There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic. ~Anaïs Nin
I am no different than the other. I like instant gratification. Chocolate appeases one sense, for a short time. So does a walk on a beach. After which, life happens and the desire for truth or peace or whatever I think is missing, arises all over again.
Instant gratification can best be described as that lightening strike from the heavens, the sun shooting thru the parting of clouds, the voice booming – God , of course – you have arrived. And for a moment, you think you have done just that, arrived. No more problems, no more worries. Rather, you are blessed with the peaceful repose of a yoga master without having to learn the discipline.
Except it never comes quite so, does it? Except maybe in rare moments. The moments illuminate, yes, but they really are brief. Then life comes charging in — demanding our attention, like bills needing payment or the dogs wanting food.
I have a friend who teaches yoga. In her seventies, I am always struck by the clarity and peace I see in her light blue eyes. She seems much younger than her years. She is present with herself and those around her as if anchored to the ground yet not burdened by the fact. I remember saying to her, I want what you have. But I know the peace she exudes does not come without discipline. It comes from the daily practice in which she engages and shares with others.
When I garden I am reminded that the sanctuary I wish to create for myself and my friends is never instant. It comes in the steady commitment to weeding, deadheading, applying compost and water, to name just a few. The effort is constant, but necessary.
Sanctuary is a gift, but it is also a process, one granted by hard work, deep breathing and recognition that the divine is available to all of us, if we take the time to nurture what makes it possible. Step by step, until finally, each step joins and the entirety of the mosaic is seen. It can be a staggering moment when it happens as if coming full circle and seeing life for the first time.