This I Believe

William - Virginia Beach, Virginia
Entered on October 25, 2006

Prior to our wedding, my fiancé and I decided to compose our own vows and publicly recite them to each other by memory. Several weeks later, the ceremony began, and the stress I felt was intense – would I stumble or blank out when the big moment arrived? Finally, it was time. When my recitation began, the words flowed smoothly and effortlessly. Furthermore, as I gazed deeply into my partner’s eyes, I got transported to a “place” that was new to me. Indeed, time seemed to stop as I was lost in that moment with my beloved. Indeed, I lost all sense of “self” and felt a unity with all life. It was a wonderful but brief moment.

After this mystical moment, I wanted more of it but was never able to experience it again. I tried meditation and prayer, pursued selfless service to others, explored different wisdom traditions, sought out gurus, and even tried gazing deeply into other loved ones’ eyes. I began to despair that I would never return to that transcendent realm.

Then, it happened again shortly after we adopted our second child from Russia. I had just finished bathing my seven-month old daughter, Anastasia. As I laid my clean and contented daughter in her crib, her beautiful green eyes locked in on mine. For the second time in my life, I was transported into a timeless transcendent state – one that was similar in nature to that experienced with my earlier wedding vow recital moment. The joy was once again deep and powerful.

I believe in the transformative power of love. The transformation is mysterious and comes when I least expect it, but I now know that love and transformation are somehow linked. Although I want to strategically position myself for more mystical moments, I am learning that these experiences come in their own way and time. To my great consternation, I seem to have no ability to make this happen with my own powers. Nonetheless, the “Counselor” visits me when I get myself out of the way and give myself completely to the moment. I wish that I could try to work harder and/or smarter spiritually, but it seems to be more like the “effortless effort” that the Buddhists describe.

I hunger deeply for more of these mystical moments, but I am learning to wait more patiently. In the meantime, I feel deep gratitude for the love I feel for and from my family and friends, and for the precious gift of life that I have been given. As my friend Bo wisely states, everyone’s path is one of “stumbling toward the light.” I believe that I just need to keep walking, observing, and enjoying all the events within this thing we call life – fully experiencing it, without identifying with any of it. And if the time is right, a third mystical moment is right around the corner.