Doorways of Perception

Solid revelation abounds, if only you look.” These words were scrawled in large block letters using white chalk on a brick wall in Burlington, Vermont, where I spent a couple of weeks a while back. To this day, the image remains firmly embedded in my conscious mind. I have no idea who wrote it, or why – or even what their original intent was. But for some reason, it struck a chord with me, it grabbed me, it resonated. I was in a strange state of mind – one of those outside of self, dizzying, spinning, mind full of questions type of days where I feel the undeniable need to challenge the foregone conclusions of yesterday, and my very existence, by looking for answers to questions I have no business answering in places I have no business going to. I was contemplating where I’d been, where I was at, and where I was going, and I started feeling that my life was lacking in clarity and cohesiveness. I felt my mind unwinding out of control, like a fishing reel set loose by a wild catch too large to handle. Who do I think I am? How am I supposed to know if I am living the life that I am meant to live? Why can’t I see any sign

And, in an instant, the writing on the wall broke through all that inner static. It was an answer in plain words, in plain sight – blatant and undeniable and simple as the bricks upon which they were written. Hours later, I found myself standing there again, capturing the scene with my camera as it captured me once more. Real answers are not found in inner-dimensional wisdom or superconscious states of being. Though they might help me get there, and see the world in its proper light, it is the world beneath my nose that contains the real answers – but only if I take the time to really take it in.

To me, moments like these are the greatest miracles. They might not be grandiose. They might not be glamorous. But, if we take the time to appreciate them, they can shatter the mundane natural reality of the egocentric self and expose the soul – and anything that can accomplish that without requiring hours of focused meditation or a psychotropic cocktail is a miracle in my books.

In a certain sense, this type of hidden miracle is more powerful than the open, earth-shattering experiences that make headlines, because it is mine, and because it doesn’t need to turn the whole world up-side down to make its point; I am elevated by it, but remain firmly within my earthly reality, with an instant clarity of how to bring the wisdom gained into my life.  And perhaps greater than the miracle itself is the capacity and presence of mind to appreciate it, and the ability to recall it later, defying time and space to relive the moment and its lessons.

But, more often than not, we tend to forget and take things for granted – the writing on the wall, the unexplained coincidence, the undeserved success, the unbelievable sunset, the birth of a child. We tend to file them away and forget, or at least lose the sense of awe we once attached to them. A recent study published by Gabriel Radvansky out of the University of Notre Dame suggests that passing through doorways causes memory lapses. “Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away,” Radvansky explains. “Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized.”

If I view my life as a series of disconnected events, then I will have trouble connecting the dots to recognize the miracles that got me here, the miracle that is my life. But if I perceive the events of my life as one thread, or perhaps more aptly one complex rope weaved of many multi-colored threads, with a unified purpose, then I am better equipped to appreciated the “little” miracles and harness them to grow further.

Some people go through life with their heads buried in the sand, some with their heads buried in themselves. I’m not sure which is worse, hiding from the answers or looking for easy ones. But I know neither gets me anywhere worth going. But if I look at the signs that are right there in front of me, confront them, and trust that they are exactly what they seem, then I find that they point to a unified and elegant and intelligent order hidden within the chaos. Because solid revelation abounds, if only you look.

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