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Waking Up

Waking Up

In the movie, Shirley Valentine, the main character, Shirley, develops an intimate friendship with a rock. She is on a journey of internal discovery as she leaves her home and husband in the UK to have a mid-life crisis/adventure in Greece. She reveals her heart to the rock who listens patiently and loyally to her-which is something nobody else does for her.

Of course, rocks just sit there, paying undistracted attention. That's the joke. Rocks are not alive, do not feel, and do not experience anything because they are not conscious.

You are not a rock, unable to experience anything. If God had wanted that for you he would have made you a rock. A pretty, smooth, round rock, but a dead rock nonetheless. Despite this, we live most of our waking hours in a trance of non-experience. What a waste.

Given how much more complicated you are than a rock with a nervous system, a brain, a heart, and all, one can surmise that God intended more for you. The reason you are here is to experience things. It is your purpose. If Mary Oliver's poetry had a single message it would be:

Anthony De Mello, in his book Awakenings, has this central message "Wake Up". We live in a trance of unawareness. Unaware of our surroundings and unaware of how we are really feeling and thinking. Just following one breadcrumb of feeling /thought after another never stepping back to see where we are going or want to go. And this sleep state makes us terrific customers. As CS Lewis says, "if you don't know where you want to go, any road will do".

So our purpose is to experience reality. Like a tourist in a new city. Perhaps we chose this life to experience the reality we are in now. "I wonder what that life would be like" we contemplated in eternity past. Well, let's get on with this.

The best way to begin is to lift our heads from the breadcrumb trail and look around. How? Pause at the beginning, middle, and end of the day for say, 10 minutes. Ask what is happening now? What am I feeling now? Emotions, tastes, desires, textures, reactions. What is beautiful now? At the end of the day, reflect on these moments and others when you were awake. We experience in the present moment. Our senses happen in the present moment so they are the best tour guides we could ever have.

You are not a rock. You have the Divine gift of consciousness. A conscious life is the best one, the one you were made for. Tapping into your senses regularly will help you become more conscious and this is a much more satisfying and enjoyable life than following breadcrumbs some marketing executive laid for you to follow blindly.


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