Sunday, May 13, 2007

Late Night Reflection

One night last week I awoke at 3:00 AM sharp. I have no idea why. I usually sleep through the night with little interruption; a Divine gift to my simple and naive soul, perhaps.

Our family had enjoyed Mexican food the evening before, and lying there in the dark, I realized I was thirsty. After thinking about getting up and heading downstairs for a drink for maybe five minutes, I got up and headed to the fridge, quiet and night all around me.

I am not sure why, but I sat down with my glass of water in the living room by the front window. The house was darkened, it was completely still outside. Only the street lights illuminating the street on this moonless night. All the hurry and rush and static of everyday life was gone. It was if time had frozen, as if this hurried life I lead had, for a moment, been put on hold. Still green trees out the window, soft street lights, and only the sound of my own breathing.

And then, there was another sound. Breathing, but not my own. The soft, rhythmic breathing of Heather, our 13 year old, in the bedroom close to the living room. Deep in REM sleep, lost in a dream place likely far from this quiet night time living room. And then, another soft sound. The soft rolling-over-rustling of her sister, Kelly, now 16, in the bedroom down the hall.

Albert Einstein once said, "A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

May I love well those nearest to me, and create a life that widens its circle of compassion.
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