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What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday, an early morning storm with a lot of rain and electrical activity, tripped the breaker on the sump pump in the basement. The battery backup pump, which I thought was working, but hadn’t tested lately, didn’t work. The result was a minor flood in the finished basement, and a day of phone calls to insurance and restoration companies. Oh well, we needed new flooring and carpeting in the basement anyway.

Later that night, I evaluated how my wife and I responded to this “life event”. In the big scheme of things, we determined that we “got off easy”. Yes, it was inconvenient that our weekend had been disrupted, but at least we were home, and managed to minimize the damage (the main pump kicked right back on after I reset the switch :)). Yes, we needed to reevaluate our emergency systems in the basement and the home in general. And the greatest revelation from the evaluation?

We got a new perspective on what is truly essential, on what it is that defines our essence. There is a lot of ‘old stuff’ in our basement that has been with us through two moves over fifteen years. How much of it is essential to our lives? And, as I delved a bit deeper over the past week, I asked myself some more questions.

What is it that defines my essence? How do I know what is truly essential to me in a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level? Some of the answers have been filtering through me, and my exploration with the question(s) continues.

On Earth Day (two days after ‘the event’), I went walking my favorite trails. I often find that I have to make a conscious choice to accept the invitation to walk. The call is often so strong that the car seems to self-drive itself to the park on the way to work. So, I deem that walking the forest is essential to me. I have found that there is prose and poetry that flows through me as son as I step onto the trails. Here’s a sample:

Find your trail and walk

She will welcome you with open arms

From the tiniest of flowers hugging crocuses

To the tallest of trees holding birdsong

Her gifts will shower down upon you

Amid the remembrance – that her greatest gift is birth…

So, one way to connect with our essence may be through those actions that bring us face to face with unmitigated peace and joy. The world around us recedes like the floodwaters after the storm, and we can feel the essence of the tiniest of flowers, the freshness of new greenery emerging, the calming presence of tall trees gently swaying in the breeze, the river gurgling by past the boulders in the valley where it has been flowing for millennia.

What is the essence of our mental state? Is it our intellect? Is it intelligence and our power of discernment? We all have thoughts that swirl like eddies, or the thoughts are stirred by fresh emotions that cause highs and lows? The temporary nature of their existence surely means that they cannot be essential, right?

Awareness of our mental and emotional essence can be unfolded for us in physical stillness. Being still is not easy for many of us. Stillness is an essential that often needs to be cultivated. That which makes us still gives us the opportunity to connect to higher awareness – we can become observers of our mental and emotional states. As observers, we can then find our essential That by saying – it is not this, it is not this.

Allow me to posit that once we have found the trail to our physical, mental and emotional essences, and know how to (re)connect with them, our heart is ready to receive the spiritual essence. The invitation to receive then comes through clearly. We then awaken every morning, ready to receive the essence with joy, peace, silence and stillness, as we watch the source of light reveal itself to us in our heart filled with love.

We arrive at the awareness that the same spiritual essence energizes all of us, gives us life, and yes, a return to a dry basement…

Kumud @AjmaniK

P.S. Join us Sunday, April 28 at 9amET as we resume our weekly twitter chat in #SpiritChat ~ I will bring the essential tea and cookies. I invite you to bring your favorite flavor of essence. Namaste – Kumud