Dreams and reality....can they be synthesized? How do we maintain our inner landscape filled with visions of our ideal future and at the same time stay in touch with the actuality of what is here now? I'm not sure I have the answer, but the other day in the woods, I was taught a good lesson by mother nature herself. Read on to learn more....
So there I was (see the photo above), meditating on a log deep in the woods on a beautiful overcast day, surrounded by beautiful birds singing and plants waving in the breeze. As I settled into my seat, I could feel the tension in my shoulders dissipate and my mind relax. I started to look at the present uncertainties in my life. As I sat on the smooth flat log I began to envision my life unfolding exactly how I wanted it to.
And that's when it hit me, the wretched smell of feces.
At first I ignored it. I went back to my serene inner space. I envisioned the perfect home, the large garden I've always wanted, the sound of feet pattering through our new studio space, and that feeling of happiness that comes over me when I start to relax in the arms of nature.
And then I smelled it again. Carried on the wind, undeniable like an ugly billboard. I couldn't ignore it. I was definitely meditating next to animal scat.
As I looked around it didn't take long to spot the culprit. It was right next to me, a nice palm-sized mound of animal poop covered in flies. My first instinct was to move, to escape it's awful smell and get back to a pure, clean, and serene place in nature where I could go back to my important work of figuring out my future.
But I didn't. I decided to stay.
So I sat there, next to the poop and flies, took deep breaths, and let the wafting smells of decay, death, and life's waste materials, wash over me. That was when I understood. Poop is a part of life. I could see how my visions of the 'ideal future' did not account for the messy reality of life. When we run away from the 'poop' and the challenges that inevitably come up when we are pursing our dreams we are missing out on reality.
My willingness to stay in a place that was less than ideal taught me a great lesson about dreams and reality. When I made friends with poop, I made friends with uncertainty, messiness, and hardship. Each of these are becoming my allies on my spiritual path rather than things I fear or reject.
So the next time you find yourself sitting next to something, someone, or some thought you find repulsive, stay. Sit there and meditate with them, even try to become their friend. You may be surprised to find that they are an integral part of making your dreams come true.
Cheers to All Things Fragrant and Stinky,