Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

We Are Swimming in Miracles

--by Peter Kalmus (Mar 27, 2017)

Chicago. I remember in high school, I went for a walk. I was going to a friend's house and I was walking past all these houses; it was the evening, sort of dark. In every house, there were blue flickering lights going in synchrony because everyone was watching the same TV show. It was a quiet night and I was alone, just walking with the sound of the freeway and the blue flickering lights. And what had seemed normal to me my whole life suddenly seemed strange. Even so, I didn't think of some other way of living. [...]

I think there's this misconception in Western culture that wanting things is a solution. It’s actually a form of suffering. I wouldn't be surprised if most people thought that wanting things, and then having those cravings satisfied, is happiness. So they're constantly chasing after these sensual things, and maybe for some amount of time after a craving is gratified, a person feels relief from this deeper suffering. But then it comes back again. It's actually stronger because the cycle of wanting and gratification is a habit, and now the habit has gotten a little more ingrained.

That's why even when people get all this money it’s not enough; they might get a collection of sports cars. Then they get one giant mansion, and that's not enough. So they get a summer home. Then they get a summer home in France. It just keeps going. Then they start buying politicians and buying ideologies and changing the whole fabric of Western culture. But that's still not enough. So space tourism is coming along. The craving never ends. It’s infinite.

Even the people who do make this connection, I think a lot of them don't understand that it takes a lot of work to start to change this. It's like practicing the piano. They think they'll suddenly be enlightened. Right? Maybe people don't think this way, but certainly for a lot of my life, before I actually started meditating, I had this sense that enlightenment was this kind of mystical thing that was out of my power to obtain, but that through some kind of grace, some kind of mystical process that I don't understand, maybe suddenly it could happen. In fact, what I found out about meditation and about dealing with this habit is that it takes a lot of practice, like becoming a concert pianist. You practice it every day, and there's nothing mystical about it. But I don't see these 7.2 billion people all starting to do that. But I think we should absolutely be doing that because that's the path that will make us come out of our suffering and make us be happier. Maybe it can happen fast. Maybe it will take hundreds of years, or maybe thousands of years. I don't think anyone can predict. But maybe, ultimately, it will catch on. [...]

So whenever you think that you don't have enough, like there's something that you think you need right now, then your mind is in the future. You feel like there's something missing from this moment, and that's a kind of suffering. But if you can make this little shift, you can start to see that everything around us—like this cup of tea, or this air that we breathe, or just the fact that we can have this conversation, or see a plant growing or the taste of the delicious beans and chard and avocado I just ate—you see that we're swimming in miracles. All of the bad stuff that happens comes from not recognizing this and by wanting more stuff for one's self and by being afraid of other people, feeling separate and seeing them in opposition. [...]

This wanting is kind of what gets in the way of seeing all the miracles we're swimming in. When we see these ordinary miracles, life becomes - so wonderful.

Peter Kalmus. Excerpt from an interview in works & conversations. [Illustration offered as an anonymous gift :-)]

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On Mar 24, 2017 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

We have a desiring, longing and chasing mind. There is nothing enough. There is no full satisfaction. We keep on moving in this cycle until we see the futility of longing more and more, newer and bigger.Time arrives, as Dante says, " Toward the midpoint of life's way", when we wake up and look within silently and openly. In such quiet moments, we hear the noisy mind, see the cluttered and cloudy mind, and get a glimpse of the reality beyond time, space and causality. We wake up and see the changing world without the longing for grasping it.It is relating to the world in freedom and in such state of consciousness lies the joy of living.

In meditation, the mind settles down and realizes the transcendental reality. This state of consciousness helps me to relate to what is here and now in its fullness.In such moments nothing seems to be missing.As the ancient Ishavasya Upanishad states:"This is complete. That is complete. Nothing needs to be added. Nothing needs to be subtracted."

I have fallen down in my life. I have left my inner home. I relate to these experiences as opportunities for me to wake up. Meditation has helped me to come back home and relate to the changing world with this awakened consciousness.

May we fined the source of joy and fulfillment within us with an awakened mind!


