Gratitude for How It Is and How It Will Be, by Cynthia Aldinger

Cynthia writes: There is a “My Favorite Birds Convention” going on in my backyard today.  My “Christmas blend” birdseed is gifting them and me by bringing them so near on this cold winter afternoon.  My soul is soothed by their vibrant color, nurtured by their shapes and sizes, and delighted by their movements.  A self-invited squirrel has been welcomed in without restraint.  Even the blue jays did not attempt to peck him away.  Perhaps he is actually the convention’s entertainment act as he is ice skating across the birdbath.  Or perhaps it is just what we do, we creatures of nature, in dire circumstances such as extreme cold: we share more readily, we open up (even momentarily) to each other’s need.

Be it miracle or pure kindness, I am moved, moist-eyed, by the gift of sense awareness.  Just this moment, a cardinal flew right up to the window to tell me that this is not by accident or some sort of molecular science or what-have-you that makes this possible.  The dove upon which I gaze does not “need” his obsidian-colored collar any more than the cardinal’s red or the jay’s blue “need” to be so enthrallingly beautiful.  Function alone does not require beauty, does it?  Or does it?  Thank God that form has been so highly valued – so much so that I wonder if it is not the single most valued gift given to us during our residency on earth.  When we overvalue function without noticing spirit-imbued form, it seems we make hideous decisions: about how we treat living creation; how we treat animals we will eat because they only represent meat; how we treat the food we grow because it only represents nutrition; or how we treat one another because we only represent safety or non-safety to one another. 

Life awareness recognizes the wholeness, the unity, of function and form, of matter and spirit, and true awareness cannot help but awaken in us responsibility.

When thoughts of mortality come, more regularly than when I was young, I sometimes wonder what will be more glorious than sense experience when I return to Spirit.  It’s not a worry, just a wonder

Lately, I have had a feeling that it is time to ramp up my gratitude for this earthly pleasure, gift, miracle, treasure of sense ability – sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch and other awareness.  I would be loath to cross over to the other side and learn that, due to distraction or fear, I had missed out on the greatest gift of being human!  Rather, let me be aware, let me be alive to the moment, to see it, hear it, taste it, smell it, touch it, care for it.  Why?  Because I think this physical, material it contains within it something of the non-physical it that I want to fully embrace in due time–that perhaps these gifts of sense awareness are here to school a non-sensory awareness that is going to knock my socks off (metaphorically speaking) when the time comes.