The Newness of Now
Photograph by Prashphutita
“I want my life
To be inundated
With the fulness of newness.”
- Sri Chinmoy
I love to be busy, but sometimes I find I am carrying out tasks automatically without being really conscious of what I am doing, especially if I am trying to do several things at a time. Do you know what I mean? I know from Sri Chinmoy’s teachings that in our consciousness lies the key to making any task fresh and energising. Each day we may do the same thing outwardly, but we can still have a different experience inwardly if we can be more consciously aware.
I once saw a Vietnamese film called “The Scent of Green Papaya” that has an underlying chord I liked. It follows the life of a poor servant girl who has nothing to call her own. Despite this, she is very contented and peaceful. Far from being absorbed by self-pity at her situation, she seems quite detached from it. She finds a constant source of joyful fascination in the simple beauty of nature.
This morning I heard the rain falling and automatically got up to close the back door, but decided to spend two minutes consciously looking outside. In those few moments gems of rain scattered on the honeysuckle leaves. A spider danced to the edge of safety as water pelted through his lacy home. There are huge green fruits on the quince growing in abundance without me even realising. Then a mouse! Never before have I seen one in my garden, and there he was, bold as brass, climbing up to harvest berries. He spotted me with his shiny black beads and was gone. In those few moments, life was bigger than the details in my mind, the weight of past blunders and lists of future duties.
All this reminds me to really try to make my actions and creations unconditional: to think of the current step in my journey and to trust that the destination will be there when the time comes. I am still grateful to have learnt a lot about that in our last Self-Transcendence Marathon. Sometimes I think of all the incredible beauty the Supreme is creating constantly, and most of the time I am unaware of it. He works without relying on our gratitude, our appreciation, or even our knowledge of the creation. Who is there in the heart of the rainforest to see that rare and majestic butterfly? Only Him. Who is at the depths of the ocean to enjoy those strange comical creatures? He is. Such is His Sincerity at work that He creates with absolute abundance whether we catch Him working or not. Nothing is contrived it seems, but only spontaneous.
I remember hearing that when Sri Chinmoy lived at the ashram in Pondicherry in his youth, he enjoyed washing dishes, as he found the simplicity of it most conducive to meditation while working. Something I love about the spiritual life is that this consciousness can be present not just during spiritual practice per se, but that it can potentially be woven into any activity. There is always the opportunity for newness as there is always a new “now”.