Beach Day Epiphany?

We took Jacob to Lake Shrine yesterday morning for services and then we had plans to meet up with some friends at the beach. Jacob LOVES the beach!

As the monk was talking at the service, a seed of a thought sprouted in my head. I wasn’t entirely sure what it was exactly, but I knew it was important…

We went to the beach, planted our umbrella, put on sunscreen and I took Jacob closer to the water so we could dig in the sand and make sand castles. He kept asking me to run into the ocean and fill his bucket with water. Of course, I had no problem doing this! Over and over again, I’d run out, fill the bucket, and return to dump the water into the hole that we dug. Jacob would smile wide, sit in the hole and put his face down and try to blow bubbles in the water before the water disappeared back into the ground. It was adorable!

Next thing we knew, there was a pod of dolphins swimming about 50 yards off the shore. They were swimming back and forth and some of them actually completely breached. It was mesmerizing. Everyone just stood there watching them. Some people took pictures, while others swam over to them (as a side note, when I swam with dolphins a number of years ago, I was told to be very careful around them – if you touch a male dolphin in the right – or wrong – place he might get excited and try to, uh, mate with you. Dolphins are extremely well-endowed, so I imagine you understand why I thought it unwise for the people to swim up to them, but back to the point)

I brought Jacob into the water to get a closer look. We watched the dolphins swim back and forth for about 10 minutes and then Jacob looked at me and said: No more waves! I wanna go back to the sand toys. So, back we went.

Remember that seed I mentioned before? Well, as I watched Jacob dig in the sand, and heard the waves crashing around me mixed with the sounds of kids playing, adults talking and wind blowing, that sprouted seed became a forest.

Here’s what hit me:

Everything is sacred.

Everything, and everyone. I know, I know – you can’t make a statement without backing it up… Where to start?

How about here:

No matter what form of religion you belong to  (if your answer is none/I’m an atheist – hang on a sec ’cause I’m making a point here, so stick with me…) you’ve always been told about good vs evil, or spiritual vs non-spiritual, heaven vs hell (unless you’re Jewish, then it’s just heaven ;)). But moreover, you’ve been told that God is the Alpha and the Omega. There is nowhere that God isn’t – God is everywhere and in all things. I think for the sake of this post, it’ll help if I differentiate my definition of God as pure energy and consciousness – not some dude sitting on a throne in the sky judging people. And with that definition, I’m sure some people have tuned out. That’s ok. For those of you who are left, if you believe in God and believe that God is everywhere and in all things (meaning people, animals and everything else, too) then how is it possible that anything is NOT sacred? How is it possible that anything is wrong, or not as it should be? Following this definition, we are all souls walking around in bodies and those souls are eternal. We return to source upon the death of these bodies. We come from the light and we return to the light. Are you still with me? Oh, you’re wondering about bad things (murder, famine, poverty, disease, etc…)?

Well, if we don’t know pain, how do we recognize pleasure? Without down, there is no up. Without poor, there is no rich. Without evil, there’s no good. Do you see the pattern? We live in a world of duality. Even still, all of it comes from source. It’s all just one big dream.

Row, row row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

If you’re an atheist or you think I’m just plain looney-toons, and you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me. Let’s look at this from a scientific perspective for a second (I’m sure you can get behind that, right?)

We know it as fact that energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only change form. This means that all of the energy in the UNIVERSE that has ever been and will ever be is already in existence. We also know it as fact that everything is energy. Everything. There is no matter in the known universe that doesn’t consist of atoms and molecules vibrating rapidly or less rapidly, and if we look closer, we see that even those molecules and atoms are made up of energy and are mostly space (quantum physics tells us that particles – or matter – can behave as waves – or light – too, depending on how they are observed). So how do we explain consciousness? A process of the cerebral cortex? What is the cerebral cortex? Atoms and molecules vibrating rapidly… Where does the energy that powers our human body go when we die? It changes form, doesn’t it? We already know that it isn’t destroyed because that’s not possible. Might that be the soul leaving the body? Whether or not you believe that the energy that we consist of is conscious, I feel that it’s indisputable that we are masses of energy and upon the expiration of our bodies, that energy goes somewhere. It doesn’t just cease to exist.

There are lots of things that I can tackle here regarding religion and spirituality, that for the sake of brevity, I’m going to omit. This is a blog about raising my son and I want to tie that in here. My belief is that we are souls walking around in physical form. We are here to enhance ourselves and learn and experience the things that we can only know while in energy (or soul) form. We are all connected (If you don’t believe in souls, then we are all masses of energy that was created in the stars billions of years ago, and we are still all connected to each other and everything in existence on some level). As such, it is ludicrous to treat anyone or anything without respect and reverence. We all come from the same place, and we’ll all return there when we’re done here (regardless of your point of view – energy or soul). Anyone who claims that something is morally or spiritually above anything else is completely missing the point. Everything is spiritual, because everything has its place.

So, back to Jacob and the beach. In that moment, I realized that we start out that way in life. We start with reverence for everything. Take a minute to see through the eyes of a child and you’ll see that everything is magical. I see it when Jacob plays in the sand at the beach and I see it when he plays in the garden outside. I see it when he plays with his toys and when I fool him with sleight of hand tricks (they’re extremely rudimentary and would never fool anyone older than a toddler, but to him, it’s magic). Maybe we need to find our way back to the un-jaded viewpoint of our youth. As parents, we need to encourage our children to continue to see the sacred in everything, instead of robbing them of the magic of everyday life. If everyone did that, we could wipe out wars and poverty in one generation.

Maybe that’s too tall an order, and maybe it’s not even the point of being here. Take a walk outside and pay attention to your surroundings. Listen to nature. Breathe her in. You’ll feel it if you allow yourself to.

And if all of this is mumbo jumbo to you, can you think of a better way to live your life than to be kind to others (animals included) and to appreciate the things in your life? Not for the promise of happiness after “death”, but for happiness and joy while we’re here. Who cares if you pray to Buddha, Jesus, or not at all. Why not live happily and let others do the same. Can you think of a better way to live?

Because I can’t.

 

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