Brief Glimpses Can Change Everything

On a weekend bike trip in rural Virginia recently, my husband and I caught a glimpse of a bald eagle flying downriver. It was late afternoon and the eagle’s majestic white head and tail were lit by the sun. As we watched, the bird’s broad, brown wings carried it quickly out of sight.

That glimpse changed everything about the trip. Seeing the eagle made the entire day special, brought me more present to my surroundings, and left me grateful for that momentary window into the wild, natural world. When I e-mailed a friend after we returned home, the first thing I described about my weekend was the eagle sighting and the awe and wonder it evoked.

In the days that followed, I became aware that it wasn’t just seeing the eagle that was important. Every glimpse of truth has the possibility to rock my world. If I open my awareness in morning meditation to the spaciousness of my own true nature for just one moment, the rest of my day is different. When challenges arise, if I can remember to breathe into my fear, the glimpse of non-reactive awareness that results goes a long way toward helping me get past my resistance to receive the gift that even difficult circumstances bestow.

Whether I see a bald eagle isn’t something I can control, but I do get to choose how I start my day. My experience says that the more often I meditate and practice yoga, the more natural it is for me to open to life as it truly is. That openness serves as a “glimpse magnet,” drawing forth truth of every sort to be seen and experienced.

Becoming “glimpse prone” seems to happen naturally when I slow down, breathe deeply, and bring myself present to whatever is moving through me. In my on-the-mat practice, if I can link breath and relaxed movement, I often find a moment of inner peace or divinity that leaves me changed. I walk away feeling appreciative, awake, and amazed by the power of brief glimpses to remind me of what’s real.

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Danna Faulds, author of seven poetry books and the memoir Into the Heart of Yoga: One Woman's Journey, is a long-term Kripalu Yoga practitioner.

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