Watching the Sunrise over the Ocean: Three Different Experiences

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Imagine three human beings standing side by side silently watching the sunrise over the ocean.  Each one is experiencing life very differently.

Although they never say a word to each other, and an observer may not be aware of their very different experiences, how they perceive life determines their entire experience.

Person 1 – Jackie

This person barely notices the sun rising as her attention is on the noisy seagulls, and angry thoughts about what her husband said to her last night.

Her body is tense as she stands there inwardly complaining and worrying about what the day ahead will bring.  Her experiences looks completely outside-in to her… and she doesn’t really experience LIFE at all – just a tainted, distorted and fictionalised version of life based on her filters.

Beliefs, formed in the past and BELIEVED, are carried along like the glasses that she sees every experience through.

This reminds me of when Ross and I went to see ColdPlay at Wembley Stadium in June this year.  (Yes, I know it’s not particularly cool to like ColdPlay, but I think they’re brilliant, and I admit to a small crush on Chris Martin).

It was a fabulous concert, with an electric atmosphere.  And when all 90,000 people in the stadium lifted their multi-coloured wristbands in the air and rocked out, it was a moving and wonderful sight to behold! Like 90,000 fireflies who could light up the world.  If we could tap into that feeling … that humanity … that shared love – wow!

Anyway, I remember noticing a woman sat just behind me who wasn’t enjoying the experience at all. Her partner (I assume) was dancing and clapping and singing, and having a great time.

She was constantly rolling her eyes, and had a facial expression that could have curdled milk, and insisted on remaining in her seat with her arms folded across her chest.

Don’t get me wrong.  I can think of many times in my life where I’ve innocently done this – been so ‘in my head’ that I was incapable of experiencing what was actually going on.  So I’m not judging her…  it was just so obvious that she was totally creating her own experience for two hours.

Person 2 – John

John is really enjoying his in-the-moment experience.  He relaxes into and opens to life – the sounds of the waves and seagulls, the smells and the sights – and there is no sense of lack or wrongness about life.

There is only a sense of peace as all is accepted fully – nothing more or different is desired.

Yet the moment he turns away from the ocean to walk back to his car, his body tenses as his attention goes to his thoughts about what he needs to get done that day.  He vows to himself that he will try and make more time to come back to the ocean.

Although he has experienced his true nature, he has mistaken the source of it.  He believes it is the ocean that created this short moment of happiness.

Every once in a while, he experiences a glimpse of peace and relief.  He may fall in love, get a promotion, have a child, win the lottery or have a mystical experience.  He may watch the sunrise, or really stop and listen to his child or his partner.

There is a short moment of total well-being.

Trouble is, at this level of consciousness, he innocently believes that it is the lover, the money, the sunrise that has created this sense of peace and well-being.

Person 3 – Amy

The third person experiences life directly and consciously.

Everything is allowed to be precisely as it is – sounds, sights, smells, as well as any thoughts or feelings that come.

As she moves from the ocean back to her car, the energy of thought means that the forms that are experienced change, but not the actual underlying experience itself.

Peace remains regardless of any surface fluctuations.

I’m so grateful that this is my experience of life these days.  Not 100% of the time, but most of the time.  And that’s what’s on offer here.

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