There’s something profound that happens to anyone, whether by choice or fate, who endures mental confinement. To confine the mind is to silence it to some degree, as well as to observe its true nature.

Despite my many years of meditation practice and teaching mindfulness professionally, I did not come to achieve this awareness through meditation alone. Accordingly, I’ve come to view meditation and mindfulness as the “mind’s ways of knowing the mind” by creating an object of focus (whether itself or another subject).

Fundamentally, mindfulness and meditation are methods of practicing self-awareness and self-regulation (e.g. can you sit for 10-20 minutes in silence? can you pay attention to your breath? can you gently dismiss the mind’s incessant chatter?) and these are all good and noble things, of course, but they don’t necessarily lead to the “awareness/knowing”, that exists just outside our own thinking mind.

Throughout my life, there have been numerous moments and experiences when I was so incredibly delighted and overjoyed, so much so, that I could actually feel myself “stretching” or extending time– to literally dive and weave myself into each and every molecule of breath and body and feel eternity in what was probably seconds or minutes….or even a single breath.

However, the most profound experience, the one that permanently shifted my perception and therefore my living reality occurred in 1999.

No, I didn’t endure an NDE (near-death experience), or take drugs, or did anything “wild and crazy” to arrive at this awareness. It was simply holding my first-born daughter, Serena.

Becoming a mother was, by far, the single-most sacred act I’ve ever undertaken in this lifetime. To have this precious child live inside my body for 42 weeks (lol), and then to be able to hold her and see her grow was nothing short of a miracle to me– literally the miracle of life!

Many nights, long after her middle-of-the night feedings, I would simply hold her while she slept. It was during those moments that I would simply breathe deeply and say to myself “I want to feel this moment forever!” and I did….and in a strange way that defies conventional logic, I still do.

Many years later, when we endured long hospital stays and home confinement due to her illness, I would enter this “space” and remind myself that it too was sacred ground somehow.

The “long now” was something I came to intimately know and understand; something I actually welcomed as the vigilant protector of my own sanity and mental health. Having this awareness equipped me with a new and profound perspective, one that would enable me to withstand the excruciating devastation of her death– of losing my precious first-born daughter.

No special training is required to “see and feel” what you most love– but it does need your undivided attention. It also requires you to temporarily suspend the mind’s chatter and feel what is literally in your own hands– right here, right now.

Thanks to my precious daughter, who taught me how to “live heaven” in every moment, I can experience my life in a real, profound, and wise manner….and that is a gift I wish for everyone– to experience heaven on Earth, now.


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