In the morning, before the birds wake and sing, I walk into the forested hills behind my home. I leave concrete behind and follow the uphill dirt path before me. Moments later, I commune with nature and taste the dewy morning air. I walk up at a slow pace, smiling at the beauty around me.
A world of green hugs me, quiet yet full of life. Everything is stirring, but yet to wake. As I reach the top of the hill, I see the familiar Chinese-style gazebo and take my place, seated in the center. The Tai-Chi practitioners will not arrive for sometime and I settle into a comfortable position.
I close my eyes and, for a moment, enjoy the subtle sounds and smells of the forest. A smile spreads across my face as my attention turns within. Before me lie a world in which I am offered the throne. As I do a preliminary scan of this infinite space, I watch thoughts flow in and out of my mind.
I decide to take over and select some thoughts which I know bear good fruit. I think of someone I love and gratitude begins to warm my heart. One by one, I list off that which I am grateful for, dwelling on each one individually, without hurry.
“How lucky I am to know that I will eat today and that I have a roof over my head.” My spirit relaxes, realizing that I really do have more than I need. “How fortunate I am to be healthy and strong.” Waves of vibrant energy emanate from within and burst through my skin, and join the morning energy around me.
I decide to smile and with it comes a feeling of joy. My smile deepens because I cannot believe how easy it is to create joy within. Never did I realize that a smile could switch on joy. For so long I, like so many, looked outside for something to make me smile. And all along, I simply needed to separate the corners of my cheeks.
“Life is just amazing,” I say to myself and suddenly everything seems much more wonderful. “How did I get so lucky?” I ask, and feelings of gratitude accompany the question, springing forth as if coiled within the words.
Into my mind pops a thought of something which must be done today. I am not especially keen on doing it, and therefore it drags with it feelings of dread. At first, this thought creeps into my mind silently, like a thief in the night. But, because I am standing guard at the gate of my mind, I notice it and, with the flick of a metaphorical finger, banish the thought from my mind.
I now re-direct my mind back to something positive. I recall something I am proud of and positive feelings rush back in, filling up the empty spaces of my spirit. Again, I smile because I am allowed to be the master of this world within.
Later I shall exercise my body, but for now, I exercise my mind. The invisible muscles which can choose thought must be strengthened, for with them comes joy, happiness, health and beauty. I continue my practice, and joy and feelings of abundance swell, far beyond what I contain. And I happily let the overflow spill out into the world around me.
Re-emerging, I open my eyes, and see the first rays of sunlight. I am radiating with energy, bursting with life. Had I simply sat and watched my thoughts run wild, I would have been drained and tired. The energy I exerted to choose my thoughts has left in its place exponentially more energy. Energy creates energy.
I descend the hill, along the dirt path, my mind like an undisturbed ancient pond, as smooth as a mirror. My focus is like the tip of a sewing needle. Calmness is my shield against what would normally disturb me.
I recall the many, many hours spent in frustrated meditation, seeking and looking. I wandered and roamed, watched and studied. Finally, in exhaustion, I tried out of desperation, to simply choose a thought. And, lo and behold, with it came a feeling. And I chose another thought, and again it was trailed by an emotion.
“Perhaps,” I asked, “I can simply choose thoughts which bring with them positive emotions.” I gave it a try. It worked! Excited, I ran around my mind picking out good thoughts and delighting in their joyful fruit.
And, as negative thoughts sought admittance into my mind, I didn’t fight them, I didn’t struggle against them. I smiled and simply shifted my mind back to something or someone I loved, mentally remembering that which brings me joy.
And I realized the immense simplicity of it all and laughed at how over-complicated I had made it for so long. I had been a soul searcher, yet all along I was being offered the scepter of kingship over my soul.
One does not have to search and wander anymore when we discover that the throne of our mind was reserved only for us all along.