Just over two weeks ago, I moved from the inner most point of Burard Inlet, off the Pacific Coast of Canada; to a point 1/12 miles along the south shore. Where I now live, the inlet is narrow, about ½ mile from shore to shore. The north shore rises gently from a narrow strip of homes to an uninhabited, forest covered mountain. I have lived in this area for the last 2 years. I have travelled the roads along the inlet for most of my life. I have not really notice the beauty of the inlet until recently.
Just outside my window a large cargo ship has just anchored and is now ready for loading. My home is level with the top of its mast. From my front yard I could tee up with a #1 wood and drive a golf ball that would land in one of its cargo holds. Across the inlet are homes lining the shore. Most of the homes have docks extending into the water, and boats tied to them.
From my vantage point this morning, my eye was caught by a flashing light across the water. The light was moving between buildings and trees along one of the roads that parallel the inlet. I couldnít tell what the light was mounted on and it appeared either amber or red, but it was moving slowing from east to west.
My attention turned to the traffic moving along a lower road beneath the flashing light. Most of the traffic was heading east as people where in the process of going to work. It is a pleasant relaxing ride along the road that winds and turns for about 3 miles along the inlet to connect to the highway that leads to serious business.
It hit me this morning that I was watching an ant colony. There is a world in motion across the water that I am witness to. The houses, the cars, the boats and the ship are toys in my world. From my position as the silent observer of this life process, I can see where everything is coming from and where it is going.
To the west the road ends and drops into the water, and to the east it leads into civilization and congestion. All traffic this time of the day, moves east. There is only one main road that goes from end to end. There are many side roads and cul de sacs.
With marvellous accuracy I can predict where most of the cars will end up when they reach the end of the road. The traffic has purpose. A school bus that is heading west will turn around and go back east and end up at a school. The flashing light that I saw earlier was a garbage truck, it will weave in and out of the roads that run between houses and other streets. As it reaches the end of the road to the west, it also will turn around and head back east. The truck has purpose, it will end up in a land fill somewhere and dump its load. The small boats tied up in front of the houses will leave and head west towards the ocean and they will return.
I can see were they are coming from and where they are going. I can not predict exactly how many turns they may make in between, or how many stops, those choices are individual and unpredictable. From my point of observation, itís a constant chaotic, interweaving motion. Some movements seem to be predictable while others are not. The flow of life moves to and throw seemingly without reasons or purpose. Yet it all starts at the same place and ends up at the same place.
When I travel those roads, I am taking my life serious. I have purpose, a destination and a job to do. I am oblivious to whatís around me most of the time. The experience is not the same, because I donít see it the same. I am in the box, in the race, I am focused and most of the time, in a hurry.
Much of the time, I take my life too seriously. I do not make take to watch myself going back and forth in a seemingly irrational, chaotic and meaningless journey that is not taking me anywhere. Both ends of the box are open, yet I choose to stay inside. I believe that most of us do that. We havenít learned how to take ourselves less seriously and relax. Keeping busy, gives us less time to ponder where we are coming from and where we are going. Itís scary outside of the box.
Over the last few years, I have become more aware of my spirituality and have been able to remove myself from the race and out of the box from time to time. I sit back and shake my head and wonder why I am bouncing around with such aimlessness. Why is it that I made this or that turn. I can now laugh at myself when I see myself taking a blind turn and ending up in a cul de sac. I have learned how to remove myself and see my life as the silent observer from across the inlet. I know where I have come from and where I am going. I donít take any wrong turns too seriously anymore. I understand that they also have purpose, other wise I wouldnít have made them.
The trip from the west end to the east end is predictable. How I get there and how fast or slowly, is an individual choice. If complicated is how I see it, I have that choice. If I am overly focused on getting to the end quickly, I can make that choice also.
Life is simple, it was designed that way. Add a pinch of seriousness here or there and it begins to get more complicated. We sometimes lose our way or become confused. We lose touch with our purpose and how we want to get there. The more we think about life, the more meaningless it becomes. Life has no purpose, save for the purpose we give it. Itís simply about choice. Turn left, right, go backwards or ahead. When we lose sight, we get lost in the freedom of choices that we have. We become fearful and anxious. We lose sight of the end of the road and begin making mistakes and taking turns that lead us away.
From where I now sit, I can see were the traffic is going. While Iím in it, I am blinded by the car in front of me and the objects that take away my attention along the road.
Next time I travel that road on the north side. I will look back at the silent observer and get my bearings once again.
Learn to take time out for yourself and do nothing. Simply notice where you have been, and where you are going. Practice this often, and your life will change for the better. You will know direction and purpose once again. You will know when a turn does not get you where you want to go. You will use the eyes of the silent observer to guide you. Life will become fun, once you become less serious.
Next time you are lost, look across the inlet, and know that you are there watching yourself, ready to give directions. Better still look at where you want to go first, and trust that you will be guided without making unnecessary turns. Travel often to the other side and watch yourself. Notice how you move. See the comedy in your life and how you create drama. Notice the simplicity of your journey and how difficult you are making it. Notice how you make choices and why. How appropriate the choices are or are not for you. Do not judge ever, just simply notice. Love the one that is now in the driverís seat and how beautiful you are. Notice how perfect your live is, and how you create your life by making choices that take you where you want to go. Notice also, that you always get to the end of your journey, whether it is all the way to the end of the road or only part way.