This occured back in the early 1980’s. I was around 12 years old and with my church youth group (Lutheran) headed out on our (and my) first overnight trip to another church. I was settled into my own personal yellow bus seat with the famous green leather seat covers. We were a small group of about 10 youth and 6 adults. My Mother was one of the chaperones to accompany me and my younger brother. I remember the day perfectly. I saw it on the day it happened and I can still picture it in my head today the same way it looked back then. Till this day I still look for a repeat.
I know and remember it was going to be a long ride to Philadelphia and onto New York City. I was trying to get comfortable in my seat and chatted a few times with my Mother and the boy sitting in front of me. Out of all the people that went on this trip I really only recall my Mother and this other boy who I will call Jim. I can’t even remember anything about this trip that included my brother. Very Strange.
Jim and I were in the same grade school and in the same Sunday School Class. We we knew each other well and so did our parents. We sat with our backs to the windows so we could prop up our legs on the seats. Both our arms were propped up on the tops of the seats and this gave us prime viewing of everyone in the bus and out the windows to sight see. I should explain this to some younger readers because back in my day before electronic gadgets to occupy our time with our heads down to the world we had to actually use the neck muscles to hold up our head and look right and left and all around us when out and about in a new and different place than your normal town of 355 residents.
I did grow up in a small town but was in no way a “small town girl”. From as long as I could remember all I wanted to do was get out of the valley. I wasn’t going to be a secretary I was going to HAVE a secretary. I grew up watching rated R HBO movies and rocked my Madonna style.
I went to Sunday School (pre church time) and Church pretty regularly till I was confirmed and moved out to go to college. I always grew up with a strong faith in God and the belief that He is always with me and life will be fine all the time because he is always in me too. My Mother is the reason for my faith. She loves and trusts in God so much even when she had been dealt some of the most devastating life events. Still, her faith guides her.
I prayed mostly when I was scared and in trouble. I would pray for God to let me die before morning so that I wouldn’t have to face the next day. I had a difficult childhood and would pray constantly for things to get better. At the time I didn’t think my prayer was answered. Now, looking back 40 years I can see that God did answer my prayer for my family to just love each other. I never thought it possible as a teenager yet here in 2015 we all love and care for one another. One would think we are a different family than what we were back then.
When this youth trip was planned I was so excited. I got to go away from my “terrible” life and go have some fun. When I was having fun I didn’t think much of God. Yes, I was on a church youth trip but nothing churchy was going on and it was just a great fun trip away. Away from my troubles and away from my small town and away from the small minded people in my life. I feel bad for saying that I didn’t think much about God. It isn’t like I didn’t love God anymore. I just didn’t have him for-front in my mind. I knew he was there and would be forever so I just went along my happy times mostly without thanking God that Thank goodness they were not bad times.
So heidi-ho and away we go! We have all been traveling on the bus now for about an hour. I LOVED looking out the windows. Everything sparked interest in my brain. I was excited to see and learn. I wanted to be the first on to always point out “hey, look over there”. I was in the constant search to find something, anything that “I” could be the one to point out and get the satisfaction of being the first to see it and show it to everyone. Not everyone was as excited to see retaining walls. Imagine?! They also were not as excited to see the view of our valley from the top of the mountain. But, when I saw a man, dressed in a robe, holding a staff with sheep surrounding him in-between the two highways on the green grass I wanted to make sure EVERYONE SAW HIM!
I stood and I pointed and said “There is Jesus!”.
This was the early 80’s and cars are busy driving all over and no one is stopping. This was no REGULAR man standing in the middle of these two highways. I just KNEW the man was Jesus!
How do I know for sure? Because there were only two of us on that bus that saw Jesus and we were all looking at the same location.
If, this man wasn’t Jesus, then why couldn’t anyone else see him standing there? Why couldn’t they see the sheep? I asked “don’t you see all the sheep?” I was worried they might run out on the road and get hurt.
