“Writing about attention, I see that I have written a good deal about pain. This is no coincidence. It may be different for others, but pain is what it took to teach me to pay attention. In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. The precise moment I was in was always the only safe place for me. Each moment, taken alone, was always bearable. In the exact now, we are all, always, all right. Yesterday the marriage may have ended. Tomorrow the cat may die. The phone call from the lover, for all my waiting, may not ever come, but just at the moment, just now, that’s all right. I am breathing in and out. Realizing this, I began to notice that each moment was not without its beauty.” ----Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
True. When all false hopes and vain expectations have been shattered, when we find ourselves to be devastatingly human and horrifically fallible, when the cold waters of despair are rising about our throats, how unbearably lovely the clear notes of the meadowlark, the rays of the sun piercing the fog and empty branches of the morning with spears of near-blinding light. The small, the commonplace, the quotidian become for us once again the treasure they are meant to be always.
I am not satisfied that this should be so. I want to live consciously in the midst of glory everyday, every hour, every minute. I want to be constantly aware that we’re breathing in the dust of stars with our every breath, that we ourselves are made of it. I want such a perpetual wonder of the living riches around me and the light that shines in and through them, that desire for anything else is totally nullified, that false hopes and vain expectations have not even the potential of significance. I want these things for all of us.
In the meantime, I will try to welcome pain when it comes. Not with glee, no, but with as much willingness as I can muster. Some places are easier to walk through if one doesn’t have to be dragged kicking and screaming, and beauty is easier to see in dark places if one’s eyes aren’t clenched shut.