Every relationship that we have in our lives -- our contact with each person, place, and event -- serves a very special, if yet to be realized purpose: They are mirrors that can serve to show us things about ourselves that can be realized in no other way. I think this is one of the reasons that so many of us love to share in the life of mother nature, for she brings us lessons in a classroom like no other. Many times, without our even knowing it, she reveals some celestial secret that sits within us, like a seed, that will only stir and rise into our consciousness when we least want to be disturbed. And yet, the flowering of this higher self-understanding brings with it a new kind of freedom that can be realized in no other way.
Come the fall, particularly nearer its end, the ground on the little mountaintop where I live is literally golden brown with all of the oak leaves that have parted ways with their seasonal parents.
It's so beautiful to watch the thousands of leaves fall like slow-motion snowflakes... finding their way to the forest floor and their temporary resting place there; then come the late October, early November winds, and all the leaves are off to the races, like a large gathering of tiny tumblers they're driven here and there, rolling head over end, in a dead heat to places unknown.
The remarkable thing -- and I've always wondered about it -- is where are they all going? Because, truth be told (at least where I live), for all of this movement, I can't see any difference in what remains before me. The leaves the wind picks up and scatters down the hill are replaced, moment by moment, with the leaves moving up the hill from the other side! Something like a giant game of musical chairs, only there's a spot for all of the players.
Everything moves, but nothing changes.
The ground over which these leaves race remains the same; it provides the stage upon which an infinite number of characters interact with one another, yet never really change anything other than their places. It seems to me this is a near-perfect metaphor for spiritual aspirants to understand with regards to their true self, and its relationship with the world around them.
Within us -- the heart of us, really -- is a "ground" that is to our thoughts and feelings, our relationships with others and ourselves, as is the earth to the leaves that first race across her and then, no longer able to run, give themselves up to nourish her body so that she may give birth again come the spring.
Be here. Be still; quietly remember the presence of and within yourself, and you will know, without thinking, that while all around you everything changes, within you lives something unchanging. Fearlessness follows this discovery in much the same way as late evening shadows flee the morning light.
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