Me & Jim. We were the only two to see Jesus.
Before you start the next paragraph take this minute to just relax your shoulders, focus only on the screen and try not to listen to any sounds around you or inside your mind. Now, take a deep breath into your lungs and hold a second. Now let go.
Let go of everything that has been wearing you down. There is no need to hold onto anything that is physical or mental. If given the option to carry a 50 lb weight or nothing what would you choose? Well, I know I would choose to walk around life without that 50lb weight. Then why do most of us carry around mental weight? Did anyone ever tell you to drop that extra mental weight? Well if not, I am telling you “put down the mental weight”. You? Yes, YOU!
Time to center ourselves again and focus only on a deep breath. See how little by little the less mental weight you are carrying. Isn’t that better?
If we can take the time to center ourselves and let go of some mental weight then we can learn to breath. When we learn to breath we can begin to enter the state of your mind and then reflect. Reflect on if this is what you want to be doing or if what you are doing is reflecting? You may soon realize that you put yourself in a little circle in and around yourself. It can become a very dizzy, spinning mental state if you don’t take some precious time to breath.
Are you a person who is constantly spinning in their mind? If so, then learning to breath is a great little practice that can be done by anyone and anywhere. And the best part it is FREE. This is obviously something that should be taught to little children throughout adulthood so that a new generation of active mindful people are engaging in real life pursuits.
Releasing the extra mental weight and learning to breath is a practice that I don’t believe most people actually do. One can hear about meditation and yoga or mindfulness or numbness and think “that’s easy, I can do that anytime”. But then one never gets around to actually doing it because they are so busy.
Well I give you the permission now to just sit and close your eyes and take some time to breath.
It is a simple word or term…Middle. For example you can have two roses and a torn in the middle. But I don’t want to talk about the middle of anything physical. I want to talk about the middle of your mind. The place that isn’t known where to exist but remains with your physical self at all times. The physical part of the self I like to refer to as The Shell.
Without the Mind are you, You? Without the Shell are you, You? Or, can You only exist with both the You and Shell? I believe that either can exist on their own. The part that I think is so fascinating is the You without the Shell. The Mind. What a beautiful and yet so unknown to exist. It is time for everyone to get more into their Mind.
If we take just a moment to reflect on just the Shell. The Shell is a busy place with action everywhere. The Shell just have skin and bones, blood and water, heart and brain. All of these things are busy trying to get you from point A to point B. So the Shell has plenty to do on its own and why it should be examined for being what it is.
To get to the Mind you first have to learn how to focus on it. You need to try and relax. Take time to take some deep breaths in and out of your lungs. Try to be still. Try not to focus on anything around you. Imagine that nothing is around you and you are all alone. Now block out all sounds, ringing in the ears, pain, tension going on and focus on just the Mind. Can you picture yourself inside your body and in your brain? You may start out by feeling and reacting to your whole body. Now try and focus on something inside of that, like your heart. Feel your heart beating. Just the beating of your heart and nothing else. When you have that position of focus on your heart slowly start to go up your body from your shoulders to your neck to your brain. Are you there? Can you find your brain?
Now that you have finally found your way to your brain it is time to look at different parts of it. Can you concentrate on just he front of your brain? This time try and focus on the base of your brain in the back of your head. Now take some time to try this for a few minutes just going back and forth from the back of the brain to the front of it.
Were you able to notice that you can reflect on the different parts of your brain? Well now is when you get close to the Middle. This is the point so close to Middle but very difficult to get to. However, it is possible. To know that it is possible only makes the theory almost fact that there is the point of the Middle.
Many sensations then to occur at this point of discovery. Flashes of bright light are seen even though your eyes are closed. Ringing in the ears occurs from a high pitched sound to a low level tone. Your body may also slightly relax and twitch and you may experience a pain in the back of your throat.
When all these things have occurred you will find yourself at the middle of your Mind.
