While walking in the hills of Del Mar just before sunset last night I came upon this spectacular Agave plant more than five feet in diameter growing beside a sandstone cliff two stories high. The sunlight illuminating the plant’s leaves beckoned me closer for a photo. As I held up my camera, I had the most wonderful and ephemeral moment of watching my shadow move into an alignment that merged my head with the plant’s core, which holds its newest growth and under that, what growers actually refer to as its “heart.”
I stood there for a few seconds awestruck and rooted by a feeling that I can only now describe as a falling away of the illusion of separation and equally a knowing of the Oneness that lives and breathes through me, this plant, the wind, you, and everything.
And then in an instant everything was back to normal. A car drove by, my phone chimed a message had arrived, and my shadow self stepped back into my body.
As I glance at that photo again, trying to recapture the feeling and make sense of the insight to apply to my daily life, it looks as if a new plant shoot is about to burst open on the top of the left side of my head. Maybe nature’s gift of new ideas for my next book? Funny what a hair clip in shadow can create in one’s imagination. Or maybe not.
One of my favorite Zen proverbs pops into my mind: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
Yes, and…through it all, keep looking, keep asking, keep photographing and writing, or creating through whatever your chosen path is, and remember to align head and heart — your’s and nature’s.
You never know where enlightenment is waiting for you.