I chuckled as I stepped from the rental car pavilion onto the shuttle bus to the Kauai airport. The distance to the terminal was quite short, forming a circle of about a quarter mile; if I walked the straight shot rather than taking the bus, I probably would have gotten there quicker!
I set my bags on the rack, took a seat, and nodded to the driver. He closed the door and stepped lightly on the gas. I joked, "I'll bet you get pretty bored making the same trip in circles all day!"
The fellow turned his head slightly, smiled politely, and answered, "I've never made the same trip twice."
"I always meet interesting people on the bus," he added. "I like to talk to them and find out where they're from. They usually have some good stories about their vacation. I love this job!"
Transforming Monotonous to a Winning Game
What a huge lesson this humble driver taught me! I was stuck in circular thinking. He was glowing with joy. He took a potentially monotonous job and transformed it into a game he just kept winning. As the ecstatic Persian poet Hafiz declared, "It's all just a big love contest, and I never lose."
Boredom is not a condition; it is an attitude. Anything can be boring if you bring a closed mind to it. Anything can be fascinating if you bring an open mind to it. You can make anything out of anything.
Bringing the Art Out of the Ordinary
A woman once sent me a small stone with a pencil drawing on it. The rendering clearly depicted the profile of a woman looking up at a bird. It was quite beautiful. As I looked more closely at the stone, I saw that the artist had not etched these lines; she simply traced some lines that were already in the stone.
As I read the enclosed letter describing her art business, I learned that she takes objects from nature and finds patterns in them. Then she highlights those patterns. She does not consider herself a creator; she is a magnifier. Her art reminded me of Michelangelo's famous response when he was asked how he crafted a sculpture as magnificent as "David." "I just saw David in the stone," he explained, "and chipped away everything that was not David."
Finding the New in the Repetitive
I am amazed as I observe little children watch the same video over and over and over again. My goddaughter watched Three Men and a Baby 21 times! An adult would be bored after the 2nd or 3rd viewing. But children have a wonderful ability to always find something novel and fascinating. They do not undermine new experiences by trying to stuff them into old boxes. They live in the thrilling now moment, which is always fresh and alive. As the Persian mystic Kabir noted, "Wherever you are is the entry point."
The closest experience I can equate to watching videos repeatedly, is listening to inspirational cassette tapes. I have listened to some of the same tapes many times, and I do not get bored. To the contrary, I hear new material every time. On one of my favorite tapes, a workshop participant asked Abraham how it feels to keep answering the same questions over and over again. "Oh, we've never answered the same question twice!" Abraham responded. I wonder if Abraham knows the shuttle bus driver.
How Are You? And How Are You Now?
My young friend Matthew keeps me on my toes. One day when I went to visit his family, he greeted me at the door and asked, "How are you, Alan?"
"Just fine, Matthew," I told him.
Ten minutes later he asked again, "How are you, Alan?"
My first impulse was to tell him, "You just asked me that, and I told you I'm fine." But just as I was about to speak, I stopped and realized this was another Matthew moment. Ten whole minutes had elapsed since our last conversation. All kinds of things could have happened in those ten minutes!
In that period of time, people are born, people die, people have orgasms, people get enlightened, and in the ocean just a few miles down the road, billions of undersea creatures go through zillions of microscopic life cycles. For some critters, ten minutes is the span of their whole life. If I were fully open and available to the flow of spirit, I could be an entirely different person in ten minutes! Of course Matthew had every right and reason to ask me such an illuminated question.
Everything Is New
Scientists tell us that there is no cell in our bodies more than seven years old. Every organ is constantly rebuilding itself with new cells. Why, then, does your body look the same, or older? Because the new cells go into old patterns which are established and perpetuated by repetitious thinking. If you could think and feel anew with every new moment, you would hardly age. In fact, if anyone asks you how old you are and you answer with any number over seven years, you are fibbing.
I think that Matthew, the Kauai shuttle bus driver, Abraham, all of the children of the world, and all the animals, are in cahoots. I think they get together and have secret meetings to figure out how to surprise, confound, and entertain the rest of us who are marooned in the past and future. They are dispatched by an insidiously brilliant conspiracy designed to keep us from getting hung up in our creaking beliefs. Thank God for innocent souls who delight in life; otherwise we might have it all figured out, and then what would we do?
Standing on Holy Ground, Always
In the Bible, when Moses approached the burning bush on Mt. Sinai, God told him, "Take off your shoes, for you are standing on holy ground." The same instruction applies to us: Wherever you stand is holy ground. Wherever there is life, the ground is holy, and life is everywhere. The question is, are you in it?
It's never the same trip. God is too original to do the same thing twice.
Book by this author:
Deep Breath of Life: Daily Inspiration for Heart-Centered Living
by Alan Cohen.
"Take a deep breath of life, and consider how it should be lived". This quote from Man of La Mancha sets the tone for this book, which offers daily inspiration for heart-centered living. Alan Cohen has touched the hearts and lives of thousands of people seeking more authenticity and creative self-expression in their lives.
About The Author
Alan Cohen is the bestselling author of A Course in Miracles Made Easy and of the newly-released Spirit Means Business. Join Alan and musician Karen Drucker in Hawaii, December 1-6, for an extraordinary retreat, “A Course in Miracles: the Easy Path.” For more information about this program, Alan’s Holistic Life Coach Training beginning January 1, his books and videos, free daily inspirational quotes, online courses, and weekly radio show, visit www.alancohen.com