Today I awoke to stream sounds and birdsong. Through my open felt-blanket door poured sunshine filtered green by the jungly canopy and rich air alive with verdant scents. My heart was full of wonder at the fullness of the natural beauty that surrounded me. I felt clearly that the gift of this day is valuable beyond calculation, wonderful beyond measure.
Day! What a beautiful word. If I allow it to roll around my tongue and my mind as I say it I feel a sense of expansion and delight. It opens, exceeds itself, reaches a fullness and extends into joy.
Day! What a wonder!
Yes, wonder feels like the most natural response to the day’s dawning, to the sun rising, and indeed to all that is illuminated by sun, moon, stars or any other form of light.
Why there isn’t more wonder in the world, I wonder? And what would it take to inhabit a permanent experience of wonder in the face of the day?
Perhaps it tales a cleansing of the doors of perception. Maybe a quieting of the mind. Possibly a greater appreciation of the Being of beings, as opposed to mere involvement with beings. Or the living of a life free of mechanical actions and heartless routines. Probably it has something, if not everything, to do with love.
All I really know is that wonder is the beginning and end of true philosophy, the most natural and sophisticated response to a direct encounter with the miracle that is this and every moment.
How to open repeatedly to that encounter is the question of prime importance in my life. I cannot answer it for anyone else. There are a billion ways, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, all of which can backfire.
One way to get in touch with this is to close our eyes and ears for a moment and imagine that nothing at all exists —the whole universe completely empty, void. Try to remain in that void state for a minute or two. Of course its hard to concentrate on the void, so accustomed are we to the world of beings. But if we were to remain in the still, empty, silent fullness of the void for any length of time we would, upon returning, have a heightened sense of appreciation: for the sheer exuberant existence of things, for the really quite strange and awesome fact that anything exists at all, anywhere. With this experience comes wonder, and a sense of the vastness of the gift that we each day live within and are part of.
However we get there, to live in wonder in a world ensouled is such a rich and full experience that it affords us the luxury of simplicity in external things. In the crisis of our times this is the one luxury we can afford lavishly to indulge in. Indeed, it’s the only luxury we cannot afford to do without.
Simplicity arising from wonder is the divine ground of ‘sustainability,’ the source of true wealth: the wealth of sunlight and birdsong; an untroubled heart, open and loving; time to be still and to really listen; the giving of the gifts with which we are laden and which ungiven become our burden.
May we all experience this day as a wondrous gift and give freely of the wondrous gifts that are ours to give.