As I lifted my gaze from my plate to the gazebo, an unexpected sight paralyzed me. The water was clearer than clear, deeper than deep and the blue had an intensity I had never seen before. It felt blue. The sunlight was flickering intensely on the quivering surface of the lake.  The gazebo and its garden were vibrant beyond description and so were the trees nearby. There was an older lady with a purple shirt sitting in my sight line. She was also eating her lunch. The sun that was gently reaching her through the trees gave her white hair a bright aura. She looked exquisite and perfect in the composition.

   I have training in photography and wondered how it was possible that all the professional photographers who displayed their art on the walls of Wonder Valley, had missed the very best perspective for the mandatory gazebo-wedding-portrait.

   Then for a moment my mind got busy with ordinary and slightly frustrating thoughts, and in an instant the heightened beauty was gone, like a light switching off. I realized then that there was a bush blocking part of the view to the gazebo, that the lady was slouching, and that her hair was of an ordinary gray. I was shocked to know I had created both views and that they were equally real.

   I cannot repeat this experience, but I know now that to see beauty, I am the one who needs to change. 


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