August: Clear Horizons


by Dr. Larry Morris

Old cartoons used to picture how someone looks who is having a new idea or solving a problem. They would show a light bulb going on near the person's head. Indeed, when we discover the solution to a problem, we often feel as if a light comes on inside of us and we say, "Oh, now, I see!" At our best moments, we feel a kind of inner light that seems to guide and direct our way to the good we are seeking. In various spiritual traditions, ultimate realization or liberation is characterized as "enlightenment." In the yoga tradition the final experience of spiritual attainment is called Nirva Kalpa Samadhi and it is described as the experience of the light of a thousand suns. When we can't quite see our path, when things seem obscure and out of focus, perhaps we just need to open our hearts, to let ourselves and our way be flooded with light. When we walk into a dark room we can either struggle with the darkness or we can turn on the light.



One evening a man was on his hands and knees under a street lamp frantically searching for something. A passerby stopped and asked the man what was wrong. “I've lost a diamond ring and I'm searching for it,” the man replied. The passerby offered to help and the two men spent a long time searching to no avail. Finally the passerby asked, "Are you sure this is the spot where you lost the ring?" "No," replied the man, "I actually lost the ring over there in the shadows." "Then why are we searching here?" the exasperated helper demanded. "The light is better here," the man replied. Sometimes it's helpful to allow ourselves to go through a time of living with ambiguity, where we don't always see clearly or know exactly what is happening. We can come to a premature crystallization of our understanding if we don't allow time for inner nurturing and unfoldment to bring us to the point of clarity and insight in a natural way.



Last Fall I was in the mountains outside of Santa Fe seeing the aspens bursting with flame colors and I wasn't sure which road to take to get back into town. I stopped and asked a stranger for directions. He took off his sunglasses and I took off my sunglasses and it turned out that he was an old friend of mine from Albuquerque. Without our sunglasses, even in the middle of nowhere, we recognized each other instantly. It's always a joy to realize that a stranger is really a friend.

In our life sometimes we mistake the familiar for the unknown. It's helpful to take off our dark glasses for better seeing.



Someone once said, "The older I get, the more I come to realize that what we know about life is so little compared to the as yet unknown possibilities." Freud said of the conscious mind in relationship to the subconscious that it is only the tip of the iceberg. When we think we know all there is to know about life, we need to reexamine our premises. In the early 20th century a huge newspaper headline declared "Impending Transportation Shortage in New York City Due to Shortages of Horses.” When we stay too firmly entrenched in our preconceived notions of what is possible, we may miss opportunities to participate in the ever-new life that is coming to us from unknown and unexpected sources.



In Santa Rosa, New Mexico, there is a very deep artesian well called the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is incredibly deep and very clear. Because it is so calm and still, we can drop a coin into the water and watch it descend hundreds of feet. Sometimes when things in our life seem unsettled, we need to just relax, calm down, get quiet and still on the inside and let people and situations in our outer life begin to clear up. Just as we allow the ripples in a pool of water to clear up without our doing anything to make it happen, so too we can allow our life to settle into clarity by letting go and being still.