From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.
Yours is to live it, not to reveal it. This lesson applies to us all. If we devote ourselves to the life at hand, the rest will follow. For life, it seems, reveals itself through those willing to live. Anything else, no matter how beautiful, is just advertising.
I woke up this morning not feeling so good – I'd had a little bit of a poor tummy when I went to bed, so had taken some pepto and gone to sleep, but was still feeling a little delicate come morning – delicate in spirit too, I think... so I decided that what I needed was some fresh air.
By this time it was lunch time, and as I stepped out of my apartment, the Call to Prayer was sounding from the many mosques in the area where I live, the sounds overlapping each other in some kind of great spiritual echo. It sounds like it should have been noisy and intrusive, but it was actually a very peaceful and settling experience; peaceful because everywhere was so quiet, as all of my 'neighbours' had gone to their prayer, entered into a spiritual state.
I just walked in the sunshine, my own spiritual experience, contemplating, entering into the day that was upon me. I had been right, it was just what I needed.
Eventually my steps brought me to the local mall, (one of two in Rehab City). I needed to find a gift for the Christmas party I went to, I also needed to get one or two dishtowels for my apartment so I can actually dry my dishes. I was walking around the store – still very quiet, because people were still at, or just coming out of prayer, and looking at the signs saying the prices of things. I should mention this is a 'discount' store...so things are very reasonable there. In the store, the 'discount' prices are written out in Arabic only – you have to look at the little sticky price label on the individual items to see the numerals that most of us are used to. So I looked at one of the signs, contemplating it for a long time while I tried to read the numbers. One is easy, it's just a line, just like a one, the next digit looked like a backward 7, which I know is the numeral for 2, because it's my apartment number, and the last digit is a little diamond shape, like a period written with an italic pen.. a 0... so I figured that what I was looking at something that cost 120LE. So I looked at the sticky label to see if I was right, and I was. It was just a small triumph – a small moment in 'living in the now' but I felt accomplished – It made me feel a little bit more secure.
My number recognition skills were further tested later as I was trying to find the apartment where the party was being held, in block 95, building 13. The nine was easy, because it's the same, and I know the 5, (which looks like a 0), because it's the bus number that comes by my apartment that goes to the bus station, so that was easy, but by the time I'd found the apartment, thought of number recognition went out of my head, I was tired, moving into a different moment – the moment of meeting colleagues (including my two immediate supervisors, the head and deputy head of primary, who where hosting the party) in a social setting. It went much better than I expected. I hadn't been at all sure about going, but very much enjoyed myself while I was there. The 'Secret Santa' was done in a way I'd never experienced before – rather like pass the parcel, when the music stopped the person with the parcel got that gift. It was quite hilarious really. So now I have a new mug and saucer, with camels on, a very nice gift actually, because I need crockery in my apartment!
The most surreal part of the evening, though, had to be when Mark and I were talking about the fact that New Zealand, where he comes from, was cool because it had Lord of the Rings, only to have him reveal that he has been skiing down Mount Doom.