So many times in life, we feel like nothing is new - like we’re waking to the same old world from the same old place within ourselves. Like the intoxicating ‘new smell’ that came with our last awakening is now indistinguishable from the odorless familiarity of the everyday…
The most dangerous belief we have in returning to Wholeness is that there’s nothing left to make contact with - that nothing holds the true color of Mystery anymore…it’s all just rinse water.
And yet the soul runs dry. The heart fades. The body bleaches.
I once believed it impossible to be another way in the world. I couldn’t tell the difference from one day to the next – all experience was fed into a Xerox tray by the hands of some unpaid intern whose sole purpose was to press the ‘copy’ button for years without reprieve.
The idea of walking through each day with a deep sense of aliveness in a profoundly animate world was beyond my comprehension. It was only when I started to see just how many invitations there are in everyday life to come into contact with untouched things, unknowable things, still luminous in quality things - that I began to see how much was unexplored and still shiny inside myself too.
the mystery never leaves you - behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts – the silence of another world coaxes the invisible into the seen.
I took a walk recently across the craggy feet of a nearby headland and scaled its barnacled boulders. I felt the cold Tasman Sea whip across my face but the stones beneath my feet were warm, and selflessly offered their heat like all generous friends who remember the tea.
The seaweed had been dried for lack of tide, leaving its crispy hairs matted across the face of the rock. Occasionally, the rockweed’s split ends got pulled and combed by the sea, turning its frayed ends from basalt white to silken chartreuse. I pushed my toes deep into its kelpie hairline, and each strand responded in kind, curling around my bare feet…. A sea slug slurped nonchalantly past a toe, slick and dark with tiny azure dots pricked across its back. Its billowing side gill made it look like a passing spaceship in an oceanic galaxy.
I looked towards a huge boulder ahead of me to see a newly fallen rock smashed on the ground as if it had been thrown across the table by a jealous wife. Its 50-foot descent split its body into a hundred pieces.
Tiny specs of dirt sprayed off the cliff onto the top of my head as I peered into the rock’s inners: a ribboned gut with layers of salt white, red ochre, black granite, and grey slate. Colors to me, represented the heart of Australia. I placed my hand on its center and closed my eyes.
The stone, birthed from its Triassic mother, had never been touched by a human hand before. Slumbering in darkness for over 200 million years, it was now open in front of me, exposed to the light for the first time.
What had been unseen and untouched in this rock suddenly met what was unseen and untouched in me.
Made from the same elements as in nature, we share infinite layers of Mystery with that which is largely undiscovered.
Only when we touch that which has not seen the light, do we touch what’s closest to the truth.
We have the chance, right now, to see something new in ourselves. Something anciently wise and yet wildly new by simply paying close attention to what is happening in our experience right now.
The weathered and weary in us need us to walk away from beliefs that say there is nothing luminous here. Or that we will feel this sense of aliveness - but only once we’ve attained something, realized something, changed something, bettered something first.
Life quickly becomes dead matter when we give up on Mystery, benumbed by our Minds into one leveled plain of reality. But we cannot see the magic if we are intent on fleecing the magician before each performance. And that is what living from the mind feels like - like we need to know everything before we can believe in anything.
Staying closed and certain will never allow the world to see how we glisten inside. And life will continue to flatten, dull, and duplicate to a mind that has only a ‘copy’ button in its power.
We don’t need to go to a sacred place to discover a new world within and without. There’s so much untouched right here in the realm of what’s unnoticed…the patted seagull footprint in the sand that disappears into the foam, the phloem inside the broken stem of a flower, the newly puffed wolf’s milk on deadwood, or newly spun web-lace. The pause before you respond to a difficulty, the way your heart begins to swell at the ordinary, the willingness to turn back, to hold judgment, to slow down, to take stock…these are all ways we open to life’s hidden wonders.
There are unlimited ways to be alive in the world, to think, to see, to feel, to converse with our circumstances, beyond what we ever believed possible - because everything is new in this moment when we offer our attention to the unseen.
There is always something we haven’t yet touched, always something we haven’t quite awakened from, always something that is yet to know us by our true name…and that makes this life a deeply humbling journey. It makes life an infinite voyage of discovery, that only gets more magical as we age.
So seek out the unseen, untouched, undiscovered today - in the garden, on the walk, while sipping tea with a friend, while spending time alone in silence.
Whatever you discover is yours to map against all those years lost as sea.