Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Be open to everyday angels

I believe in everyday angels. Humans can play this role for each other. Surely you remember a moment in your life when a stranger appeared, in the most improbable way, to give you a helping hand or a message you needed to receive. Here are two of my personal stories about strangers who were everyday angels for me, giving me exactly the guidance I needed to receive.

I was walking with a friend in the New Forest in Hampshire. We were both undergoing major life changes, which is not always smooth sailing. We had had a major row the night before, drinking too much and bumping up against darker sides of each other’s personalities.  Now we were walking, detoxifying, working it through. We walked all day, traveling fifteen or twenty miles on those forest trails, losing track of distance and — we finally noticed — direction. England may be a rather small country, but the New Forest is not a small wood. We looked at each other and laughed, realizing that in our effort to find ourselves, we had become utterly lost.
I said out loud, “I wish a guide would just appear out of nowhere and show us the way. Wouldn’t that be fabulous?”
My friend laughed like a crow. We had seen no one in the forest that day.
But within a minute or two, a runner appeared on our trail. He waved to us cheerily. “You two look lost. Need some help?”
“Yes, please.”
“Mustn’t break my stride. I’ll leave you markers.”
A minute later, he had vanished in the dappled wood. We followed his lead. At the next fork in the trail, we found he had indeed left a marker — an arrow formed with three sticks — showing us the right way to go. We found a succession of these arrows at every crossing or forking of the trail, along the whole two-mile distance back to the main road.


On another visit to England, I landed at Heathrow airport on a red-eye flight, exhausted and burdened with financial worries. I was carrying too much baggage and had to wrestle an oversize suitcase down the steps to the Underground.
As I collapsed onto a seat on the train, a roly-poly man, bearded like Santa Claus, winked at me from the seat opposite. He said with a broad grin, “The Buddha says — walk on the bridge, don’t build on it.”
The words slapped me in the face. They stung me awake. They were exactly what I needed to hear. Caught up in my immediate worries, stressed out and overtired, I had been forgetting one of the secrets of living the Incredible Journey: it’s the journey, not the destination, that counts.
The stranger on the London Tube was an example of how we play everyday angels — even gods in disguise — for each other. There is a provocative Buddhist text on this theme entitled Entry into the Realm of Reality (in the Thomas Cleary translation). It describes how authentic spiritual teachers — even the greatest who walk this earth — can appear in any guise, as an exotic dancer or as a monk, as a panhandler or a king, as a scholar or a warrior.
We are most likely to run into them when we are in motion, especially when we are crossing a border into unfamiliar territory, when strong emotions are in play, and when we are facing the biggest challenges. Greater challenges call through greater resources.

Adapted from The Three “Only” Things: Tapping the Power of Dreams, Coincidence and Imagination by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.

Art: "Alone in Forest" by artist and dream teacher Michele Ferro


Catherine said...

Thanks for this signpost Robert. The word Journey and your recommendation that angels appear as we are in motion, especially during challenging times pertains to me exactly today. Just thought I'd throw out a thanks!


ioana said...

A friend of mine recently told me he had a very rough year and actually considered suicide. One day he consciously made that decision. He went to the subway with the clear intention to throw himself in front of the train. As he climbed down the stairs to get to the subway station in Piata Romana (Bucharest), a homeless guy asked him for a cigarette. My fried handed him the whole packege saying: Keep it, I won't need it anymore. The guy took one cigarette and handed back the package saying: No, keep it, SO MANY people love you. These words effectively stopped him on his tracks. He turned around to see the guy again, just to make sure he heard him right, but he was no longer there.
Sp, yes, I also believe there are angels amongst us. And I think that's simply magical!

Karen Erdmann said...

Your blog is very enriching Robert. Glad I saw the post on FB.

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