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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Urban Enlightenment: Wonder

 Hong Kong Central. This is not far from the scene I describe: Taken with my mobile phone.

Here is a simple process which you can practice on any given day to help restore the sense of wonder into your life. This is an extract from my booklet Urban Enlightenment. There are two simple presence tools which will help you become present and experience wonder: The Oneness Technique, and Five Breaths. You can read about them here.

Day 29: Wonder

Today I allow myself to see the wonder in all things. Wonder, I gently invite you into my heart.

There is an amazing thing that happens when we are fully present, with the mind is silent. The mundane suddenly comes alive! Even the most simple thing becomes wonderous.
Just a few days ago I was walking around the area outside IFC in Central, Hong Kong, shortly after dusk. Just outside the doors of that building there are several slender trees, jutting up through the concrete walkway. As I passed each one I marveled at the wonder of their presence. There, in the concrete jungle, nature springs eternal. I stopped by one tree, and gently touched one of its branches. I allowed myself to feel the tree’s surface upon my hand. In silence I communed with the tree.
After a while I looked up and gazed at the vast urban landscape before me: the lights, the glass, the great steel and concrete architecture thrusting up towards the night sky. Then I walked down the short steps to the walkway which runs above the busy road. I walked by the hand railing, where beautiful red flowers had been planted in large trays. I passed by each one in reverie, the colour of the flowers and green leaves filling my spirit with simple wonder. Each of my steps were slow, my mind empty, my eyes feeling the vital spirit of each plant.
There was a cross bridge just ahead, and I stopped there, gazing down at the traffic. I surrendered in deep peace, and a sense of wonder deepened as the cars and buses drove by under the cross bridge, each on its own perfect journey.
There is a traffic island right in that place, and it has been planted with beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers. I turned my attention to the plants and simply let the joy of nature fill me. Crowds of people marched by, but I was oblivious to their presence. A small child suddenly appeared beside me and was gleefully looking down at the scene before him. I knew that in my perfect state of presence, the joy and wonder of the child had been reborn within me. I let go and surrendered to the moment.
And this was in Hong Kong Central, one of the most densely populated places on Earth!
There are no excuses. Wonder is available everywhere and anywhere, once the mind is brought into deep presence.

The Process: Today, on at least three occasions, stop and be present to the wonder around you. Don’t try to force wonder. Gently invite it. She will come only of her own accord. Be still, listen, watch, and feel the wonder within you, in relationship with that which is around you.