The Magic That Is Before Us
June 21, 2003

If you do not liberate yourself in this lifetime, what lifetime will you wait for? Once this day has passed, that much of your life is gone too. With each passing thought, observe the impermanence of the appearances of the world and give up thinking there will be a tomorrow. With each step tread the Great Way of the mind source, and do not turn to another road.

- Man-an (1591-1654)

So warns the Zen Buddhist Mr Manan, several centuries ago. Now, many things have changed, but not the message of 'Today is the day'. Those of us having found a liberating philosophy may regret the unawakened past, but perhaps all that was a necessary prelude to that which is before us now.

And that which is before us is all that really matters. Mr Manan warns, ''Nurturing the embryo of sagehood, cultivating practice in the aftermath of awakening, is really not easy.''

Quite strange, (or is it?), that he is not the only philosopher-sage to warn of such. A Mr Webb says much the same. The awakened path is for those ''who do not fear hard work, rigorous thought, [ourselves] or the future.''

(That would be The Mr Webb,
also known as 'Uncle Setnakt', in his Guide To The Left Hand Path ;)

But, hey, what else I am doing with the last half of my life? I'm up for a challenge. I like to keep the gray matter well stimulated. I feel 'more alive' that way.

Ah, here are the words of yet another philosopher-sage:

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. - Henry David Thoreau, in Walden (1817-1862)

On this dawn, when the sky is lightening to gray and the birds are chirping, I feel full of optimism. I can do this, paint my very atmosphere. I can choose to be happy. My emotions can follow me, instead of me following my emotions. I am learning a new magic, that doesn't need wands and incantations. This is the goal of the consciously awake person, to create magic where ever they go, to find it as a trick magician pulls rabbits out of hats, but look, there is no trickery! It is all the process of our wonderful minds, the source of our 'Great Way'.

I leave you now in hopes you will find something magical in your own lives today. Keep your eyes open for its occurence!

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© Joan Ann Lansberry: