Our natural state is bliss. Iíve heard this and read this a
thousand times and Iíve always been certain that the people who
espouse the concept are either: high on LSD; meditating high on
a mountain top and totally out of touch with reality; or
Now, donít throw your mortgage bills at me but FINALLY I get it.
There will always be problems to solve, each thing or situation
we get will either grow tiresome or be taken away from us. THE
ANSWER to bliss is already inside of us.
Donít believe me? Riddle me this: why do we feel blissful while
lying in the sun with our eyes closed, or on our bed, or in our
easy chair doing nothing, absolutely NOTHING (not thinking Ė
thinking screws it up totally) but breathing in and out?
See? At our core, beneath all the fear, fretting, sadness, pain,
projection and anxiety is perfect, infinite ease.
Itís taken me 58 years to finally realize that the key to
happiness, peace and bliss is in a quiet place inside of me. But
itís not easy to get there because the egoic mind wants to scare
me at every turn. And Iíve never been able to reach the good
stuff by meditating, since I canít sit in the lotus position
anymore due to arthritis, and I only shame myself anyway for not
doing it right, often or long enough, Iím only getting to the
creamy center now by focusing all my attention on my core. At
intervals, mind you, I do have to work for a living.
You must have guessed, Iím reading Eckhart Tolleís book ďThe
Power of Now.Ē Iím always the last to know. My guru body worker
loaned it to me and I see on the testimonials on the back cover
that even Oprah! discovered it probably seven years ago, which
means even heartland fundamentalists have it sitting with the
magazines next to their toilets.
So, as if my car crash wasnít enough to test me, I am being
challenged again to stay in the joy of the present moment. Last
night, while palpating my still sore neck from whiplash, I
discover this perfectly pea-sized lump just beneath the skin.
I have three options, as I see it:
a) Freak out and become prepared for lymphoma, which my aunt
died from, miserably.
b) Get to a doctor faster than fat on fire (the gods are with
me, I just happen to have an appointment with my physician
tomorrow) and let him decide whether thereís anything to worry
c) Just assume itís nothing and let it go.
Well, option ďcĒ is out. I am not THAT in touch with my inner
bliss. I have already done ďaĒ to no avail. Guess Iíll go with
whatís behind door ďbĒ.
OK, I am doing a bit of ďcĒ now that I think of it. I took a
walk on the beach and said to myself, ďSusan, you have wasted
much of your life being scared and sad and trepidatious (Is that
a word? My spell checker says no). If you donít choose to be
happy NOW, when do you think that will happen? After you win the
Lotto? (Not! I donít buy tickets) When you meet the right man? (Puh-leeze,
been there, done that) When hell freezes over? (Hm-m-m).Ē
Now Abe Lincolnís quote ďPeople are just as happy as they make
up their minds to be,Ē rings true.
I have watched so many people with physical handicaps and cruel
diseases who take their lives on faith, and greet each day
joyfully, that I know it can be done. My younger sister is doing
it right now, post mastectomy. She is my idol.
So, after I finish my beach walk, I remove my Reeboks, roll up
my pants and walk into the icy, exhilarating ocean and kick kelp
and crystal water drops skyward. I feel the wind on my face and
taste the salt on my lips and am grateful to the core that I am
alive. I am willing to believe my natural state is bliss.
But, lest you confer sainthood upon me, I have marked the lump
on my neck with a black permanent marker to be SURE that the
doctor finds it . . .
P.S. Itís the next day and the doctor pooh-poohs the lump and
says it has to do with my blocked sinuses and a slight
Yes! I can breathe again! Well, er, figuratively speaking . . .
There are many angels in my life. Some I never asked for. One is
an 84-year-old woman and caretaker of her husband, who followed
my writing for decades. When I lost my job with the newspaper
she began sending me letters of love, hope and inspiration and
some very x-rated jokes.
Weíve never met - spoke on the phone once - and we laugh and cry
like old friends when we read each otherís letters: Hers far
lengthier and more legible.
Her most recent script about aging is worth forwarding:
ďThe aging bonus is friends, time to do and enjoy reading,
sunrises and sets, floral colors and fragrances, and anything
else formerly seen and only now totally appreciated.
After a life really lived, the reflections are as bright as a
rainbow and a sense of thankfulness permeates the soul. Regrets
are few and most, over time, changed to thankfulness.
The sense of peace raises the mind to new heights and fears of
the past are gone.
There is much to be said for aging gracefully.Ē