There are several specific moments in my life in which I’ve learned much more about myself and the world than in almost the entirety of the rest of my life. They are those little moments of mini-enlightenment when the world seems to freeze, everything connects, and a profound thought sinks in completely. In those instances some specific aspect of thought, life, experience, and/or faith seems to be seen in such vivid colors, like the fog has been lifted and the clouds parted. The thought sinks deep into my brain and becomes a core piece of my being, a new paradigm by which I subtly make changes to my life.
Do you know those moments? I’m sure you do, they are the moments that make us who we are. Some of those moments are long in the making and others seem to be totally serendipitous.
In my life these moments have come in so many different forms and places:
- A smile at a wedding
- Walking in an old growth forest in the Pacific Northwest
- A conversation in a car
- Walking in a cemetery
- A comforting embrace
- Laying on a giant boulder all alone in the sun
- A random conversation in a coffee shop
- An unexpected handwritten letter
- Listening to a great sermon
- At a funeral
- While reading a book
- Flat on my back soaked in sweat surrounded by dozens of other people at the end of yoga
They seem to happen at some of the most random times, sometimes when relaxed and at peace and just as many in moments of extreme stress. Those little moments of mini-enlightenment shape my life in so many ways. When I want to force one to figure something out it doesn’t happen. When I least expect it, there it is.
What I find interesting is how seemingly out of the blue one of those memories come out of nowhere to remind us that they happened. Whether a feel of the weather, a specific breeze, a song, a place, a person, a tool, a picture, an animal in the wild, or any other relatively “normal” thing – there’s something specific that draws the memory to the front of our brain and reminds us of how we’ve become who we are.
There’ve been a couple of reminders of those moments throughout my day and I’ve been thankful for each of them. They remind me of who I am, who I’ve been, and who I should be. Their presence brings joy as they show me how much progress I’ve made while simultaneously showing me how much more of the gap I have to close. Those moments of mini-enlightenment have led me to my present, and I am so grateful for each of them.