I was going through a stressful time, and my pain condition was starting to ramp up again. My life coach, Iben, encouraged me to go to the ocean. She said that I could fill up my internal reserves and connect with God/the Universe in nature and especially at the ocean.
The minute I sat down in the sand, tears poured out. After about fifteen minutes my emotions calmed, and I said out loud, “Show me how to move forward here.”
Immediately I noticed a flock of mini sandpipers. They ran in as the waves retreated, and ran out just ahead of the rush of water, and all the time they poked their beaks in trying to get a meal. Then I noticed another flock of birds flying above the crashing waves and thought, “I need to be above it all, just like those birds.”
Then I realized that it wasn’t two separate flocks, and the same birds were both soaring and scrambling. And when the birds were on the ground, they never got tumbled up in the waves.
Those birds were my teacher that day. I realized that I can view my life from a higher perspective and then drop down to participate in my life- messy as it is. And while I was down here trying to get my needs met, I could avoid getting tumbled up in the chaos by staying in tune with the nature around me and going with the flow.
Photo by: Mariane Gabriel
Before my illness, I wondered if spiritual experiences were simply the result of activating the brain in a different way. When I read Eckart Tolle’s description of living peacefully in the moment, I thought that in response to his depression- he had simply learned to decrease the activity of the brain’s frontal lobes and to increase the activity of other parts of his brain. This notion was confirmed when I read that certain brain areas are active on functional MRI when people feel connected to the Universe/God in deep meditation.
But then during the peak of my chronic pelvic pain, I looked up one night as I was taking out the trash and for the first time I really saw the moon and stars. Over years and years of healing, I looked up more and more often. I began to appreciate that, like the brain, the universe is vast, mostly unknown, and full of potential. It occurred to me that as human beings, the only way we experience the world is through our biological system, and if we are connecting to something more it would be reflected in our physiology.
This idea that there was more to the world than I had previously considered, and perhaps more to me than my basic biology- opened up new ways of perceiving and experiencing my life. When you think you have all the answers, you probably have all you are going to get! It is this openness to the idea that there is more, to us and to the world, that creates the possibility of experiencing it.
Photo by: Mariane Gabriel