As soon as you start practicing being vigil; the magic begins!
February 2009, I was driving along Birdcage Walk, with St James’s Park on my right, I could see that the daffodils and bluebells were starting to appear, it looked spectacular. I decided to park my car and go for a walk in the park. I had my camera in the car, for the sole purpose of capturing vigil moments. I walked around the park in the vigil state; I focused on the birds singing, the fresh smell of the park and of course the sea of spring flowers all around me. I stayed in the park for around 30 minutes not allowing my mind to drift or my consciousness to fall asleep. I felt very calm, alive and peaceful. This experience could have been very different; it was the time of the banking crisis, and my job was closely linked to the financial sector. I was earning 30% less than usual, but my bills were the same. If I had focused my attention on this situation, I would have walked around the park worrying, feeling depressed, sad and completely oblivious to my beautiful surroundings. The world is a beautiful place if you take the time to stop thinking and pay attention to it!!
One morning as I walked into my bedroom; in the vigil state, I noticed the sunlight shining on my bed, it was a cold October morning, I put my hand on my bed where the sunlight was shining, and it was pleasantly warm. So I decided to lay on my bed directly in the sunlight. It felt amazing, so relaxing and warm. I lay there with a big smile on my face, and it reminded me of the first time I had ever flown on an airplane, to visit the Portuguese Algarve. I remembered how I felt laying on the beach feeling the beautiful sun on my skin and at the same time being kept cool by the breeze. But here I was laying on my bed on a cold October day having the same experience; I couldn’t believe it. This was the moment I wrote in my diary, “being vigil is like being on holiday.”
On another occasion, I was standing in my kitchen, when all of a sudden something touched my leg, what is this I wondered. It was the breeze blowing through the window. The old me would have listened to the thought that said: “horrible cold breeze shut the window.” But because I was learning to have a vigil mind; I stood there and focused my attention on the sensation, it was not cold, and it felt wonderful and intriguing at the same time. My legs were being caressed by something very physical, but yet invisible. What a beautiful moment.
Around the same time, I was sitting in my car beside the London Eye; it was a very windy day by London standards. People’s hats were being blown away, traffic cones flying across the road, etc. I decided to get out of my car and have some fun. Feeling adventurous and because the wind was blowing so strongly, I could lean forward, and the wind would hold me up, stopping me from falling. Then I turned around with by back to the wind and leaned back; to roughly a forty-five-degree angle, arms stretched out wide. I found this exhilarating; I was having an incredible time, it was like being a child again. As children, we have that sense of adventure, full of life; and the world is our playground! Children walk along the street with a spring in their step, hopping and jumping. I would not have experienced that fun moment if I was not vigil. My mind would have convinced me not to do it, by saying something like, “people are going to stare at you and think you are mad!” In fact, people were staring, but also smiling; they could clearly see I was having a fabulous time!
These four experiences are examples of why they say the best things in life are free!