I am going through an interesting process right now and so are many other people that I know. I am being guided into new territories. Just as I thought I was winding down into a quiet boredom waiting for death, the universe has decided to give me a nudge or two. I have decided to take an online course by Mirabai Starr, a well-loved mystic, writer, teacher, philosopher, scholar and many other things. I am drawn to this course because Mirabai believes that we are all everyday mystics – we just have to realize it and claim it. Really? I always thought that a mystic was a very rare breed of person, way too elevated for the likes of me. It turns out that I was wrong according to Mirabai. A mystic is far more common than I realized. It seems that we are all mystics in our deepest hearts.
Come to think about it, I know many mystics. I know them by their kindness and by their joy and peaceful energy. But they also make mistakes and often live messy lives. They could be you. Just being who you are, doing whatever you are doing. But you would probably not identify yourself with that label, which sounds a bit elevated. Mystics are humble people. Although I vowed I would not take another course, I couldn’t resist this one which is called “Divine Meltdown.” I must be the Shift Network’s best customer.
This week I also started learning Qi Gong, an Eastern method of movement which is a little like Tai Chi. It is very slow and meditative and is known to be very healing. Because I have arthritis and lead a sedentary life, I felt it was just what I needed. I have a very gifted teacher, Christa Royal, who radiates joy and peace. She also teaches yoga and does Reiki and Reflexology. She came to my home, for which I was grateful. After one session of seated Qi Gong followed by some Reflexology and Reiki, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was in a state of deep relaxation and I felt more alive than I had felt for a long time.
Why am I doing all this? Well, I sense that there is something more to life and to all of us than appears on the surface. I believe that everyone has this divine spark in them, no matter their circumstances. I have a longing to draw closer to this something more that hides inside of me. I catch glimpses of her from time to time but she is flighty and elusive. As soon as I sink into this energy of divine love, something comes along to distract me – usually something mundane like getting a meal, making a telephone call or needing to take a nap. Yet Mirabai says that it is in our very ordinary, everyday, messy lives that we can awaken to our divine birthright. The trick is to stay present and to spend even a little time each day in stillness. I trust this teacher and so I’m going along with what she says. I don’t know where it will lead me but it should be interesting.
Sometimes it feels like God is taking me on a crazy roller coaster ride. I don’t have any control and so all I can do is surrender and enjoy the ride. This may sound rather magical and woo woo – like something I made up. Well maybe it is coming from my imagination. But God gave us this capacity to imagine greater possibilities. I find I am seeing the world differently, with a fresh sense of wonder. This is truly wonder-full. When I look at trees and flowers and squirrels, they sparkle with life. People too.
But then the divine Ferris wheel stops or slows down and I see the world through a more sober lens. I see the terrible climate crisis we are in, the polarities in our politics and other institutions, the wars and senseless violence in our society, the racism, sexism, other isms – the list could go on. But I am also hopeful. If each of us can raise our consciousness to a higher level, we can influence the collective. I don’t know how this will happen but I trust that God knows. It feels a little like seeing the world through dark glasses and then taking them off. I prefer seeing the world as bright and beautiful, which it is, even when we are making a mess out of it. It’s just that it is often hard to see beyond the chaos.
I had my first class last night and it surpassed my highest expectations. Mirabai was poetic, down to earth, authentic and loving. She prayed, lit a candle, read some poems, led us in guided meditations and took some questions. Later we broke into groups with other students. That was truly amazing and reassuring, hearing where other people are at. I left with a sense of excitement for the possibilities we all have to make a difference in the world mostly by being who we truly are and doing what we truly love. I say Hallelujah to that.I