Norma Jean: Days of Heaven

Autumn is absolutely, utterly and undeniably the most beautiful slice of heaven on earth. Here in Albuquerque, New Mexico bright, rounded balloons lolling overhead add a dimension of peace other cities would envy. Where else do roasted green chiles make your mouth water like a Pavlovian dog just smelling them tumbling around in those barrels? How wonderful to put flannel sheets back on and snuggle with a favorite friend while the leaves turn and the smell of smoking pinon wood brings anticipations for the next major events to come, with Thanksgiving and the winter holidays the exclamation points. We love autumn, don't we? Love, pale light and movement are everywhere.My son is safely tucked away at kindergarten and dons his newer, more grown-up self most of the time these days. Walking him into Elementary School this morning, I heard him say, in a distinctly deeper sounding voice, "Hey, Nigel," as we passed one of his new friends in the hallway.Yes indeedy, time keeps moving into the future, yet the predictability of the seasons, the watermarks of holidays and reliving my own kindergarten days reflected by my little boy only adds to my contemplative crisp, yellow days and black fall nights.The Buddhists say "life is suffering," and I agree. Still, there are breezes and puffy clouds, small gestures of kindness one lover does for the other, pumpkins, a postcard from the other side of the globe, my son's very grown-up, "Hey, Nigel ... " in the school hallway -- things that make my heart vibrate with energy.Life's not a mental endeavor and finding love or a very deep friendship is impossible to orchestrate. Experience has proven that the most beautiful gifts and lasting liaisons come out of left field. Some people stick in our lives while others pale.It seems to be the atmosphere of the mind that creates our individual reality: the way it is focused, which channel it's tuned to. Bob Dylan's "Positively Fourth Street" makes a case for the mean-spirited life with no reward at it's end; so be careful what you imbibe, it could very well determine your experiences.True discrimination should put love at the top of one's list when making decisions that might make your life better. Individuals perceive and experience the world as they think. So true, so deep and so baffling, the realization that one is fully responsible for everything -- including a lack or abundance of good or bad fortune -- scares most people into scrambling to control more, accumulate more, judge more, identify more with this or that and over-intellectualize everything.Many people know a lot, but their experience is dry; others feel that they know nothing, yet their experience is rich and full. People appearing to have everything are sometimes the most unhappy because what they yearn for is the serenity, contentment and bliss of love. Every action is motivated to find this state whether you realize it or not.True love is the most we can get out of this life.This column is inspired by the continuing lessons of Siddha Yoga and my 20-year anniversary in the teachings.

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