What are you doing with your time right now? This blog is a wake-up call – use this time wisely and you can emerge from your isolation as a new person!
Henry Thoreau, the American philosopher who lived in a hut in the woods in Walden, New England, told an inspiring story, based on a true event he had heard about. A family was gathered for a celebration and everyone was seated around at a very old table, made of apple tree wood, which “had stood in a farmer’s kitchen for sixty years, first in Connecticut, and afterward in Massachusetts”. Possibly, one of their ancestors had actually built it, or certainly purchased it from a local craftsman. They had been keeping an urn of hot water on the table, which warmed the wood in a way that most likely had never happened since the tree had been felled, and the wood seasoned, before the table had been built.
From a crack in the wood emerged a bug, “from an egg deposited in the living tree many years earlier still.” The bug was hatched by the heat emanating from the urn and may have gnawed “for several weeks” in order to free itself. (IMAGE 2 – haven’t found one…what bug can we use?)
The bug has been in wood for many decades and then emerges to a new, brighter life, and Thoreau hopes humanity can leave its life of dependence on things and emerge into a greater world of transcendental freedom. Who knows what beautiful and winged life, whose egg has been buried for ages….may unexpectedly come forth…to enjoy a perfect summer life at last!
Thoreau was a member of the Transcendentalist movement. Transcendentalist adherents were early environmentalists. They believe in the inherent goodness of people and nature, that society and its institutions have corrupted the purity of the individual. People are at their best when truly self-reliant and independent. Thoreau’s writings have influenced the Human Potential and New Age movements. By telling us this story he wanted to confirm that the potential of our ‘winged life’ may be dormant, but we can be woken up – like a princess in the castle surrounded by brambles. IMAGE 3 Sometimes it takes warmth from outside to stimulate this process. Possibly someone else will have to arrive in our lives. Or, we will stir in our slumber and catch a glimpse of new possibilities as if in a dream. Then we will remind ourselves to engage with an ancient promise we made to ourselves, before we were born into our present incarnation.
So many old spiritual stories describe how we forget why we decided to descend into material world. In a Jewish version, the Angel Layla watches over the newly forming baby and touches it gently above the top lip, whispering ‘ssssh’…this is why we have a little indentation just there! IMAGE 4 The angel has made sure we forget most of what we knew in heaven, but wants us to retain enough deep memory, tucked away in the recesses of our consciousness, so we will always be seeking our Divine nature. The poet Wordsworth echoes this story:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar,
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
In this poem, Intimations of immortality from recollections of early childhood, Wordsworth describes how, as a small child, he experienced the world being apparelled in celestial light. Through his innocent eyes he could actually see the Divine Radiance shining in the world. IMAGE 5 But he is saddened by the fact that he no longer sees the Divine presence…a glory has passed from the earth. This poem is a truly significant testimony for our understanding of Shefa…that is what the child sees in the natural world. Children, before they are educated to analyse and divide the world, which begins to happen almost as soon as they learn language, are in a state of bliss. Well, most of the time – except when they are hungry, or when the diaper is soggy!
Jesus told his disciples that they would need to become ‘as little children’, before they could enter the kingdom. And the ‘meek’ would inherit the earth. The state of innocence that allows us all to see Divine Radiance all around, allows us to appreciate the flow of Shefa in all aspects of nature, including in our own physical body. This visionary capacity may seem far from our everyday, focussed, efficient state of mind. We tell ourselves we must be ‘realistic’. But deep inside each one of us is a winged self, wanting – waiting – to be released. This release leads to an interior knowledge, certainty and confidence – it has nothing to do with social expectations, what you should do, or not do. It is your life task to encourage your little bug to wake up and start flying. Regular meditation takes you to a state of innocence and bliss. Think of this heavenly state as your Divine playground. Regular meditation playfulness, using the Shefa characters, will bring blessings, healing and abundance as an easy flow. No effort required.
During these strange times, when so many people have to make huge adjustments to their life-styles, here is something to consider…perhaps the pandemic virus is like the tea-urn on the table. Maybe this is Mother Nature’s way of heating up the collective human environment in order to stimulate our forgotten wisdom. Under these circumstances we have an opportunity to draw on our natural resources of compassion and our capacity to adapt in the face of challenging circumstances. But, much more than that, we are being given an opportunity to re-discover the secrets hidden in our seed. IMAGE 6 We get the ‘unprecedented’ chance to wake up to our real, Divine potential.