Someone once asked what inspired spiritual beauty for me. I replied that it is when I see vastness – i.e. a huge monument, a magnificent mountain, a sweeping horizon, a large body of water, etc. We ruminated about why seeing something huge would trigger our sense of spiritual identity. The person suggested that perhaps it reminds us of how small we are and amidst such grandness we are forced to respect the omnipotence of the higher power. I wasn’t sure if it resonated fully with me and I’ve been thinking about it since then.
In the last five weeks, I have been on a spiritual retreat and have so far seen numerous sights that inspired great spiritual beauty in me. I now know the mystery behind vastness. Rather than reminding me of how small I am, it reminds me of how infinite my true being is. The sense of being limitless and borderless in my store of abundance, my creativity, is inspired when I look in awe at something monumental. If it’s a place of history, the richness of the complex stories that have evolved within that time brings to mind a certain timelessness, infiniteness and creativity in our capacity as expressive beings.
It is the coldest winter in 50 years. The whole country is covered in beautiful snow. When driving along rural roads, the vastness presented by the snow-covered vista fills me with a curious warmth as joy bubbles in my heart. I think to myself, “I am as vast as the distance this snow stretches.” My consciousness expands beyond the confines of my physical body. The glorious sun shines through the cold and I love the feel of it on my face. I think to myself, “I am the sun – infinitely radiant and abundant.” In moments of facing bone-chilling cold, rather than reminding me of how helpless I am, I dive into the depth of the cold and connect to a sense of being Everything out of nothingness.
This is the kind of spiritual growth I had hoped to achieve on my two-month retreat. I see spiritual beauty all around me. Interestingly, I also see lots of people complaining about the cold and the tragedy portrayed by one focusing on limitations. I rejoice in breaking through the illusion of these limitations. As I embrace the cold and celebrate the lowest temperatures in half a century, I discover that I am truly abundant.
I was on the phone with someone while my window became a screen playing the most awesome snowfall I had ever seen. Outside, the snowflakes became bigger and bigger, covering the trees and ground with a fluffy blanket of pure white snow. I was completely hypnotised and struggled to continue speaking. Because when spiritual beauty overcomes you, there are no words. You are immersed in feelings that defy words.
As I write this, I wonder if some people in my position would have thought they were watching a horror movie – as the snowflakes became bigger and bigger, rather than seeing beauty they imagined how much the snow would impede their movements, for instance. Instead of seeing abundance, they saw limitations. It reminds me of how easy it is for us to focus on the things that are at the end of a creation and interpret it as a limited creation. When we shift our focus to the source of that creation, we cannot but see the abundance in where creation springs. The snow comes from a place that generates an abundance of snow; the neighbourhood where the snow covered is the ‘victim’. Where does your mind naturally focus?
I saw vastness in that snow movie because I’ve had plenty of practice appreciating vastness and letting feelings of spiritual beauty wash over me. In the past when I was living with a more limited consciousness, I would have conjured up many fearful scenarios out of something that is really a good thing if I had been able to see it that way. It takes practice to move away from feeling trapped to feeling free. A prisoner who’s been released will continue to behave as if she’s still in prison, allowing those around her to persecute her until she mentally steps out of her imagined prison. If you continue to stay small, your world will look small to you. If you choose to expand out of your smallness, you can call in the vastness around you to be your trusted ally in freeing you from your illusion of being trapped in a limited world.
How do you call in the vastness around you? Look around you. Where is the source of what you see? Follow back to that source and appreciate the store of abundance. A picture frame made of wood comes from several pieces of wood which comes from a tree in a forest. Keep ‘zooming out’ until you see the vastness. What does it remind you of about your true nature?
What about something you judge as bad, such as an abusive person? That person is expressing their beliefs and judgements, which are formed by and distilled from their experiences in life, which is a complex saga comprising rich characters with a variety of motivations, which immediately gives you a sense of how varied the store of human behaviours are and allows you to open up to the possibilities of many different experiences you can have among the storehouse of human beings you come across in your life. This kind of ‘opening up’ of the mind is a key to freeing you from the illusion of being stuck with few or no options. The gift in vastness is very good medicine for one who feels stuck in limitations.
I am passionate about ‘infecting’ other people with my ability to see spiritual beauty. Having crossed over, so to speak, I would like to invite all of you to open up to the vastness around you, moving past the limitations you perceive, until you experience true feelings of abundance, joy and freedom. I promise you, it is all there.