|Mindfulness: Scientific Footprints Along a Spiritual Path, continued
Albert Einstein said something amazing. He said, “A human being is part of a whole,
called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his
thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical
delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to
our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be
to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace
all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
The kind of deep looking, and being present for even ordinary things in the present
moment, is captured for me by this Mary Oliver poem, “The Summer Day” (The House
of Light, Beacon Press, Boston, 1990).
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean – the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
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