Not finished…be back later
We all know that we have five senses. It was one of the first lessons and most of us have all of them: taste, smell, vision, hearing, and touch. But, could there be a sixth sense? And could that extra sense actually be the one where NONE exist? That is question I try and seek the truth too.
Let’s imagine a person who doesn’t have any of the 5 senses. They are sitting right beside you. Can you image that? When that person is sitting there do you think that they are at peace? Do you think they “think”?
In this example let’s try and have you do the experiment. Ask yourself “Can I use each of my senses?” and go through them one by one. In your brain think “Can I taste something?” and you think, Yes. Yes, I can taste some slight sugar on my tongue. Now think “Can I smell?” and you inhale a deep breath to smell the wet dog laying beside you (maybe). Now think “Can I see?” and you look down and see these letters. Now think “Can I hear?” and you hear some chatter on the television in front of you. Now think “Can I feel?” and you touch your right hand to your cheek and you know you can feel.
Now you got all of these wonderful senses let’s try and see if you can be without them. Yes, I said that. Try and eliminate all senses that are surrounding you. This is a very difficult task and I can’t image you will succeed your first time. But when you do, then you will be experiencing that sixth sense.
The sense greater than all of them is remarkable the exact opposite and it nothing, empty, zero, void. The greatest feeling one can experience is that one of mindfullness.
It was 2011, that was the last time I actually found my way. Now, jump forward to the present day and now you know how long it has been.
Been? You say Been? But Been where? Exactly, WHERE is what I am looking for and I is what I want to find. That is why I am here then. To tell you my story. But story is a word that doesn’t represent the meaning I wish to convey. But, for all intentional purposes let’s use the word STORY.
When I first realized that “I” wanted to know who I (this shell of a body stick figure) was I had the most profound thought. If “I” want to know who I is then that is 2…as in number two, 2. That made me realize that 2 is inside this shell. But two what? What? Another question to answer. I realize there are too many questions and not enough answers. That is what I am here to tell you. I can show you the way to the answer. But it is not a physical place it is a ….This is the tricky part. If you want to name, a none physical place, that must be just so magnificent on its own and you want to put a tiny little group of letters together to describe what would you want to tell is not the way to proceed.
So we need a simple “word”. Hmmmm….let’s see. How about Nevaeh? OK. Nevaeh is the none physical place that needs to be found.
There are two direct paths you can take to reach that destination. Death or something even better. The something better way has to be the way all would want to get there. Be able to get there and still be alive is magical.
I now want to take the time to introduce you to “I” and “self”. Hello (visual a cute little wave.)
We (that means “I” and “self”) are on this journey together with you (hey you, the person reading this). Yea, I actually am making it a point to point (wink) out that YOU the reader are part of this “STORY”. Jump in and make yourself at home within my very tiny of a world. Even if it is for just a little cup of tea.
Now we are at the point where We tell you about why there is a We. Remember I said that We are “I” and “self”. It’s easy to be We. It doesn’t require much thought. But when you actually begin to think…to think about Who am I and Why am I Here? That is a totally loaded question. Makes the head shake on this shell.
We: “I” and “Self”. One is better, right? If so which one? And One of what? If it has to be One of something then it has to be a SOMETHING.
Ok, now this is going to go fast so pay attention. I thinks that Self is better, but better than what? What, WHAT? Why does, I think it and not Self. One may think that I and SELF are better together. But as soon as you put them together they will begin to divide!
Always wanting to divide down to the smallest of smallest things (again, here we go with the work Thing…what thing??) down to atom, nucleolus, protons, newtons and just when you think you are at the smallest of small can go it is realized there is a smaller particle: The Quark. WOW! I’m not an educated scientist so this does BLOW MY MIND.
This only proves that when you think you are down to the absolute zero the thought begins that consumes all of this. It is with out end!
What we are all looking for is what We are trying to explain. There is nothing to look for.
So back to the title…I found what I was looking for… and the answer was NOTHING.
PS – I have more. There is more to this four little word Story. Wait and see.