Jagdish P Dave

On Mar 25, 2017 david doane wrote:

 It's said the last one to notice water is a fish.  Like the fish in water, we're swimming in miracles and may take them for granted.  Everything is a miracle.  Creation is a miracle.  Life is a miracle.  Every moment, every breath is a miracle  It's a miracle that the 100 trillion cells of a human body work together simultaneously performing millions of processes each second for decades.  My recognition of this began a long time ago and continues to grow.  Waking up, using my eyes to see and my ears to hear, developing compassion, slowing down, becoming free help me recognize the miracles in every day life.  Recognizing the miracles increases my awe and gratitude.

On Mar 27, 2017 Amy wrote:

Went to SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mankato yesterday (as we were visiting my son's girlfriend's college town)! ... We surely are swimming in miracles!  From the architecture, to the liturgy, God surrounds!  Love

On Mar 28, 2017 Annette wrote:

 I have learned and continue learning to take nothing and no one for granted.  When one forgets to  appreciate all that life gives us, then one will settle into complacency, routine, boredom and just take people and things for granted.  This is suicide for relationships and when it's happened to me where the other person fell into this complacency, I didn't have the power to awaken them so I'd leave.  I'd rather be alone than lonely with another.  I finally found someone who is awakened to what's important in life and it's a miracle that I never stop feeling gratitude for.

On Mar 28, 2017 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 Swimming in miracles to me means seeing the beauty that surrounds us every day: and by beauty I mean small things like: the rain this morning that left such a clean scent through my window, the puddles I can now jump in if I so choose, the cup of tea that tasted so good when I paid attention to it, the crispness of the apple as I slowly savored each slice and then the gratitude that I could work remotely from home this morning teaching a class with people in 30 countries throughout the world and the gratitude that I can take the city public bus into work to teach in person this afternoon. It is all about what we choose to see and being in the moment. It can be elusive, but I experience it quite often now that I have worked on that muscle. ;)  Recognizing these moments takes practice initially in looking for them, then after a while, in my experience anyway, you end up seeing them all around you! <3 Hugs from my heart to yours.

On Mar 28, 2017 Liz Mitten Ryan wrote:
 When I was a little girl my mother told me that our two biggest blessings are health and happiness. It is important to focus on our blessings, hold gratitude in our hearts for all of our gifts and to see God in all life. From the simplest things, whether sweeping a floor or baking bread, gardening, or walking in nature, we are doing it for God. Every interaction is a conversation with God. If we allow that force of unconditional love to become us and live through us we have gratitude for all things. It's all always perfect and a gift for our highest good. When we surrender to that higher knowing and listen to our intuition we are always guided by miracles and our life becomes a miracle. Spend time in nature and with natural beings like animals and trees. Notice the peace and love everywhere. Think about every little aspect of creation -it is all a miracle!

On Mar 28, 2017 Mish wrote:

 Every moment is truly sacred.

On Mar 28, 2017 Amy wrote:


On Mar 28, 2017 AJ wrote:

 Hugs from my heart to yours Kristin!  Amen!

On Mar 28, 2017 Thankful wrote:

 God awakened me as a little girl ... To Him and for Him I am most gratefully.  He loves me, cares for me and envelops me with a power that exceeds ALL others.  Yes,  miracles surround those open to Him!  Those who have ears to hear ... Will indeed hear!  Amen. 

On Mar 30, 2017 brinda wrote:

 I feel like we are swimming in miracles every time I see a tree and I think about the biology of energy transformation. Another "aha" moment was during a busy day at work when I was using the hand dryer in the bathroom after washing my hands. I was rubbing my hands together and all of a sudden I was so in the moment of awareness of my skin and hands, I couldn't help but feel an amazing sense of awe....of all that these hands have done and all they can do....I only need to rub my hands together to feel this amazement again....think about it....and I hope you will feel it too. Of course the entire fact of our existence is a miracle as well. Every moment, every inch of our world is a miracle. There are tiny invisble microbes doing work for you right now that you are not even aware of--in so many different ways. We are all interconnected, from the tiniest bacteria or virus to the tallest tree. 
Stopping for a moment is all that's needed to recognize the miracles in everyday life. 

On Apr 2, 2017 Amar wrote:

 beautiful and awakening conversation.
deep gratitude towards you Peter, for expressing those words.

On Apr 2, 2017 Virginia wrote:

Material things can be lost.  Good memories and experiences are yours to treasure whenever you choose.  It truly is little items that make a difference - recognize and acknowledge them.  They are the miracles surrounding us all the time.