Image by Mystic Art Design
Written by Barry Vissell and Narrated by Marie T. Russell.
Albert Einstein famously said,
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
I slightly disagree. I have seen that, for many of us, there is a third way, that only some things are miracles. A lot of us believe in miracles, but only the big, obvious, staring-in-your-face kind, like the birth of your child, finding true love, or even a spectacular sunset or rainbow. But the little, everyday variety of miracle is often overlooked, like the fresh ozone smell in the woods after a rain, the smile on the face of a baby, the lovely house you find to live in, or the prompting you get to call someone, and then find out they are in crisis and need your help.
Don't Believe In Miracles?
Sadly, many people simply don't believe in miracles. They believe there is a scientific explanation for all phenomena. Even if they don't know what it is, they believe that, someday, it will be explained scientifically.
The mind simply cannot believe in miracles, while the heart doesn't have to believe. It knows! The mind craves explanations, while the heart transcends explanation. The mind seeks smallness, while the heart is open to vastness. To be open to miracles is to be open to a spiritual dimension of life.
Joyce and I belong to the "everything is a miracle" camp. And nothing is too small to be a miracle. On the earth now for three quarters of a century, we look back at miracle after miracle in our lives; some huge, some tiny, some in-between, but all miracles.
Big Miracles and Small Miracles
The big miracles often stand out, like the way Joyce and I were brought together; or narrowly surviving the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake; or finding new love after infidelity; or the mind-blowing experiences with our teachers and guides.
But what we consider the "small" miracles are still miracles and, in truth, are no less than the "big" miracles. Saving a life on an alpine meadow, hearing a heavenly voice at the age of nine, feeling an invisible hand on the top of our head, or rescuing a lost dog. It's just impossible to quantify miracles. They're all part of the invisible world, the world of possibility, the spiritual dimension.
Both of our lives have been composed of many thousands of miracles. Remembering them is a source of infinite joy. Accepting everything as a miracle continues to bless us to this day. And the gratefulness we feel as a result keeps us optimistic about our future, and the future of this world.
Our work in the world is all about helping people with their lives and their relationships; individually, as couples, or in our groups and retreats. Do we see miracles happen? Yes, often. Each person's heart opening to more love is a miracle to be celebrated.
Starting with the onset of the Covid Pandemic, which canceled all of our live events, we recorded a simple short weekly video containing an inspiring message and me singing one of the songs I have written, accompanying myself on the harmonium, a small hand-pumped organ, originally from India.
Before each video, Joyce and I pray that our words and music can help whoever needs help. We don't have a huge following but, each time, we hear from a few people who tell us that the video they just watched was exactly what they needed. Is this a miracle? You bet. (You can sign up for these free videos at SharedHeart.org)
Paying Attention and Being Present
To be aware of the miraculous in life requires paying attention and being present. To notice life itself is to notice miracle after miracle. If you're waiting for fireworks, you can easily miss the constant stream of miracles happening right now.
Even as I sit in my office now, I am looking out my window at the infinitely varying shades of green in the foliage, the dark greens of a wisteria vine gone wild with reckless abandon, reaching out in every direction; the maturing silver maple tree beginning the amazing transformation of reds, oranges and yellows that signals autumn. The change of color is not static; it is ever-changing, even as I watch this miracle unfold.
Then there's the miracle this morning of sitting with Joyce, after our meditation and prayer time, and looking into her face and eyes, seeing the radiance of the Goddess shine through to me.
During the day, as we pass each other in each of our activities, sometimes I miss out on this miracle. I don't pay attention or notice her divine beauty, or the little way she smiles at me, even in passing. But sometimes, even in our busyness, we stop and hug, and not a short hug but a real embrace. And then I remember and feel the miracle of two souls, joined in love, for not just a mere fifty-six years, but for eternity.
* Subtitles by InnerSelf
Copyright 2021 by Joyce and Barry Vissell.
Book by this Author(s)
Heartfullness: 52 Ways to Open to More Love
by Joyce and Barry Vissell.
Heartfulness means so much more than sentimentality or schmaltz. The heart chakra in yoga is the spiritual center of the body, with three chakras above and three below. It is the balance point between lower body and higher body, or between body and spirit. To dwell in your heart is therefore to be in balance, to integrate the lower three chakras with the higher three.
This book contains 52 writings and stories that all illustrate the many facets of heartfulness. That’s one per week. Our goal is to lead you into your heart. Our goal is to give you a feeling experience of the heart in its many dimensions. We could say each piece will make you feel good. And this may be true. But each will also challenge you to grow in spiritual awareness, for there is often a certain risk that must be taken before the heart can open. Sometimes we need to leave our comfort zone to really live from the heart.
About the Author(s)
Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors, near Santa Cruz CA, who are passionate about conscious relationship and personal-spiritual growth. They are the authors of 9 books and a new free audio album of sacred songs and chants. Call 831-684-2130 for further information on counseling sessions by phone, on-line, or in person, their books, recordings or their schedule of talks and workshops.
Join Barry and Joyce Vissell in their first in-person event in 16 months: Summer Couples Retreat, June 24-27, 2021.
Visit their website at SharedHeart.org for their free monthly e-heartletter, their updated schedule, and inspiring past articles on many topics about relationship and living from the heart.