It seems, in a way, cruel. To feel the curtains of one’s heart part without effort to enter the place of magic and pure presence, only to return to where you are used to residing. I have not re-learned what the young child already knows: to live each moment in open-hearted wonder. The ordinary often takes over my mind, and replaces the inherent magic held inside all life.
The blades of grass on the lawn attract the eye in their uniformity and neatness, but the magic they hold is hidden unless I stop to view with fresh eyes.
This takes effort, or at least intention. The energy in the ordinary feels comfortable, and even flat, when compared to the extraordinary. Yet, this is the nature of life for most of us. I can’t help but think this is part of the cause of so many of our addictions. This inherent search for a “high” to escape the ordinary. When one feels euphoria, or glimpses “nirvana,” it is difficult to accept the placid.
It’s not simply the placid, though, is it? It’s not fair to say the ordinary, alone, is not enough, and the reason why we seek something more, which does not always feel wonderful. When I was in the moors, at the Raven’s Nest, I did not feel wonderful. In fact I felt a profound sadness and longing. The key, though, is that I felt this state to such an extend it opened my heart to pure connection to the Land and its Spirit. There became, for that time, no division between us. We were one being. It’s a little ironic that I would gladly trade a piece of cheesecake (which happens to be my favorite dessert), to feel this presence again, with all of the pain.
What I felt was a sense of purpose and belonging that was impossible to describe, except that it felt like I had come home. After, I should add, a long absence. For the ordinary life seems to distance oneself from this state of unfettered connection.
The real “high,” is not an artificial attainment. It is not an escape from the mundane, but rather to feel the extraordinary in the ordinary in each moment. Even if the extraordinary is not so wonderful to feel. I don’t even know if this is entirely possible to feel with such presence, all of the time. The care-takers of Arbor Low, I suspect, could not tend to their farm at its base, if they were feeling the energy of its extraordinary magic all the time. And, furthermore, does that mean that their life has any less meaning?
I am, on the one hand, quite in awe of their role as caretakers, living a seemingly ordinary life that serves to ground the energies that are so powerfully present above them. It is almost as though they know not what they protect, and that in itself makes their role all the more extraordinary. Really, how else could one reside in a place such as this?
Is the farmer living a life more, or less, real than the person who walks the stones and feels transported beyond the mundane? At some point, it seems, we all must come back to Earth. We must tend to our children and animals, clean our residences, prepare and eat meals and carry out the daily tasks of life. If we don’t, a state of chaos can take over. Messes pile up, the gnaw of hunger starves the body, bills go unpaid, and we eventually find that we have lost our handle on life itself.
Yet we keep seeking, don’t we? As though we are trying to fill a void that is infinite. We use food, drugs, cars, vacations, houses, shoes, porn, electronics, exercise…there are so many ways to fill in the blank. There are almost an endless number of things we use to try to fill the void that is ever-present. Telling us there is more to life, if we could just figure out what it was and how to get it.
Of course, getting it is the problem. There is no getting of what is already present. We look outside, instead of looking within. It’s not easy to see in the dark, so we resist the finding of the light within. To see into that place of magic that resides in all things. You. A blade of grass. A rock. The person beside you. To open that door to the extraordinary in the ordinary, and leave it open. To see the world through the eyes of the inner child, always, seems as impossible as it seem necessary.