Do you sometimes have a hard time concentrating? I don’t mean pay-attention-to-your-driving duty or don’t-cut-your-finger-when-chopping-onions duty. I mean concentrating on spiritual things. Ethereal things. The airy-fairy connection between us mere mortals and that famous ‘higher power’. Do you ever wish that your mind would shut up for five minutes while you try to summon a spirit from the Great Unknown?
You know how it goes. You clear your schedule, get rid of the kids, feed the dogs, and hide the cell phone in the silverware drawer. You make an effort to visit your special place, your sacred altar. This can be your garden, a spot deep in the woods, your kid’s sandbox, or your living room sofa. You tell yourself that today you are really going to connect with the void and what lies on the other side. You have read books on angels, faeries, ghosts and extra terrestrials, and figure it’s about time you connected with one. So you get into your sacred mode. You breathe slow and deep. You close your eyes, rest your mind, and say a prayer. The atmosphere is perfect for communicating with whatever is the source of your power. You feel the tingle of something larger than life not too far away. And suddenly, there it is. That nagging thought. That idle chatter. That empty gossip. And the more you try to tune it out, the louder it becomes.
Monks in monasteries found salvation kneeling on stone floors. Buddhist priests found nirvana contemplating a blade of grass. Priestesses found the secrets of gods and goddesses tending fires. So surely you could find what you’re looking for right in your own back yard. After all, you have a whole ten minutes! But your mind won’t cease its aimless prattle. Your thoughts wander from your need to buy a shirt to match your navy pants that are just a bit too tight to the price of gas to trying to remember the name of the movie star that played that crazy professor in the movie you watched last night. You snap back to the center.
Block those thoughts!
You close your eyes, trying to drown out the stray thoughts with the repetition of a prayer or a mantra or the alphabet — anything to bring structure back to your concentration.
Wham! You forgot to mail the check for the phone bill!
Bang! Did I unplug the curling iron?
What should I make for dinner?
You continue with a dogged perseverance. You pray harder. Louder. You try to summon the angel, the sorcerer, the alien. This being is a member of your guidance team, a pointer towards self awareness and universal peace. A very important part. Yet your mind won’t stop trying to chat with you. You think about your boyfriend, your job. You wonder about what the dog is doing now that you’ve tossed him in the back yard without supervision. You think about things you should have said, things you shouldn’t have said. And you suddenly become conscious of your outer-self nagging your inner-self to be quiet.
Why can’t your mind just sit still for a while? What is Archangel Michael going to think if you let everyday distractions get between you and him? How can you have a direct cosmic connection with Cleopatra when all this blah blah is tainting your aura? You were so serious about this connection when you planned this escape! You are a good person, a pious person. You’re the sort of person that stops for squirrels crossing the road and kisses your kids ten times a day (even if they’re 27) and takes only ten items to the ten-items-only checkout aisle. You are kind to old people. Or you are an old person who is kind to young people. So why is it so hard to quiet your mind long enough to connect to the spiritual?
Maybe it’s because you’re already interacting with the spiritual. It’s all around you. Connecting with angels and prophets and faeries and ghosts of the past happens all the time. We just don’t slow down enough to experience it. The innocence of children, the memories of parents and grandparents, the words of sacred texts and of simple poetry all connect us with the ethereal. We just have to learn how to recognize it. The wild world of faeries can be found in the unbounded energy of a puppy; the music of the angels can be heard in the morning chatter of the birds. God speaks clearly to us through our own conscience. We just fail to heed the advice we’re given.
What has this got to do with all this mindless chatter that drives you crazy? The thousand thoughts that run through your head are nothing more than your own spirit cleaning house, sifting through all the garbage so that it can get to the heart of the matter. In the peace and quiet of the sandbox or your front porch you can safely sift through your thoughts and emotions, finding clarity in reasoning and understanding in reflection. Your mind finally gets tired of rambling and lets the purity of your intentions come through loud and clear. You figure out where you are going, what you want to say, what you should do. And that’s what you came there for in the first place, isn’t it?
So don’t worry the next time you look for a cosmic connection and find static on the line. It’s just the faerie queen telling you that you left the check for the phone bill on bathroom counter next to the unplugged curling iron.