Last week, on an island 35 miles off the coast of Belize City, Central America, I connected with nature and felt peaceful. Turneffe Island is self-powered by a generator, has its own water filtration system, and has no cell phone or television access. The biggest social event for this island of about 40 people is the weekly hermit crab race. People come to catch and release fish or be neutrally buoyant in the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. During shared meals, I ate fresh fish (usually a daily catch by a visiting angler) with guests from around the world. The island is a mix of Creole, South American, and Spanish culture. When I arrived, I asked an island resident how a person would tell another “I love you.” Whether you are speaking to your best friend, passionate lover, or your little brother, it’s all the same – Te Amo. The easy pace and simple peace of this island reminded me that love is always the same and should be effortlessly and freely spoken.
After recovering from my techno-withdrawal of my iPod, email, and symbiotic relationship with my computer, I rediscovered silence. This is a spiritual discipline I have lacked since attending many oneness processes in Fiji and India. There, silence (mauna) was the norm within long days of contemplation and prayer. In the Oneness Teachings, silence is considered an enormous gift because we can reflect and empty our minds. We don’t feel inhibited by time and instead, can tune into the flow of divine life and notice the little things. Silence is the peaceful place where we know the wholeness of our true nature and affirm that right here and now is divine substance in the form of people, nature, loving intentions and expressions, adequate shelter, and good food.
I’ve been scuba diving for about 10 years, and consider it a form of meditation. I dove the Blue Hole, a rare, cavernous dive site near Half Moon Caye. This undisturbed, natural wonder is a collection of stalactites and stalagmites that project through clear water. Resurfacing from 129 feet underwater reveals a world of coral reef, sea turtles, angelfish, and an eel – an entire food chain that lives in a colorful, natural rhythm. I like to dive because I can sink into silence, and be fully present and aware of nature. I can settle into longer moments of peace which help me establish a stronger relationship with people. And when I establish peace within, kind and compassionate thoughts begin to flow outward, and I can allow God’s good to fill my heart and mind. I affirm the light of Spirit and strengthen my spiritual connection to All That Is.
Western culture, and all its distractions, is the anti-thesis of island culture. We don’t spend enough quiet time to clear our thoughts and appreciate the present moment. In silence, we can be fully present to the Divine Presence that permeates every living thing. Periodically excusing ourselves from time is a healthy exercise in present moment awareness where we can allow each experience flow through us. It is one way to notice our abundance or goodness in others; consequently, we can more easily apply that perspective to everyday life. That’s why silence and simplicity are two pathways to peace.
Whether you are diving off the shores of a remote island, or doing any one of a hundred tasks at work, home, school, or your favorite activity, carve out some time to be silent and just be fully present to what is in front of you. Recognize how you have been enriched by the Universe and consider each experience in life as one that holds learning that helps you evolve consciousness.
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